The Question Before This House

The Common Problem . . .

is that people fail to examine geopolitics on geopolitical time scales. NATO is not an artifact of the Cold War era, it is a result of the interwar era. In 1914, the Pope warned that conflict between the two great alliances would be “the suicide of Europe.” By 1918, the millions of casualties constituted a demographic bottleneck called the “Lost Generation.” Yet, just 20 years after Armistice, the antebellum maneuvering of World War 2 was trumpeted as “Peace In Our Time” . . . and war only a year out. After the War to End All Wars, the Allied nations placed their faith in international justice and nonviolent coexistence. A generation later, the nations of Western Europe knew better. They had seen two wars settle into long, grinding equilibrium, then watched a latecomer disrupt the balance of power. With the knowledge that long wars just get more people killed on both sides, the statesmen of Europe and America created a power structure where the nation which had proved to be the balance of power in both World Wars would be committed to any new European war from Day 1. The nations behind the Iron Curtain subscribed to the new theory of heavily-armed peace, as well. When the Warsaw Pact was finally formed, it only formalized the existing power structure of Soviet forces under Soviet commanders deployed in the countries which the Red Army had reconquered from Germany. Any future war was to be made short and decisive, and preferably so destructive that compromise and coexistence would be a far better option. In ultimate purpose, NATO took the principles of 19th-century statesmen into the nuclear era, a non-nuclear deterrent schooled in the lessons of Summer, 1914.

The Uncommon Solution . . .

Geopolitics is best studied on generational timescales. When nations set policy, it is best done with an understanding of the previous 50-100 years of decisions and options in that area of government activity.

Copyright 2016 by J.D. Lewis

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