As there always is, there have been a lot of Chicken Little”s running around, on both the right and the left, hollering and moaning about how bad things are. Some things could be better, but so much could be worse. Despite some people”s attempt to portray the world, with the U.S.A. leading the way, as increasing in conflict, the opposite is true. A sign of that is the recent referendum on independence in Montenegro (an article in the Scotsman). A little country like that will usually look to security before prosperity, especially when the history of Montenegro in the 20th century is taken into account. However, it looks as if a majority of citizens feel secure enough, that economic growth can be first on the agenda of the future, rather than a distant second.
I keep reading reports on how bad it is that the United States of America has no counterbalance militarily in the world. I may not be that old, but my memory isn”t that short. See if these ring a bell: Korea, Vietnam, Cambodia, Somalia, Honduras, Nicaragua, Columbia, Cuba, Etriea, Grenada, and so many others. What do these places have in common? They were the political war zones between the United States of America and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (U.S.S.R.). Both sides gave monetary and military aide to those that were most aligned with their basic political ideologies, or just opposed to the other country”s allies. The conflicts were bloody and horrible, and far too many people are still reaping the benefits of two world powers. Except for a few die hards (who were given more economic and social benefits than they would have been had they already been there), people didn”t try to escape to the Soviet Bloc. First, they didn”t have to escape. In places like Berlin, it wasn”t the U.S.A., or its allies, who build walls to keep people in. However, innumerable people tried to escape TO the West, and even today, people are still trying to escape from the last Soviet Bloc country, Cuba. The West must be soooooo bad. The number of democracies in the world is increasing. The dictators are getting more heavy-handed, precisely because democracy is growing beyond the boundaries of the West. Democracy is flourishing because there is only one superpower. How does this relate to Montenegro?
Montenegro was one of those Soviet Bloc states that was crushed under a Soviet ally”s heel. Now after a horrible, awful, war, they have taken a step towards a future that will break that last of those ties to the old Soviet Bloc. For those of you who don”t understand, or should I say those who understand less than I, this region has had centuries of conflict. Tiny kingdom fought tiny kingdom, throw in religion for way too much spice, add a dash of totalitarianism, and you have the potential for a large mess. With democracy as the base, rather than aristocracy or shared animosities, this region may be stepping forward into its next great age.
*I had to add this note about China, who may be the single military counterbalance to the United State of America. I am very concerned about their military build-up, yet I believe their build-up is based more on, for the United States of America at least, discouraging the flexing of opposition military muscle, especially in their perceived sphere of influence. Countries in their sphere of influence, however, have a legitimate concern. Taiwan would be target one, then, either Korea or Japan, more based on history than tactical importance. However, in the cases of Korea and Japan, I have a feeling that China would be dealing with a long-lasting guerrilla war. Any conflict between the United State of America and China would be bad, regardless of whether they are like the conflicts between the U.S.A. and the U.S.S.R., or a full conflict. One country is the single largest economy in the world, the other is a huge trading country on its own, and one of the largest trading partners of the U.S.A.. At this point, in the very long term, I would expect there to be a SinoAmerican joining, similar to the pre-history of Josten A. Wheelen”s “Serenity”. However, who truly knows.