- The Washington Times - Sunday, January 4, 2009

I share Bruce Fein’s concern about presidents forming defensive alliances without the approval of the Senate (“Constitutional curiosity,” Commentary, Dec. 30). This is clearly unconstitutional and extremely dangerous.

Besides the usurpation of Senate authority, has anybody noticed to what extent we are replicating the pre-World War I system of interlocking alliances? The bigger they get, the more such Rube Goldberg arrangements risk war by the human inability to foresee all of the ramifications. Our newest ally, Georgia, is a burr on the Russian bear.

In 1914, the European alliances became a chain reaction. A Serbian terrorist assassinated the Austrian archduke, and Austria, with the backing of its ally Germany, responded by attacking Serbia. The Serbs being Slavic, the Russian czar felt compelled to order general mobilization, although he knew that meant war. The Germans saw the “Russian steamroller” cranking up and, according to plan, decided to attack first. The long-standing German plan required the invasion of Russia’s ally France by passage through Belgium, which was allied with Great Britain. The continent went up in flames.

We now know that the Serbian assassin was a member of the secret Black Hand organization funded by the Russian secret police, an organization that tended to engage in schemes of its own. Did the czar know that?



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