Vladimir Putin’s apparent fear of NATO expansion, though especially the deployment of additional U.S. anti-nuclear-missile defense systems, further into eastern Europe is typically perceived by the West as unmerited paranoia. Surely he must realize that the West, including NATO, won’t initiate a nuclear-weapons exchange.
Then, again, how can he — or we, for that matter — know for sure, particularly with the U.S.?
For example, while Ronald Reagan postulated that “Of the four wars in my lifetime none came about because the U.S. was too strong,” who can know what may have historically come to fruition had the U.S. remained the sole possessor of atomic weaponry. There’s a presumptive, and perhaps even arrogant, concept of American governance as somehow, unless physically provoked, being morally/ethically above using nuclear weapons internationally.
After President Harry S. Truman relieved General Douglas MacArthur as commander of the forces warring with North Korea — for the latter’s remarks about using many atomic bombs to promptly end the war — Americans’ approval-rating of the president dropped to 23 percent. It was still a record-breaking low, even lower than the worst approval-rating points of the presidencies of Richard Nixon and Lyndon Johnson.
Had it not been for the formidable international pressure on Truman (and perhaps his personal morality) to relieve MacArthur as commander, could/would Truman eventually have succumbed to domestic political pressure to allow MacArthur’s command to continue? After all, absolute power can corrupt absolutely.
Frank Sterle Jr.
White Rock, B.C.
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