By Eric Tallant
Former Army NCO and Fellow at The Intelligence Community
The New Normal
War is simply incomprehensible to most Westerners. Enemy occupation of our sovereign land is beyond incomprehensible, it’s so foreign to those of us in America that we’d seldom give it a passing thought. No matter how much inhumanity, suffering, injustice, and real evil that we see in the media, the idea that an army would sweep into our nation, take it over, and subject the citizenry to its whims just doesn’t cross our minds. We have every right not to worry (I suppose). Our military is the finest in the world. Our lands are expansive, and protected by militias, police, and an armed citizenry. As a matter of fact, Americans seem to fear the biggest paper tiger of them all, the jihadist. Now don’t get me wrong, jihadists are a threat. Extremists are a threat. From Bin Laden to McVeigh, we’ve suffered horrible wounds here at home. The reason I refer to jihadists (and domestic terrorists) as paper tigers is because despite the real damage, fear, and evil they cause, they can never alter the entire landscape and political process of the United States. Sure, they can change the way we conduct business. All one has to do is pay attention to the civil liberties advocates, and you’ll know what I mean.
The debates raging among those on both sidesthe civil liberties vs security argument are essentially carrying out the function of American spirit. That spirit is captured in lively dialogue about what freedom really means. So, despite the horror of radical terrorists, the bedrock of American spirit remains in place.
The new normal for America has been to focus on terrorism, cyber attacks, and keeping aggressive state actors in their lane. All worthy national security endeavors. With the assured feeling that the brave men and women, provided with the right amount of technology, training, support and leadership, will handle the aforementioned challenges, I took it upon myself to focus on what modern war and empire building looks like. Didn’t have to look further than Central Europe to find it.
Modern warfare and occupation of civilized nations seems like a concept few at home will accept. Viewing the news, there’s very little talk of Russia slowly regaining their lost Soviet Empire in Eastern and Central Europe. Sure, we all know Obama and Putin don’t get along, but few care why, or even worse, they accept Putin’s aggression because they think Obama is weak.
I think that American’s and our media suffer from another problem. That problem is the inability to conceive that a modern army can sweep into a civilized nation, commit atrocities, seize the land, and impose their political and social will. It seems that the “HD” graphics of our televisions are incapable of broadcasting images of modern white people murdering and enslaving other white people. Those images just don’t jive with the current Middle Eastern, dark skinned jihadist threat. The “white” army attacking another “white” nation just can’t happen. Granted, Central Europe and Russia are not all “white” people. There’s Asiatic people,Slavs, and others that make up their rich populations. Basically, I think that the idea of European aggression, from the viewpoint of Americans, died out after WWII. What was left of that threat got washed out of Western thought at the end of the Cold War.
Perhaps that’s the problem. We don’t see Russia as a threat to us or Europe anymore because we’ve become transfixed on another enemy for almost the last two decades. The notion that we live under the fear of Middle Eastern borne terrorism has dominated our collective national security fears. We focus on what we’ve become strangely comfortable with, and failed to recognize other threats. Specifically, I don’t think we want to comprehend, or even consider what an army of tanks attacking a modern city would really be like. I don’t feel we are ready to see white people in modern military garb, with smartphones and technology killing/enslaving other white people with the same means. It doesn’t match up with the current narrative. It’s too scary. It’s uncomfortable. Whatever. It’s the new reality in Central Europe, and I hope Americans will start paying attention.