Trade Wars

How we lost the fruits of the victory of the cold war |

As 1991 turned into 1992, America seemed to have arrived at the height of its national power and global prestige.

President George HW Bush had just sent an army of half a million men to expel, in a 100-hour campaign, Saddam Hussein’s invading army from Kuwait. The world, including Russia, China and Iran, had supported US-led military action to reverse Iraq’s aggression.

Our Cold War adversary, the Soviet Union, had just collapsed and disintegrated into 15 nations. The Warsaw Pact was dissolved. All of Eastern Europe was free. We were the only surviving superpower.

In the review stand on Constitution Avenue for the Desert Storm Troop Victory Parade, the thought occurred: this must have been what it must have been when the generals returned in triumph to Rome to take the cheers. a crowd.

But, instead of making America “a normal country in normal times” again, as Jeane Kirkpatrick urged, we have set out on the road to empire.

There was much talk back then of a “unipolar moment” in which we would establish a “benevolent world hegemony” and create a new world order under the rule and tutelage of the United States.

Secretary of State Madeleine Albright explained: “If we are to use force, it is because we are America; we are the indispensable nation. We stand tall and see ourselves beyond other countries into the future.

Three decades after those heady days, how did it go for us?

Today, the other great powers of the world, Russia and China, are united against us in a “relationship” which, according to the autocrat Xi Jinping, “in its proximity and effectiveness … exceeds even an alliance” .

Russia is launching virtual ultimata against any new NATO advance in Ukraine or Georgia. Beijing, after having digested Hong Kong, indicates that the time of its annexation of Taiwan is approaching.

How did we get here?

At 90, Mikhail Gorbachev, who left power in December 1991, identifies a root cause: “The triumphal mood in the West, especially in the United States. Arrogance and self-confidence were going to their heads.

Indeed. In February 1997, George Kennan, the architect of Joseph Stalin’s USSR Cold War containment, implored America not to seize its moment of triumph and to move NATO to Europe from the East :

“NATO enlargement would be the most fatal mistake of US policy in the entire post-Cold War era.”

“Such a decision can be expected to stir up nationalist, anti-Western and militarist tendencies in Russian opinion, have a negative effect on the development of Russian democracy, restore the atmosphere of the Cold War in East-West relations and pushing Russian foreign policy in directions decidedly not to our liking. ”

So says Kennan. And so it is that Russia has placed 100,000 troops on the borders of Ukraine and told us that any further expansion of NATO into its border states, or the installation of weapons there that may threaten the Russia, would be intolerable – and resisted.

Because we have admitted into an alliance to contain Russia all of its former Warsaw Pact allies and three former Soviet republics, we are now near sword point with a Russia that our own actions have led to an understanding with the greatest rival the United States has ever known: China.

And who made China, with four times our population, the first world power capable of challenging America on all fronts – strategic, military, diplomatic and economic?

Capitalist America has done it.

The Clinton Democrats and the Bush Republicans, reveling in the riches that world trade would bring for our prosperity, opened up American markets to production from anywhere and everywhere on earth.

American companies quickly began to shift production from the United States to where it could be done cheapest – the People’s Republic of China. From 1991, China surged and eventually overtook the United States as the leading manufacturing power on earth.

A self-sufficient America which provided for all its needs during World Wars I and II is now dependent on foreign nations for the necessities of its national life.

Meanwhile, a mighty China is rolling islands, rocks and reefs across the South and East China Seas and warns the United States against any effort to prevent Taiwan from reuniting with the motherland.

So these are three of the historical blunders that caused us to lose the unique position that America occupied at the end of the Cold War.

First, to alienate Russia by treating it as an incorrigible and permanent enemy by pushing our alliance on its steps.

Second, to pursue a globalist trade policy that China has exploited to become an economic and military rival of the United States.

Third, America’s plunge into the Middle East, with our eternal wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, then Syria, Libya and Yemen.

They were of no use to us and only led to death and destruction.

Of the disappearance of this preeminence that we had in 1991, let it be said: we did it to ourselves.

– Patrick J. Buchanan is the author of “Nixon’s White House Wars: The Battles That Made and Broke a President and Divided America Forever”. To learn more about Patrick Buchanan and read articles from other Creators writers and designers, visit the Creators website at