Why America’s Military Must Be Strong

Why America’s Military Must Be Strong


From when America’s armed forces entered World
War I in 1917 until today, the United States military has repeatedly made the difference
between Civilization and Barbarism. It’s no exaggeration to say that a militarily strong
America is the one indispensable prerequisite for a peaceful and prosperous world. The witness
of history, as well as our own common sense, bear testament to the fact that when America’s
armed forces are powerful, focused and feared, the globe is a better place than when she
is weak, unprepared and vacillating. In the past century alone there have been four great threats made to peace, democracy and freedom. Each of them have come from enemies
that hate and fear what the United States stands for, as laid down in her Declaration
of Independence, Constitution and Bill of Rights. Three of these have come from differing
mutations of Fascism, and one from its totalitarian twin, Communism. In each case it has been
the US military that has been a principal force protecting the Free World from the tyranny
these threats have sought to impose. The First World War sprung from Germany’s
bid for hegemony over Europe and was powered by a Prussian military machine that was proto-Fascist
in its outlooks, ambitions and assumptions. When the discovery of the infamous Zimmerman
Telegram revealed that Germany wanted to extend the War even into the American heartland,
the Wilson Administration sent hundreds of thousands of young American recruits — nicknamed
‘doughboys’ — onto the battlefields of Europe, and tipped the balance in the Allies’ favor. 25 years later, the American armed forces
were again fighting against the second mutation of Fascist ideology — as espoused by Nazi
Germany and Imperial Japan. On battlefields as distant from America as tiny islands in
the south Pacific, picturesque villages in Italy and desolate towns in Northern Africa
as well as on the sea in the Atlantic and in the skies over Germany, the American armed
forces made another invaluable contribution to victory. Yet the fight for freedom wasn’t over. Almost
as soon as WWII ended a new threat arose, the Red Fascist version of totalitarianism
— Soviet Communism. It soon cast its shadow over Eastern Europe as well as parts of Africa,
Asia and Latin America. American military might, deployed intelligently and globally,
played the key role in neutralizing and then ultimately bankrupting that terrible menace
to the Free World. When victory in the Cold War in the late 1980s and early 1990s finally
came under the presidencies of Ronald Reagan and George H. W. Bush, it was because
the US armed forces were kept strong enough to deal with the ceaseless probing and provocations
of the Soviet Union over nearly half a century. Since 9/11 the world has been faced with yet
another mutation of Fascism, fundamentalist Islamist terrorism. Taking on many of the
features of earlier Fascist movements — hatred of democracy and Christianity, a fanatical
anti-Americanism and anti-Semitism, and a desire for utter uniformity — the Islamist
terror movement has caused death and destruction wherever it has appeared. The Fascist bacillus
has mutated yet again, but it is alive and well. And yet again, the traditional antidote, the
American military, has taken up the task. By taking on the forces of Terror in full-scale
wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, the US made it clear that it would not permit Fascism
to triumph in our time, any more than earlier generations of Americans permitted it to in
theirs. All this has come at great cost — in lives
and money. The cost of these precious lives, men and women, fighting for others freedom
far from their homes, can never be repaid. But the money — a defense budget that is by
far the largest in the world — has been well spent. It has protected the honor, power and
prestige of the USA, upon which the cause of freedom ultimately relies. When the US armed forces are weak — as they
were before the Second World War, when America had only the 14th largest army in the world
— the likes of Adolf Hitler are encouraged to make larger and larger demands. When US
armed forces are strong, however, even a superpower like the Soviet Union has to acknowledge its
own internal contradictions and inability to overawe the West. With China rearming massively
and posing a growing threat to Western interests and values around the world, and the threat
of Islamist fascism still upon us, it is well to learn the central lesson of the past half-century
of human experience, which is that for her own sake and that of those who love freedom
everywhere, the United States must be militarily pre-eminent. I’m Andrew Roberts for
Prager University.

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