War: A Warning from the Past
Although history does not exactly repeat itself, it does provide parallels and sometimes quite ominous ones. Such is the case with the current U.S. Presidential election and the one which occurred one hundred years earlier.
The Donald probably has the better slogan…
The dominating question which hung over the 1916 campaign was whether the country would remain neutral in regard to the horrific slaughter which was taking place on the European battlefields in probably the greatest act of mass insanity ever recorded, World War I.
President Wilson had maintained that the U.S. would continue a policy of strict neutrality. By all indications, the nation wanted no part of the war, with the President’s own party at his nomination delivering an emphatic “No” to any foreign intervention.
Although Wilson maintained a neutral policy through the election and briefly afterward, his advisors and Cabinet had been lobbying for war and continued to do so even more vehemently after the President’s re-election was secured.
Nearly all of them, including Wilson himself, had deep financial, family, and political ties to J.P. Morgan. Wilson received considerable Morgan financial backing for his two presidential runs.
The Morgan operatives within the Administration were pushing for war because the House of Morgan had “invested” heavily in the “Allied” cause and a defeat or a negotiated settlement with any favorable concessions to Germany would be a catastrophe for Morgan financial interests.
Woodrow Wilson and his war whisperer J.P. Morgan. Wilson’s solemn promises of keeping the US out of the war disappeared into thin air as soon as the powerful banker came calling. Suddenly, the US had to “make the world safe for democracy” (that didn’t work out, as it turned out. 20 years after the end of WW1, another, even more brutal global war started).
Image credit: Hulton Archives/Getty
Germany understood the cozy Morgan relationship with the Wilson Administration and the Allied powers as Morgan representatives, especially the sinister Colonel House, had repeatedly rebuffed peace proposals from the Central Powers. The Allies and their opponents understood that Wilson’s re-election would mean U.S. entry into the conflict.
Tragically, for the U.S. and for the course of war-ridden 20th century history, Wilson capitulated and brought the U.S. into the battle despite the campaign promise of neutrality and no real German threat. The House of Morgan’s financial bacon was saved at the cost of a devastated Western world.
History Often Rhymes
One hundred years later, the U.S. and the world stand at another critical juncture and face a similar choice: the election of a known war criminal who has not only shown no remorse for her murderous policies, but promises, if elected, to continue them; or the election of a candidate who has spoken of negotiating with America’s supposed principal enemy, a possible pull back in the nation’s unsustainable global empire, and the enactment of a legitimate use of federal authority – protection of the country’s borders.
It is difficult to believe that Donald Trump is not sincere in seeking accommodation and friendly relations with Russia. It would be far easier for the billionaire businessman and would most likely secure his election if he followed the bellicose policy of the Democrat and Republican Presidents of the recent past who have continued to antagonize and threaten Russia.
Michail Gorbachev has confirmed that when he discussed German reunification with the allies, George HW Bush the elder and other Western officials promised him that NATO would not expand beyond the enlargement that would happen automatically via East and West Germany joining. After all, why should it? With the Warsaw Pact in dissolution, the very reason for NATO’s existence had disappeared. In the map above, focus on what has happened since 1990. It didn’t take long for the promises to be “forgotten”. Since 1999, Russia has been methodically encircled. But Russia is no longer the Soviet Union. It is not an enemy, or at least shouldn’t be. The rationale offered for portraying it as a “threat” is ridiculous considering some of the countries treated as “valued allies” by the West (such as e.g. Saudi Arabia or Uzbekistan) – click to enlarge.
The most hopeful sign for peace coming from the U.S. in quite a while has been Trump’s talk of deescalation of tensions and a pledge to place American interests first in foreign policy, instead of mouthing the global domination designs of the crazed neocons.
Some of the things he has said about Vladimir Putin and Russia have been, to say the least, quite encouraging:
“I think I would get along with Vladimir Putin. I just think so.”*
“It is always a great honor to be so nicely complimented by a man [Putin] so highly respected within his own country and beyond.”**
“I have always felt that Russia and the United States should be able to work well with each other towards defeating terrorism and restoring world peace, not to mention trade and all of the other benefits derived from mutual respect.”***
Although not a non-interventionist, a President Trump is unlikely to provoke Russia or China into a civilization-ending conflagration and has displayed the instincts of a true peace maker. There is, however, little hope for a reduction of global tensions if his sociopathic opponent becomes Commander-in-Chief.
What’s left of Sirte in Libya. Once the most prosperous country in the Maghreb under the eccentric Colonel Gadaffi (yes, he was a tinpot dictator and his hands were by no means clean), it has been turned into rubble amid a civil war between a tiny Western-supported government, various military factions and fundamentalist Islamists in the wake of the intervention Ms. Clinton wholeheartedly supported. Here is her infamous comment on the death of Gadaffi (who was sodomized to death by Islamists with a knife), which shows that she is completely lacking in empathy. This psychopathic streak makes her particularly dangerous.
Photo credit: AP
Killary has repeatedly demonstrated that she is a willing tool of the neocons and the global financial forces that will profit mightily from continued U.S.- instigated conflicts. If she makes it past the finish line, either legitimately or more likely through fraud, she will surely do their bidding.
For once, politicians and pundits who routinely call every election “the most crucial of a generation” are right. This year’s Presidential election is the most significant one since at least the fall of the Soviet Union and Eastern Bloc.
If the U.S. electorate wants to avoid the disaster not only to its own land and the world that followed in the wake of the 1916 election, there can be only one choice in November of 2016.
* Andrew Rafferty, “Trump Says he Would ‘Get Along Very Well’ With Putin.” NBCNews.com 30 July 2015.
**Maxwell Tani, “Vladimir Putin’s Praise is ‘A Great Honor.’” Business Insider. 17 December 2015.
Image captions by PT
Antonius Aquinas is an author, lecturer, and a senior editor at “Wide Awake News.”