PEARL HARBOR…AND OTHER THINGS
Those of us who remember the attack on Pearl Harbor, look back and some of us wonder how we could have been so naïve. Others will say that they knew it was coming because of our treatment of Japan…and both sides might be right. On that Sunday morning 74 years ago, the US Navy was decimated. The Army Air Corps was decimated. Outlying Marine posts were overrun. It was a day of infamy. Now, fast forward to the present.
We’ve rebuilt Japan, even following two atomic bombs, to the point where they are not just an economic competitor, but we owe them a bunch of money now! No, not in reparations…we have become a bankrupt, debtor nation, and Japan is just one of our big creditors. The same can be said about Germany, although we helped them rebuild, we don’t owe them as much, if anything.
China…well, that’s a whole other story. This once backward nation that we helped to survive during World War Two, bounced back with a vengeance. It is to China that we owe most of our money, and according to experts, have little or no chance of ever repaying the loan. We counted them as a strong ally during the war, and now we are facing them as a potential enemy…and the same can be said for Russia.
Somebody once said that politics makes strange bedfellows and it certainly is a truism in this modern world. Who would have known that the attack on Pearl Harbor would evolve into a political and economic ally? Could anyone have guessed that Russia and China, both of which might not have survived without our help could become “frenemies”, a term that didn’t even exist until a couple of years back.
A frenemy, as I understand it, is a person, even a nation, that works both sides of the street…they’re both for you and against you, publicly and privately. That, to me, describes Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Yemen and a host of other countries in the muddled Middle East. Oil made them all rich, but it didn’t make them all civilized. They wear civilization like a coat, to be taken off or put on as the occasion demands. They tell us to our face that they like us but they shovel money out the back door to the barbarians.
As Pearl Harbor approached on that fateful day, America was taking the first steps to becoming a superpower. We invented, we made, we improved and it was all done here in the United States. Now there’s some stuff that’s still made here, but if you pick up something in the big box store, 9 times out of 10 it will say “Made In China”.
The same goes for the supermarket…except that the “Pacific Rim” countries also share in that. It’s very difficult to find canned fruits and vegetables that are still grown and processed in this country…without ever having to go overseas first.
A listener wrote in recently to say that I was “a one-trick pony”…that is, my stuff was all the same week in and week out. He could be right in one respect because the show is about trying to right the wrongs being perpetrated. That’s a big job and I’m just a whisper in a windstorm. The salmon swimming upstream to spawn have nothing on me…the tide is always against me but as long as we have free speech in this country I’ll keep on saying what I think needs to be said.
Now, that bit about free speech…you want to think about that for a bit? On many college and university campuses you don’t have that…unless you get a permit, and then only in certain “free speech zones”. How does that square with the First Amendment to the US Constitution? You want to hear some interesting things? Make up a 20 question test about Americana…history, government, literature, stuff like that and ask your kids and grandkids to answer the questions. They cannot use a smartphone or a computer…they have to actually know the answers, and that’s where the amazing part comes in. Try it and see what happens.
Remember Pearl Harbor…the Maine…the Alamo. There’s probably a thousand things you could, and should, remember, because it’s what made America what it was.
Well the holidays are coming so I’ll put on my happy face and see what transpires. Who knows, we might even have Peace On Earth for a week or so.