So This Is What World War III Looks Like

06Dec11

Last time around, Germany wanted to take over Europe, and Japan wanted to take over Asia.  We were isolationist, protected by our oceans.  Let them solve their own problems.  But then Japan interfered with the surfing in Hawaii, and that meant war.  And suddenly — well, after a couple years of screwing around — we were marching across Europe and bailing out the Chinese.

This time, the musical chairs have stopped at a different point.  Now we wish Japan could stand up and be mighty.  And they could, if this were a military war.  But it’s a financial war, and they aren’t up to it.  We want Germany to invade Greece, become an ally to Italy — indeed, take over Europe, make the whole place function like the German war money machine.  Now, as before, we say:  Let Europe solve its own problems.

Germany, this time, is not interested.  They’re running their finances like a shrewder Hitler would have run his war:  keep it tight and focused; be careful.  And so we are approaching that Roosevelt moment when the American public suddenly recognizes that the wave sweeping the world is actually not going to stop in midocean.  Once again, we are on the cusp of a massive volte-face as seriously enormously major bad possibilities present themselves.  We are on the edge of war.

This time, China is going to pull an America.  Russia is out of the picture; now it’s our turn to bear the brunt of the German (non)onslaught for a few years.  Instead of wading into the thick of it, China is going to sit out a couple of rounds.  Why invest in Europe’s misery today, when they can buy Europe’s gratitude for pennies on the dollar tomorrow?  In the meantime, let the Soviets Americans bleed themselves white on their front lines.

Well, from an American perspective, it was good for Europe that we waited out as long as we did.  We went into WWII relatively fresh and without terribly much anger or hatred.  We were gracious toward Europe and the Japanese.  We helped them rebound.  They were no longer going to be superpowers, but under Pax Americana they still did really well.  It would take decades before they would be heavily Americanized, and by that point they wouldn’t even really mind.

I wonder if China is thinking about this.

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