China and Russia conducting military exercises together
Old, retired military officers everywhere and in every era, we suspect, discuss long-ago battles, the high points and the losses — the men lost, the battles won.
Yesterday, a three-star general about to retire told Peace and Freedom, “These last eight years we sure lost a lot of ground.”
I thought I knew what he meant, but I ask him to clarify anyway — I wanted to hear it from him.
“Well, we lost Crimea and part of Ukraine. We lost Syria and much of the Middle East. Our key allies in the Middle East, like Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Bahrain, Israel — they’re all worried.”
“How About Libya?” we asked.
“Well, in Libya we destroyed a government that was getting more easy to work with. Now we have chaos. Egypt could turn out the same way. Anyway, for U.S. foreign policy it is getting hard to find any success stories,” he said.
“How about Asia?” we asked.
“That may be a bigger mess. Eight years ago we hardly noticed China. Now China seem to be the owner of the South China Sea. North Korea has everyone worried. There’s an arms race going on with the notion of being ready to face China but they could overwhelm anybody.”
“How about Hong Kong?” Peace and Freedom asked.
“Well, John, everyone in the world knows that’s one of your favorite places along with Singapore. The people of Hong Kong made a move toward democracy, as you know, and the rest of the world hardly noticed. Now Xi Jinping is cracking down.”
“Oh, and Thailand is a mess,” the general added.
The general ended with this: “If you love democracy, peace, stability, and human rights — the last eight years have been a very negative turning point for the world. A disaster for America and American allies.”
The general asked to honor his request of anonymity until he retires.
John Francis Carey
Peace and Freedom
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