Don’t Know Much About History

Don’t Know Much About History

In 1960, Sam Cooke released a hit song which began with the words “Don’t know much about history.” The United States is about to pay a bitter price for this ignorance. The United States is in serious danger of losing its allies and being surrounded by hostile nations. The problem is, how does one explain this dilemma to individuals who very well may not know where the nations are to which one refers?

Americans of all ages have a sense of the dangers presented by Islamic militants, some of whom are now in the United States and ready to attack. More difficult to explain is the danger presented by China and Russia. After the collapse of the Soviet Union, aka the “fall of Communism,” Russia was considered a democratic nation in the making. That was the thinking of the “experts” until Russian troops crossed into Ukrainian territory in November last year.

A review of the actions of China, which remains a Communist regime calling itself the People’s Republic of China, and the not-so-democratic Russian Federation, cries out danger for the U.S. and its allies. To understand why and how one of our largest trading partners is a threat and why Russia is not really a democratic state requires a basic knowledge of history and an awareness of current events.
The dangerous situation in the South China Sea is an example. This part of the world sounds far away, with little direct importance to the U.S. The truth is that much of the world’s trade goes through this area, and several important U.S. allies, including Japan and the Philippines, depend on the United States to assist in their self-defense.

The People’s Republic of China, which claims the entire area, is constructing islands from coral reefs which are becoming military bases. Runways for military aircraft and harbors for warships are rapidly coming to completion. These new bases are tightening China’s grip on the South China Sea. The People’s Republic of China continues to expand its naval forces and intends to eventually rival the U.S. Navy in the Western Pacific.

Japan is threatened not only by Chinese expansion, but also by Russian aggression. Within the last year, Japanese jet fighters have had to scramble 943 times to deter Russian military aircraft from entering Japanese airspace. Moscow is expanding its military installations on the Russian-occupied Kuril Islands (owned by Japan until the end of WWII), and the growing Russian Pacific fleet engages in joint military exercises with China’s navy.

Should China, or Russia and China, become capable of expelling the United States from the Asia-Pacific region, not only Japan and the Philippines, but also Australia and the free island of Taiwan, would eventually become virtual colonies of China.

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