It all began with “Thank you for your service”

My wife and are are now home from the events at the 75th anniversary of the Pearl Harbor attack. It was a long trip, about twelve flying hours in a coach seat, thankfully overnight for half of the trip. We left Hilo about 10:pm getting home last night at about the same local time.

While waiting at Hilo airport, A fellow walked up to me noticing that I wear a hat that says “Dysfunctional Veteran – Leave me alone” on it.It looks a lot like the typical “Disabled Veteran” hat, and unless you look at it twice, you miss the last few words. Now, I am not anti-social, and veterans who read the hat get a chuckle out of it, asking where they can get one. One lady told she was married to someone who should have a hat like mine.

The guy who walked up to me gave me the more or less common courtesy of saying “Thank You For Your Service.” I told him it was my pleasure to serve. He then expanded on the topic, apparently either not seeing the last few words, or just could not help himself.

Within a few sentences, he dragged Trump into his conversation. Bad move on his part. I mentioned that although he will be President, I will continue to respect the office, but that I detest the man who will hold it. I told him that I swore to protect and defend the Constitution when I enlisted, and that I have not retracted that, nor do I intend to do so.

He told me that Trump was the better choice as he didn’t lie like Clinton. I explained to him that he was mistaken, and that he was the greatest danger to America. I told him that Trump’s phone conversation with the President of the Republic of China may seem like a small detail, it has caused a shiver to pass through the global political community, and may lead to an economic war with China that may expand into an actual shooting war.

He asked how that could happen, saying he was not up to speed on politics.

I explained to him that since 1979 the United States Under the “One China Policy” has recognized the People’s Republic of China as the sole and official government over all of China, and that China claims sovereignty over the Republic of China. This phone call from one President to another has potentially destroyed our relation ship with China. That may result in retaliation in the economic world that the USA may not appreciate. We in turn, with the vindictiveness that Trump has exhibited, will retaliate, and the escalation begins, to an unknown end. Trump probably feels that he can use Taiwan as a bargaining chip in an economic deal with China. China has no interest in renegotiating any deal with us. Asian Times calls it “Trump’s Taiwan call: Tempest in a teapot”. A second Asian Times article  titled Sovereignty not a ‘bargaining chip’ by China’s US ambassador begins:
US President-elect Donald Trump gets veiled warning from China’s ambassador to the United States.

He told me that he may have made a mistake. I told him that I was certain he had.

China People’s Online posted an Op-Ed on December 14 titled: Trump needs to stop playing ‘Game of Chicken’ with China. It says, in part:

Trump’s game is a game of nerve which relies on uncertainty and unpredictability. The rules of this game are simple. Two players head toward each other and must choose to stay on course or change course. Whoever decides to change course first loses. If both players stay on course, they collide. This coercive strategy is not how the U.S. should deal with China. The Cold War is over, and the world does not need divisive politics. His game of nerve is not only dangerous for China-U.S. relations, but dangerous for world peace and prosperity. Stable and healthy relations depend on certainty and predictability. No doubt, there is an aspect of rivalry between China and the U.S., but the China-U.S. relationship is much more than just a winner-takes-all contest. Trump’s us-versus-them view is simplistic, outdated, and dangerous.

The last time a knucklehead misspoke with dire consequences was in 1990:

On the 25th, Saddam met with April Glaspie, the US Ambassador to Iraq, in Baghdad.

The Iraqi leader attacked American policy with regards to Kuwait and the UAE:

So what can it mean when America says it will now protect its friends? It can only mean prejudice against Iraq. This stance plus maneuvers and statements which have been made has encouraged the UAE and Kuwait to disregard Iraqi rights … If you use pressure, we will deploy pressure and force. We know that you can harm us although we do not threaten you. But we too can harm you. Everyone can cause harm according to their ability and their size. We cannot come all the way to you in the United States, but individual Arabs may reach you … We do not place America among the enemies. We place it where we want our friends to be and we try to be friends. But repeated American statements last year made it apparent that America did not regard us as friends.

Glaspie replied:

I know you need funds. We understand that and our opinion is that you should have the opportunity to rebuild your country. But we have no opinion on the Arab-Arab conflicts, like your border disagreement with Kuwait … Frankly, we can only see that you have deployed massive troops in the south. Normally that would not be any of our business. But when this happens in the context of what you said on your national day, then when we read the details in the two letters of the Foreign Minister, then when we see the Iraqi point of view that the measures taken by the UAE and Kuwait is, in the final analysis, parallel to military aggression against Iraq, then it would be reasonable for me to be concerned.

Saddam stated that he would attempt last-ditch negotiations with the Kuwaitis but Iraq “would not accept death”.

We all know what happened one week later:

The invasion started on 2 August 1990 at 2:00 am, local time, and within two days of intense combat, most of the Kuwait Armed Forces were either overrun by the Iraqi Republican Guard or fell back to neighboring Saudi Arabia and Bahrain. The Emirate of Kuwait was annexed, and Saddam Hussein announced a few days later that it was the 19th province of Iraq.

On 3 August 1990, the UN Security Council passed Resolution 660 condemning the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait and demanding that Iraq unconditionally withdraw all forces deployed in Kuwait.

After a series of failed negotiations between major world powers and Iraq, the United States-led coalition forces launched a massive military assault on Iraq and Iraqi forces stationed in Kuwait in mid-January 1991.

The initial conflict to expel Iraqi troops from Kuwait began with an aerial and naval bombardment on 17 January 1991, continuing for five weeks. This was followed by a ground assault on 24 February. This was a decisive victory for the coalition forces, who liberated Kuwait and advanced into Iraqi territory. The coalition ceased its advance, and declared a ceasefire 100 hours after the ground campaign started.

According to Glaspie’s own account, she stated in reference to the precise border between Kuwait and Iraq, “…  that she had served in Kuwait 20 years before; ‘then, as now, we took no position on these Arab affairs’.” Glaspie similarly believed that war was not imminent. The American ambassador declared to her Iraqi interlocutor that Washington, “inspired by the friendship and not by confrontation, does not have an opinion” on the disagreement between Kuwait and Iraq, stating “we have no opinion on the Arab–Arab conflicts”. She also let Saddam Hussein know that the United States did not intend “to start an economic war against Iraq”. These statements may have caused Saddam to believe he had received a diplomatic green light from the United States to invade Kuwait.

Are we on our way to another conflict due to a well meaning but very uninformed bungler?

About Terry Welshans

I grew up in Burbank, California. My dad worked at a company that made sub assemblies for about every airplane made in the 1960-1970 era, so it was only natural that the aviation bug bit me while I was quite young. I hold a commercial pilot certificate and fly as much as I can. I live in Bardstown, Kentucky with my wife, moving here after we retired. I am a Vietnam veteran and a cancer survivor. I like to keep politicians honest, and do so when they open an avenue where I feel they have erred.
This entry was posted in 2016 Election, Politics, US Military, War, World History. Bookmark the permalink.

8 Responses to It all began with “Thank you for your service”

  1. Yup. Stakes escalated just today. The Chinese sent a small craft right up to a US Navy vessel and stole their remote control submersible drone right from under their noses. I would have hated to be in the shoes of the skipper of that ship. Shoot or don’t shoot, that is the question. The Navy held their fire. As a result, this evening we are not in a shooting war with China.

    Now I ask myself, what if Trump or one of his lesser qualified henchmen had been in charge. “Of course we shoot at them….it is what we do.”

    This is from The Epoch Times, an independent outlet for news from China.
    US Says Chinese Warship Stole Navy Underwater Drone

  2. ann summers says:

    One would think the advantage of having so many LIVs putting Trump in office is that despite the nuance we thought that we learned from Gulf of Tonkin etc. about provocations but maybe not considering WMDs in Iraq, so we are doomed to have stupid maritime events

    • Terry Welshans says:

      Ann, I fear it may extend beyond the sea.

      • wordcloud9 says:

        Excellent post Terry –

        I do take issue with “well meaning” – Trump is far too petty and vindictive. And “uninformed bungler” seems a little understated – it’s more like “Bull in a China shop” (if the pun fits…)

        All the rest is dead on.

      • ann summers says:

        True, all submersibles should be paired with Mk 48 torpedoes – it’ll only take one event for them to give up trying to ‘jack our stuff

        • Yup. From now on, all of them need to be booby trapped. C4 is lightweight, can be molded into any shape like Play-Doh, is safe for even a kid to handle….until a little electric current sets it off. During WW2, the SOE made C4 into light bulb shapes and stuck them into lamp sockets. Inert until some German turned on the lights, and then it was lights out.

          It would be kind of hard to cry “foul” if the package you stole turned out to be full of skunk poop….or C4.

        • It would be even more interesting if all of them were equipped with the equivalent of cell phone video and audio recording capability, and would broadcast encrypted wi-fi or sat-com what they hear and see in real time while in captivity. Would give Navy intelligence an insight into their operational technique for “cracking the coconut.”

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