Friday, October 09, 2009

On Isolationism

(from the BC thread "Exit, stage left; exeunt stage right")

Isolationism was a 19th Century ideal that depended on two conditions it's advocates did not acknowledge.
1) Dominance of the the Sea by the Royal Navy.
2) Physical isolation from any potential enemy, other than Mexico.
Mexico has always been America's Lebanon but never was a serious rival.

The Isolationism of the 1930s was already an anachronism. Fortunately the second condition still held and that permitted FDR the physical space and time needed to prepare a reluctant nation to enter WW-II.

The fact is that we cannot withdraw from this struggle. China will compete with us for resources in Asia, in Australia, in Africa and in Latin America. Russia will attempt to control energy supplies and use them to dominate essential sources of wealth and power that we cannot have used against us. While the world no longer defines power by access to coal and iron, as it did when Containment theory was first formulated after WW-II, the key regions of England, Germany, Japan, Russia and the USA still exist. The new sources of power may have moved a few or a few hundred miles, from the Ruhr valley or from Manchester or from the Ohio valley or from the Donets basin, and some new regions have arisen, in India, Israel and China but the United States cannot allow hostile forces to gain preponderant control of a set of key locations.

Charles Krauthammer connects again. "Nothing is written."
Unfortunately, Dr K cannot get up and dance like Peter O'Toole.

luddy barsen,
(who noted the superiority of light sweet Saudi crude)
Agreed but the difference between Arab oil and German coal is important. The first was an asset that the inhabitants could use to build industrial and military power. It was important to the US to keep the Soviets from controlling the Ruhr because that location served as a nexis where energy sources, the basic industrial raw material (iron ore), physical, financial and intellectual capital and transportation routes come together. That is true of all five of the key locations I reviewed, Saudi oil is a contributory good and we certainly do not want it to fall under the control of an enemy but the Saudis themselves have proven unable to assemble more then two (energy and finance) assets from the six that I listed.

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