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Anthony Hall on the Permanent Emergency; Ken Meyercord on Multipolarism vs. DC Think Tanks

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First half hour: Prof. Anthony Hall has a new Substack “Looking Out at the World from Canada.” We discuss his recent pieces on the permanent emergency, his sojourn through the world of advertising, and the war on terror as a war on humanity.

Second half hour: Retired Washington, DC TV host Ken Meyercord points out that “no American carrier has entered the Persian Gulf since 2020. Do we fear Iran’s enhanced military capabilities make any carrier stuck in the confined space of the Gulf a sitting duck?” He also observes that China holds all the cards on the Taiwan issue, and that DC bureaucrats are getting used to the concept of a multipolar world. (Below is Ken’s mini-essay.)

Multipolar World’s Inexorable Arrival?

By Ken Meyercord

It’s customary for the United States to have two of its 11 aircraft carriers “in theater” at any one time, usually one in the western Pacific (the Seventh Fleet), the other in the Mediterranean/Middle East region (the Fifth Fleet). For long, one of our “Carrier Strike Groups” would sail into the Persian Gulf every year (sometimes two in one year) to remind those watching from the shoreline who ruled the waves in that part of the world, but no American carrier has entered the Gulf since 2020. Do we fear Iran’s enhanced military capabilities make any carrier stuck in the confined space of the Gulf a sitting duck? If so, is that a sign America’s role as arbiter of affairs in that part of the world is showing its age (as did the recent resumption of diplomatic relations between our usually obedient lapdog, Saudi Arabia, and our long-hated bete noire, Iran, brokered by—of all people—the country we consider the Number One threat to our national security: China!)

Switching to that part of the globe prowled by the Seventh Fleet, the political party of the current president of Taiwan, the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) , suffered its biggest defeat in 36 years in Taiwan’s regional elections last November, winning only 5 of 22 mayoral races and  277 local council elections versus the rival Kuomintang (KMT) party’s 367 (a setback not mentioned by The Washington Post’s shrillest resident China-basher, Josh Rogin, in a screed on the visit by Taiwan’s president, Tsai Ing-wen, to this country—nor did he mention that Ms. Tsai was forced to resign as head of the DPP because of the humiliating defeat). In juxtaposition with President Tsai’s visit to the USA, the previous Taiwanese president, the KMT’s Ma Ying-jeou, toured mainland China where, while not coming out formally for reunification, stressed that the people on both sides of the Taiwan Strait are Chinese. (surprisingly, considering the Koumintang are on Taiwan because of being exiled there by the Communists in 1949, the KMT is the Taiwanese party most open to reunification with the motherland). What if Ma is reelected president next January and he actively seeks reunification with China? Will we prove as impotent as an 80-year-old (in other ways) to prevent it? (By the by, our foreign policy gurus are forever speculating on a possible Chinese invasion of Taiwan, a concern I consider silly. If the Chinese want to get tough over Taiwan, they are more likely to impose a naval blockade on the island than engage in a bloody battle against people they would like to convince they represent. If the Chinese did set up a blockade, it would present us with the same conundrum Great Britain faced during our Civil War over whether to challenge the Union blockade of southern ports or not. In the end, the Brits decided not to interfere in our internal affairs, as, hopefully, we would do if faced with a similar choice.)

Last week I attended a panel where a couple of mid-level government officials working in the foreign policy sphere talked of a realization amongst their colleagues that a multipolar world was in the offing. I was pleased to hear this but surprised, as I assume such defeatism is heretical at the top level of the agencies for which they work. As far as I can see, we show no signs of giving up on our striving for—or at least maintaining the current semblance of—a unipolar world with us as the Pole Star, what with our going toe-to-toe with the Russians, continuing efforts to contain China, not closing any of our hundreds of military bases around the world—all midst talk of NATO going global. In their crankiness , are the Deep Staters who determine our foreign policy acting like an old man futilely raging against the dying of the light? If so, the consequence for us Americans—and the world—could be much graver than just a lost election.

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