March 9-10, 1945
Based on suggestions from many paid subscribers, I have removed the paywall from this post so anyone can read and share it with their networks, given the importance of the anniversary of the bombing of Tokyo, which occurred 78 years ago today. It’s a reminder about the power of democracy.
Thank you, as always, for your support.
The Chinese dictator, President for Life Xi Jinping spoke to members of China’s top political advisory body during an annual legislative session in Beijing on Monday. He made clear that the world we know stands at its end. He made clear that China will challenge the post-World War 2 era that was born out of the ashes of that war, which killed 80 million people. He also directly attacked the United States when he said that:
Western countries — led by the U.S. — have implemented all-around containment, encirclement and suppression against us, bringing unprecedentedly severe challenges to our country’s development.
Eleven thousand miles away from the insanity of MAGA politics and Tucker Carlson’s depravity, US Ambassador to Japan Rahm Emanuel spoke to CNN about the growing Chinese military threat in the Pacific. Ponder this remarkable and accurate statement:
You look at India, you look at the Philippines, you look at Australia, you look at the United States, Canada or Japan. They (China) have had in just the last three months a military or some type of confrontation with every country. And then they’re shocked that countries are taking their own steps for deterrence to protect themselves. What did they think they were going to do?
In the CNN interview, he then listed a string of aggressive military actions by China, including “attacks” against India along their shared Himalayan border, Chinese coast guard ships aiming lasers at Philippine vessels in the South China Sea, the firing of missiles into Japan’s exclusive economic zone and the harassment of US, Canadian and Australian aircraft by People’s Liberation Army ships and planes.
Demonstrating a rare capacity in American politics, Ambassador Emanuel was able to offer a succinct assessment and deep insight about the power of freedom against the forces of barbarism and savagery that are re-forming a new Axis. It will threaten the peace of the 21st century just as the totalitarian Axis of Nazi Germany, Fascist Italy and the Japanese Empire did in the 20th, before launching the wars of annihilation that broke the world and remade it almost 80 years ago.
What does the US-led world order of free nations look like? It looks like this:
It is a miracle, and it must not be allowed to slip away.
This is what stands at risk, and this is what must be defended — which means that the Chinese threat must be answered. It is why the Russian threat must be answered. It is why the Iranian threat must be answered.
It is why Bernard-Henri Lévy, the French public intellectual, couldn’t be more correct about the stakes for human civilization and its continued advancement when he said the following:
In Ukraine, I had the feeling for the first time that the world I knew, the world in which I grew up, the world that I want to leave to my children and grandchildren, might collapse.
We stand at the hinge of history at the dawn of a new era, in which the misery and suffering of the old have faded from human consciousness and memory. It is this loss of memory that is so profoundly dangerous. The furies are beginning to rumble.
Vladimir Putin has opened his prisons and sent tens of thousands of rapists, murderers and criminals to the front where they move forward or are executed, oftentimes by being sledgehammered to the head. Putin’s criminal army has murdered, tortured, raped and committed countless war crimes, including the kidnapping of thousands of children. This isn’t an abstraction or make believe. What is happening is barbarism and savagery at an epic level. Ambassador Emanuel observed the wisdom of the old saw that “you’re known by the company you keep.”
Where are the slave labor camps? Where are the places where women are killed for not covering their heads? Where are the outposts of child labor and oppression? These are the nations that are joining together in vituperative calls to dismantle the world that was forged from the collapse of their predecessors’ evil ambitions and imperial designs. They are the nations that want to topple the world order. They are arming, training and readying. The only thing that will keep them at bay is the overwhelming strength of the free nations, which stand imperfectly for the concept of human dignity, freedom and liberty. Collectively, they recognize the supremacy of the human being as an individual against the tide of mayhem unleashed when the jackboot comes down.
The Japanese Empire sought to dominate Asia as the Chinese do today. The crimes and brutality of Japan from the rape of Nanking to the Bataan death march represent a catalogue of atrocities that beggar belief. The Japanese, like the Nazis and fascists, didn’t understand the democracies, and in particular, didn’t understand the United States. They assessed the West as weak and corrupt. They could not fathom the determination of free people to remain free, or the possibility that a thirst for life could conquer death cults.
A terrible anniversary is upon us that deserves consideration in a moment in which Vladimir Putin is threatening the use of nuclear weapons, and Chinese military expansion is increasing at the fastest pace since Imperial Japan was readying for a quick war that would end through negotiation, not destruction. The Japanese doubted that America would have the fortitude to fight to the end, and would accept the boundaries imposed by a new order controlled by an Axis of totalitarian nations.
Human civilization began between the banks of the Tigris and Euphrates 4,000 years before the birth of Christ in Bethlehem. There have been approximately 6,000 years of recorded human history during which the sun has risen and set across 2,190,000 days.
The late hours of March 9 and early hours of March 10, 1945, stand apart from every other day because they comprise the greatest incident of violence and death in recorded history across the entirety of human civilization. Think about that. Exactly 78 years ago this evening were humanity’s most violent hours. What happened then deserves remembrance because the obligations of peace require it. No one really knows how many human beings were killed in the firestorm, but some estimates are as high as 200,000 people, with more than a million wounded, and more than a million left homeless.
There is a quote that is often misattributed to Nikita Khrushchev about the possibility of World War 3 and the use of nuclear weapons. It is reported that he said that if it comes “the living will envy the dead.”
The fire bombing of Tokyo on March 9-10 involved more than 1,000 B-29 Superfortresses flying in a single line from Saipan at night, and approaching the city at 5,000 feet. The glow of the holocaust of fire that was unleashed could be seen two hundred miles from the coast of Japan. Sixteen square miles of Tokyo were completely destroyed. Turned to ash.
This was the result:
This is the miracle of democracy:
Today, Japan is the third largest economy in the world, and a vital deterrence partner for the United States against Chinese aggression. The lessons of history are clear. Humanity has not yet evolved beyond warfare, nor has the savagery of mankind been tamed.
There is only one thing that will prevent the 21st century from exceeding the death count of the 20th century from war, and that is the overwhelming technical, military, innovation and economic supremacy of the free nations of the world — with America being the most powerful. It is this power that will keep our children safe.
American politics has become a vicious carnival, where the attractions are malice, extremism and serial lying. Whatever insanity that is playing out on Fox News cannot push away the tide of history — or change actual reality.
Thousands of miles from Washington, DC, on the other side of the world, a different conversation is occurring. The sooner it reaches America, the safer our children will be.
Tonight, let us remember the horror and cost of war, and pray that our children will live in peace.
Ambassador Emmanuel said it best:
A rules-based system that upholds respect both for the individual and in trying to uphold freedom has its own, I don’t know how else to say it, but seductive gravitational pull.
Steve, this is a great history lesson. As you write about each Chinese incursion I think about Sarah Huckabee Sanders trying to eliminate the requirement of age verification for child labor, MTG and her ilk planning to visit incarcerated J6 ‘tourists’, Tucker spewing his spin on TV nightly and the rest. China and Russia are trying to expand their roles in the World order, so many here in the US are eroding ourselves from within.
We think about August 6 not about March 9/10 1945. Glad you reminded us of the horrors. Out of the ashes came an economic and cultural powerhouse. We can say the same for Germany
I know Russia is challenging the Western order now and China will shortly after they see the Ukraine outcome. May we be up to the challenge