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Why Rand Paul is Wrong to Blame the US for Pearl Harbor

Posted By Daniel Greenfield On April 1, 2014 @ 10:32 am In The Point | 95 Comments

The views in the video aren’t surprising. They’re the views of Ron and Rand Paul and their intellectual milieu which believes that most wars are set up by banks. According to them, the US need not have gotten involved in WW2.

“There are times when sanctions have made it worse. I mean, there are times .. leading up to World War II we cut off trade with Japan. That probably caused Japan to react angrily. We also had a blockade on Germany after World War I, which may have encouraged them … some of their anger.” Paul says.

Paleocon revisionist historians go on to claim even that Japan exhausted every diplomatic outlet and that it had no choice left but to bomb Pearl Harbor.

Sanctions were never really the issue though. Japan wanted European powers out of Asia. And it considered America a European power.

The attack on Pearl Harbor was a flanking raid in support of the Japanese seizure of the Dutch East Indies. A major reason for Japan’s attack on the US was its assumption that FDR would not have let Japan attack the UK without a response. We no doubt could have abandoned the UK and the Dutch, watched the atrocities from a distance, the torture, mass murder and rape, and gone on selling Japan anything it wanted.

Would that have worked? Doubtfully.

The Japanese army and navy were poorly controlled and its officers were drunk with power and victory. Their understanding of their own limitations was often non-existent. Plans for war with the US had been in place for a while and there were historical grudges there long predating FDR.

A victorious Japan would have been even more difficult to co-exist with than an overcommitted one. Furthermore Hawaii had enough Japanese that the whole Volksdeutsche scenario would have reared its ugly head.

The US could no doubt have ceded Hawaii, but where exactly does all that end?

Japan, like Nazi Germany, was trying to compensate for a bad economic policy with war and conquest. Every victory fed military egos while piling up more problems that could only be dealt with through more war and conquest.

The idea that the US could have just stayed out of Japan’s way is like thinking that you can stay out of a mugger’s way. You can, a few times, but if you intend on being in the neighborhood, he will come for you.


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