The West is in dire need of backbone

With the war in the Ukraine reaching a critical point, one wonders if Russia’s offensive will lead to an even bigger conflagration, perhaps involving China. If Ukraine falls, will China go after “its territory” of Taiwan, viewing it as easy pickings? The future of the West hangs in the balance, not necessarily because of the status of parts of Russian-speaking Ukraine – or all of Ukraine, but because the relatively peaceful hegemony of the West appears to be unraveling.

In 2017, Douglas Murray wrote the controversial book, “The Strange Death of Europe: Immigration, Identity, Islam.” In it he details how European leaders have lost their cultural identity after bringing in millions of mostly Muslim workers from Asia and Africa. Although the purported idea was to assimilate the new immigrants into European culture, the actual practice was the opposite. That is, the waves of immigrants have, in many – perhaps most – cases resisted acclimation and have created enclaves where European mores are ignored. This has had deleterious effect on Europeans, leading many of them to lose faith in their values and even to question whether European culture is worthwhile continuing. Hence, Europe’s not-so-slow suicide as the bellwether of Western culture.

(2/24/22) Zoe Stimpel, a British journalist, academic historian, and author recently wrote that Westerners no longer know who they are or why it matters. I contend that this uncertainty has spread throughout the West from its origin in effete Europe to the US and beyond. Stimpel reported:

“Deterrence is a simple equation: capability times [X] will,” former National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster told me. ‘I think that many of our adversaries today think our will is about zero. I think we’re set up for a cascading crisis now in large measure because of the perception that our will is diminished…. It’s that the United States seems to have forgotten the point of waging, or threatening to wage, war. Peace is earned through strength. We can’t ask for it. We can’t talk our way into it. We can’t simply impose (or lift) sanctions. We have to achieve it by threatening—credibly—to pummel into oblivion anyone who gets in the way.”’

Combined with Western feebleness is an equal or worse return to belligerency by the enemies of the West. (2/26/22) John Daniszewski, Vice President and Editor at Large for Standards of The Associated Press wrote, “It has been a long time since the threat of using nuclear weapons has been brandished so openly by a world leader, but Vladimir Putin has just done it, warning in a speech that he has the weapons available if anyone dares to use military means to try to stop Russia’s takeover of Ukraine. The threat may have been empty, a mere baring of fangs by the Russian president, but it was noticed. It kindled visions of a nightmarish outcome in which Russian president Putin’s ambitions in Ukraine could lead to a nuclear war through accident or miscalculation.” Putin has brought the nuclear bogeyman into the picture.

Putin’s comments were specifically directed towards Finland, which is contemplating NATO membership. Finland, like Ukraine, borders Russia. Putin is intent on keeping NATO away from Russian territory, hence his nuclear threat. For a bit of context, remember that in July 1962 President Kennedy threatened Soviet premier Nikita Khrushchev during the Cuban Missile Crisis. The USSR had placed missiles aimed at the US on nearby Cuba. “The tone of the President’s remarks was stern, and the message unmistakable and evocative of the Monroe Doctrine: ‘It shall be the policy of this nation to regard any nuclear missile launched from Cuba against any nation in the Western Hemisphere as an attack by the Soviet Union on the United States, requiring a full retaliatory response upon the Soviet Union.’” President Putin has his own “Monroe Doctrine.” This is, don’t put Western weaponry on Russia’s borders.

So, the world is now threatened by a possible nuclear event in Ukraine (or Finland)  in addition to bellicose North Korea and the impending, perhaps inevitable, nuclear weapons capability of Iran. I and numerous others have written repeatedly about the atrocious nuclear deal which is close to being revived by the American government and its weaker partners. They all are so anxious to appease Iran that the “longer and stronger” deal that was promised by the incoming Biden administration has quickly been replaced by a shorter, weaker plan. This reincarnation of the Obama deal will put $7 billion in Iran’s wallet to spend on terror against Israel and its Gulf allies, plus Iranian mischief around the world! And, it guarantees that Iran can lawfully become a nuclear threat when the deal expires.

Have you ever wondered why Israel is not considered a threat to world peace (by rational people) even though it possesses scores of (unacknowledged) nuclear weapons? It’s because Israel isn’t a bellicose country that proclaims the imminent destruction of its adversaries. Iran does that. Even so, the weak Western powers enable it. Could anyone objectively look at Iran versus the US and France and Germany and conclude that Iran is the “strong horse” that is forcing a conclusion in nuclear weapons negotiations favorable to itself? Frankly, it’s preposterous.

If Putin succeeds in taking over Ukraine while brandishing a nuclear threat, won’t Iran also use the threat of its nuclear weapons capability to get its way in the Middle East, and perhaps beyond? Even without nukes, Iran’s footprint stretches from its eastern borders in Central Asia across the Middle East and North Africa to South America. What will stop it when it is truly a dangerous nuclear power? Whether looked at through a pragmatic, realpolitik lens, or by the jihadist goal of conquering the West, Iran should not be allowed to possess nuclear weapons capability.

The phrase “Never Again” is bandied about, but Israel is dead serious in preventing an avowed enemy from gaining the capability to destroy it. Israel will make a preemptive or preventative strike against Iran if it concludes it’s required, with or without assistance. This is something that should not have to be contemplated. Western weakness in the face of non-democratic, despotic, and/or Islamist threats is a danger to the world as we know it. The question is, What will be done about it?

About the Author
Steve Kramer grew up in Atlantic City, graduated from Johns Hopkins in 1967, adopted the hippie lifestyle until 1973, then joined the family business for 15 years. Steve moved to Israel from Margate, NJ in 1991 with his family. He has written more than 1100 articles about Israel and Jews since making Aliyah. Steve and his wife Michal live in Kfar Saba.
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