The Golden Rule
Updated: Feb 24
In 1961, President John F Kennedy sent troops to the democratic country of South Vietnam to protect its sovereignty and border which were under attack by Communist North Vietnam. That action lured us into a protracted 12-year war which cost the lives of over 58,000 United States soldiers and tore our country apart. And in the end, the North Vietnam won. The United States withdrew, and the North Vietnamese took control of South Vietnam destroying its border and sovereignty. It is hard to find anyone who believes that our entering the Vietnam war was the right decision, and good for our country. It was an unwinnable war, and we spent 12 years serving up our soldiers to the Viet Cong. In many respects, our country still has not recovered from our participation in that war.
Does anyone want to repeat the mistakes we made in Vietnam? The Russians have invaded Ukraine, just like North Vietnam invaded South Vietnam. The question is, are we willing to offer up the lives of tens of thousands of United States soldiers to protect Ukrainian sovereignty when it was an absolute deadly disaster to do the same for South Vietnam?
It’s easy to sit behind a cable news desk and call for the deploying of US troops to Ukraine to fight the Russians. Those people will never see the atrocity of war up close. They will never get the blood on their hands, and the deaths on their souls. Have you ever spent time with a wounded warrior from Iraq or Afghanistan, some of the bravest people on the planet, who have missing limbs or mangled bodies? It’s easy to send others off to fight when it’s not your life or your body that is going to be in harm’s way. Like the political leaders in the 60’s who sent other people’s sons off to fight in Southeast Asia while their sons received exemptions.
There was no real national security issue for the United States to go to war in Vietnam. There is no real national security issue for the United States to go to war in Ukraine. Our leaders in the 1960’s told us we were protecting the free democratic country of South Vietnam under attack by North Vietnam. Our current leaders claim that we are protecting the free democratic country of Ukraine under attack by Russia, but is Ukraine free, democratic, or is it a corrupt republic controlled by oligarchs? Are we back to the Domino Theory, worried that if Ukraine falls then the rest of Eastern Europe will soon fall afterwards?
If we thought defeating the Viet Cong or even the Taliban in Afghanistan was hard, try fighting the Russian army who have hundreds of thousands more troops, billions of dollars of more weaponry, and a complete nuclear arsenal. Is this the course of action we want to take? What would be our end game? How in fact would we defeat the Russians? Do we believe that Vladimir Putin is scared or even worried about Joe Biden? Do we think that our leader Joe Biden has the constitution to lead us to victory against the Russians in a long and drawn-out war? How will Joe Biden and our country react when the casualty counts start coming in from our war in Ukraine against the Russians? How is Joe going to react when the news report says, ‘956 US soldiers were wounded today, and 278 were killed in fighting just outside of Kiev, but the Russians were able to hold the territory.’
And once we’re in, we’re in. We can’t dip our toe into the water of war, and if we don’t like it, pull out. Once we’re in, we are there for the long haul. The Russians are not going to fold up easily. This isn’t going to be an easy war. Much blood will be spilled, many lives will be sacrificed, trillions of dollars will be spent, we will invite a nuclear escalation, and in the end, as in Vietnam and Afghanistan, we may not achieve anything. So, all the lives and tax dollars sacrificed may end up being meaningless.
Wars are won at home as much as they are won on the battlefield, and if we haven’t notice, our country is as divided as it has ever been since the Vietnam war. And divided countries do not win wars, never. And who will be driving the national narrative throughout this war with Russia? China. China controls much of the content that the Americans see in the media, on the internet, on social media, in the movies, throughout our entertainment industry. Much of the censorship that is so prevalent on all those platforms originates from China. Do we think that China is going to allow for messages of national unity once we are at war with Russia? Or will China be sowing the seeds of division across our media platforms because that is how we will be defeated by the Russians, that is how they weaken us. We couldn’t defeat the Viet Cong because we had lost the war at home, how will we defeat the Russians, if we are at war with each other at home?
Do we ever study history? Do we ever learn the lessons of the past? Weakness invites aggression. Think Neville Chamberlain in pre-World War II Europe. Our current President is weak. The Russians know it. The Chinese know it. The rest of the world knows it. He is predictably weak, and that weakness is being exploited right now. This is the first move in the chess match. China is waiting, poised to move on Taiwan as soon as we are engaged in a conflict with Russia in Ukraine, to force us to fight a two-front war.
We are overly concerned about protecting the border and the national sovereignty of Ukraine while at the same time we are erasing our own border and sacrificing our national sovereignty with Biden’s open border policy in the south. We are weakening ourselves economically on a daily basis, which compromises our ability to help our allies with non-military power against Russian aggression. It makes no sense.
Ronald Reagan believed in “peace through strength”, and that concept refers to both military and economic strength. If you don’t have economic power, you have to use military power to protect your interests and your allies, or to influence on the world stage. That was what was so brilliant with the Trump doctrine. When Donald Trump said, “make America great again”, he was talking about making America overwhelmingly the most powerful economic nation on the planet again. If the whole world depends on us economically, we will never have to fire another shot, or drop another bomb. We can influence the world for peace using our economic strength, not our military strength. Remember the Golden Rule – whoever has the gold, makes the rules.
This is what China and President Xi understand better than anything. China knows that they will be the most influential country in the world when they are the number one economic superpower in the world, and that is coming very soon. As our leaders are cutting the legs out of our economy, with wasteful trillion-dollar far-left spending packages, devaluing our dollar with hyper-inflation from excess printing of money, destroying our sovereignty with massive illegal immigration, selling out our manufacturing sector to our enemies so their billionaire donors increase their bottom line, and allowing crime to take over our major cities, China is making themselves as strong as they have ever been. And when they are the strongest economic nation in the world, they will dictate world politics, which will not be good for the United States, it will not be good for world-wide democracy, and it will not be good for freedom loving people. The world will become a bad, dangerous, and oppressive place when China is calling the shots.
In 2019 and 2020, the United States was energy independent, meaning we produced more energy than we consumed. We did not have to rely on any other country for our energy needs. That is an extremely strong position to be in as a country because every country needs energy to survive and thrive. But when a country has to rely on other nations for their energy needs, they are in a vulnerable position. His first week in office, Joe Biden shut down the Keystone XL pipeline, and has pushed for anti-oil and gas policies which have made us dependent on foreign oil once again, weakening our position in the world. Biden had also lifted sanctions on the Russian Nord Stream pipeline, making Russia stronger and richer, and thus more emboldened.
This is why it is much more difficult for us to influence the Ukraine-Russia situation. The Nord Stream pipeline was going to be used to bring oil to Germany and to the rest of Europe. That is why we hesitated putting sanctions on that pipeline prior to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine because those sanctions would also hurt Germany and the rest of Europe by driving their energy prices through the roof. If America was still energy independent, Europe would not have to rely on Russia for its energy needs, and the United States would have a greater influence in that region to work to stop the Russia invasion of Ukraine. This is what the world looks like when America is weak.
The stronger we are economically, the less chance we will be drawn into a war, and the better chance we’ll be able to use our economic strength to influence the outcome of international affairs toward the peaceful resolution we desire. When America is weakened, as we have been over the last 13 months, we lose our ability to weaponized our economic power to keep the bad actors in the world in check. We have little ability to do that right now because our current leader has sold out our economic and national power to many of the same bad actors we are trying to keep in check.
Judd Garrett is a graduate from Princeton University, and a former NFL player, coach, and executive. He has been a contributor to the website Real Clear Politics. He has recently published his first novel, No Wind.