It was only a few months ago that the leaders of North and South Korea made a historic agreement to formally end the Korean War, thus ending the 65 year-long armistice, and one of the key conflicts within the Cold War. Yet, after all of this time, America’s military has continued to increase its global presence. We continue to send billions in foreign aid to other countries and participate in costly alliances like NATO. I’ve come to see the negative effects of our global presence: not only in our abandonment of Constitutional principles, but in our increased spending and absence of plans to either win or pull out.
There are only two ways to engage with a conflict and come out successful: we either fight with full force, or we don’t fight at all. The concepts of limited war and flexible response used by the Truman, Kennedy and Johnson administrations were not only unsuccessful in their aims, but cost the country thousands of lives and millions of dollars. The Korean War is a perfect example. While it was seen as a combative success at first, we ultimately were held at a stalemate for decades. And if these leaders used the proper resources and tactics to fight, perhaps we could have saved lives and money. It’s almost as if the Cold War was a game of football: if you have a rule to never cross the 50 yard-line, will you ever win the game?
One of our biggest cripples during the Cold War was our lack of development in a powerful Air Force. Our complete domination of air power over Germany and Japan during WWII ensured our success and proved that any war at that period in history would have been won depending on who had control of the air. Yet, President Truman rejected a call from the Finletter Commission to expand the Air Force, which was necessary to counter a possible atomic threat by the Soviet Union. President Johnson and Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara also lacked strength in their use of air power in Vietnam.
I personally believe America should not have provoked and engaged foreign powers into long conflicts. Our involvement in the Marshall Plan and giving of aid to Iran, Turkey, Greece, and Korea almost got us into a war with the Soviet Union that we were not prepared for, and these were all very costly decisions. But, if war was inevitable and our values were at stake, America should not have been afraid to use every resource necessary to win.
I also disagree with the necessity of opening up relations with China, Cuba, and North Korea. Any government that subjects the fundamental rights of Americans – freedom of speech and the press, due process, equal protection, and privacy – to the arbitrary will of others are the exact opposite of our friends. And when leaders of the free world venerate the likes of Fidel Castro and Kim Jong Un, I can only suggest that we reject and oppose them.