The Russian President Vladamir Putin is spouting rhetoric that “Unilateral, illegitimate actions [by the United States] have not solved a single problem, they have become a hotbed of further conflicts.”
CNN noted that Putin “blamed U.S. policy for inciting other countries to seek nuclear weapons to defend themselves from an “almost uncontained use of military force.”
It is not American strength that encourages countries to pursue nuclear weapons but American weakness. In international relations and politics there is no international “911″ number to call. The world condition is literally international anarchy, meaning there is no overreaching authority to settle disputes between nation states. This being said, the closest thing to an international arbiter of justice is he United States. When America is strong and decisive, other countries dread crossing the United States on matters of economics or war.
The height of American world influence was immediately following the conclusion of World War 2 after the U.S. dropped two atomic weapons on Japan to end the war. Not only did the United States develop atomic weapons, it showed the world that Americans had the will to use them. This had the effect of making our communist (and even back then our Islamic Jihadist) foes avoid all possibility of direct hostilities with the United States. The world was deterred against attacking the United States or its interests directly for decades. The majority of countries sought the favor of the United States for trade, wealth and protection.
Deterrence is only effective when force and the will to use it are perceived. After decades of vacillation and half hearted “politicized” conflicts where the United States has resisted using “World War 2 style” force to illicit unconditional surrender from its enemies, many countries know that they can’t count on the United States to protect them if the U.S. won’t even effectively protect itself.
Unsecured borders at home and half hearted rules of engagement overseas and at home have encouraged our enemies to seek nuclear, biological and chemical weapons. If the United States backs out of the Middle East without defeating our Jihadist foes, even more countries will overtly seek weapons of mass destruction. Our winning strategy of Total War that defeated Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan in about four and a half years has turned into more and more limited approaches to fighting our enemies. Surgical strikes that leave infrastructure and resources intact do not break the will to fight in our enemies. As horrific as it sounds, the only way to win a war is to break the enemy’s will to fight.
More horrific power will be required to break the Jihadists’ will to fight than was required to break the will of the Germans and Japanese as illustrated by the Jihadists will to have themselves and even their children die for their perverted cause. We have the capability to unleash horror sufficient to break the will of our enemies, but I don’t think there is a will to use it.
As horrific as unleashing nuclear weapons may seem, the choice may soon come down to whether a nuke is used by us or against us.