Interview conducted by Jaime Ortega.
He is professor emeritus of history at James Madison University
1) When we look at history, one of the first signs concerning the collapse of any civilization is the weakening of its military core. Has the United States started to show this decline?
Congdon: The U.S. military is in decline for a number of reasons–none of them having to do with sophistication of weaponry. The military is being used for social “experiments”–that is, it now enlists women and homosexuals, which will only destroy morale. It is over-extended, fighting too many wars in too many places without a clear national interest at stake.
2) Under the Obama administration, military enrollment has declined to dangerous low levels similar to what was observed during the Clinton Administration. It seems that the American youth, instead of admiring the military core, now demonize it. Has the faith once unifying nation and military come to an abrupt end thanks to American liberalism?
Congdon: The Obama administration is filled with people hostile to the military and young people in the U.S. are not inclined to join up, in some cases with good reason. It was a mistake, long ago now, to end the draft.
3) Long ago a veteran told me that what wars are won with ‘man to man combat.’ Considering the imminent befall of militaristic values in the American youth, if a war erupted, would they be more motivated to fight than the youths in Russia and China that show great levels of nationalism? Would that motivation play a key element for America’s continuance as the leading superpower? Do you see the necessary motivation in today’s youth to fight for the country?
Congdon: Young people who attend university are fed a steady diet of anti-military propaganda, not all of it deserved.
Congdon: Respect must be earned–the U.S., acting in the international arena, has not earned it.
5) China and Russia under the Obama administration seem to have spontaneously shown signs of global expansionism. How has the US and NATO responded to such motives? Have NATO and the US done a good job in dealing with both countries?
Congdon: It is NATO that has expanded in the direction of Russia, despite post-Cold War promises that the organization, which should have been disbanded after the fall of communism in Russia and Eastern Europe, would NOT expand. Both Russia and China have spheres of influence, as does the U.S.
6) China has opposed the Trans-Pacific Partnership free trade agreement summoned to end dependency from Chinese exports; will this agreement boil further tension between China and the US?
Congdon: Most of the China-U.S. tension is the result of the U.S.’s peculiar idea that it alone may act in the world. China wishes to dominate ITS area of the world, not the entire world.
7) China’s presence on the South East Sea to build artificial islands has raised red flags in Vietnam and the Philippines, could it spill into a larger conflict if the situation is not solved soon?
Congdon: Whatever conflict occurs in South East Asia would have nothing whatever to do with U.S.’s legitimate national interest.
8) Russia has a similar problem. Poland, Finland, Denmark and Norway are very concerned with Russian expansionism and have started to increase their military capabilities. Do you see this spilling into a larger conflict?
Congdom: The countries mentioned have nothing to fear from Russia–Russia is not an expansionist power; it does have national interests in areas close to home, as does any other power.
9) Are China and Russia jointly plotting schemes to substitute US global hegemony?
Congdom: The answer is no. Why should the U.S. exercise “global hegemony?”
10) Russian jet fighters have been caught illegally flying in different airspace around the world hasting concerns of Putin’s real intentions. From 2014-15 the amount of airspace violated by Russia has exponentially grown. What is Putin trying to prove to the world? And do Russians support his actions in Ukraine and Syria?
Congdom: The Russians do support President Putin’s actions in eastern Ukraine and Syria. Putin is not trying to “prove” anything, other than that Russia will protect ITS national interests. The anti-Putin hysteria in the West has much to do with Putin’s internal policies, including laws against recruiting young people into homosexuality and in defense of Christian civilization.
11) There is sufficient evidence that China is already in the process of sending troops into Syria to protect oil fields in Iraq from ISIS expansionism. They have already sent ships, tanks and jet fighters. Beijing is backed with Assad’s blessings, and Russian approval. What reaction would we expect from the US if China enters the Syrian picture?
Congdon: It should be gratitude for aid in destroying the monstrous ISIS.
12) Judging by their present actions, it doesn’t seem as if China and Russia care about violating diplomatic agreements. Does China and Russia really believe in diplomatic means? Or do they use diplomacy to flake their real expansionist scheme?
13) Has a new cold war started? United States gets in future war with China and Russia. Who wins? Would that war decide the faith of the new superpower? What happens if the US lost that war?
Congdon: It would be absolute lunacy to start a war against China or Russia. To what end? The U.S. cannot win a war in Afghanistan, but against China or Russia?