Monday, March 14, 2011

The High Cost of Retreating From Tyranny

There is truly nothing more frightening to the freedom-loving mind than the idea of having your country occupied by an oppressive and hostile force.

In Homefront, Kaos Games teams up with Red Dawn director John Milius to present a "what if?" scenario in which the emergence of a ruthless and competent North Korean leader intersects with a disastrous Iran-Saudi Arabia war (and accompanying oil price shock) combines to lead to the rise of a terrifying new global power: the Greater Korean Federation.

The game presents a chilling -- but historically familiar -- scenario in which North Korea, under the leadership of Kim Jong-Un reunites with South Korea and begins to annex countries around the Pacific rim, including Japan.

In the face of the rising threat, the United States has long since retreated from the Pacific rim while the western economy collapses. A bird flu endemic claims the lives of six million Americans while the Koreans slowly creep across the Pacific.

Although the threat grows on their very doorstoops, the "future history" of Homefront suggests that China and Russia do absolutely nothing to prevent it. Indeed, perhaps they make some plays of their own, using the growing power of the Greater Korean Federation as cover for their own moves (think a Chinese annexation of Taiwan, possible Russian seizures of Ukraine, Georgia and other former Soviet Republics).

If this sounds familiar one shouldn't be surprised.

During the 1930s and '40s, Adolph Hitler took advantage of a massive economic upheaval to creep across Europe entirely unopposed until it was nearly too late to stop him. When the allies finally decided to stand up to Hitler it was already too late; France fell quickly.

So humanity already knows the human cost of retreating from tyranny. It led to the costliest war in human history, one that claimed some 16,000,000 lives.

If any such threat really existed in the world today, it has become clear that President Barack Obama would not be equipped to deal with it. Like the fictional United States presented in the fictional Homefront game, Obama has made a habit of abandoning US allies, to the extent that they actually handed British nuclear secrets over to the Russians.

It's that kind of international disloyalty that contributes to the "America alone" scenarios that Milius so frequently presents. It's a rather simple and intuitive idea: when weak leadership renders the United States a liability rather than a reliable ally, its friends may decide to just stay home.

In the face of an enemy like the fictional Korean foe presented in Homefront -- one so indifferent to human rights and the laws of war that they would irradiate the Mississippi River in order to keep US forces divided -- the abandonment of one's allies can come with a steep cost:

It's the high and intolerable cost of retreating from tyranny.

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