As I write, AltRight readers are, no doubt, hoping and praying that the recent altercation between North and South Korea will not turn into a “1914 moment”—in which a lunatic attack, rash heads of state, and a line of dominos of prior commitments and war planning eventuated in a world-shattering conflict.
For quite some time, the American nation and state have wanted to have their cake and eat it, too, with their now-counterproductive Cold War empire. Americans like patting themselves on the back for “keeping the world safe” and telling themselves how terrible and unstable the world would be if we didn’t have hundreds of thousands of military personnel stationed in places that hold little to no strategic value.
The reality is quite the opposite, of course. In the Korean case, it’s likely that without America enforcing the Cold War stalemate, North and South would have reunified long ago. (Proof again that Washington has always been more pro-Cold War than anti-Socialist.)
The Empire is part of American identity, or, at the very least, citizens and politicians have trouble picturing a world without it. And yet it’s hard to imagine that the public is actually willing to suffer hardship, or cut down on its already diminished lifestyle, in order to, say, war against the Chinese on the Korean peninsula. (And it’s hardly outrageous to suggest this might result from Barack Obama’s decision to begin joint military operations with the South.)
Having an empire and not being morally prepared to defend it amounts to living on borrowed time. And America's time might well be up.