Rachel Lucas, who has readers I would love to bundle up, steal, and join you guys, brings us this representative sample of what Victor Davis Hanson is all about. He's talking about aircraft carriers in this essay, but Carnage and Culture (see lower-right) is just like this. A damned fine academic who is actually proud to be an American.
It took me a long time to realize how special, subtle, and unbelievably powerful our navy is. Here's one fact that brought it home to me:
The "big" aircraft carrier, perhaps defined simply as a ship which allows at least 50 conventional aircraft to operate from its deck, is an invention not much more than sixty years old. Without question, it is by far the most effective method of conventional power projection in any navy's arsenal. In all the world, in all of history, only five nations have ever fielded them. Of those five, only three operate them today. Of those three nations, the second-most numerous operator is Great Britain, with three.
The first-most numerous operates twelve. Three guesses as to who that nation is, and the first two don't count.
It must totally infuriate tinpots abroad and socialists at home that, in actual fact, it doesn't really matter if you give the United States access to your airspace or airbases. It doesn't matter if you manage to browbeat your neighbors into denying the United States the same. It doesn't even matter if you manage to stand in your minaret and foment the ignorant street into making it too expensive for us to use bases your own government has allowed us to use.
Because in less than two weeks we can park our own goddamned airfield off your coast, and operate seventy aircraft of such sophistication and performance you can only hope to knock down one or two if you're lucky. If you piss us off enough, we'll bring two or three more. They'll be able to stay out there until we get what we want because we have ten more where those came from