Seventy Years After Pearl Harbor 1941: Expect the Unexpected from Adversaries
Those 18-20 year old men in 1941 experienced America's first shock and awe from Japan, who at that time, concealed its own ambitions and feelings well. America had cut off its oil supply line to a large extent, yet, peace discussions continued on with its ambassador long before Pearl Harbor. It was a ploy to buy time for Japan's leaders had already decided to attack Hawaii and needed time to train and prepare. Most Americans had no clue about this and most Japanese in the US had no clue. The World War was a European problem with Hitler up to then. That was the common thought from President down to a common worker. The US was protected by a two vast oceans. We were just recovering from a major financial crisis, World War 1 had been over for 20 years. America's military had been downsizing to save money. The need simply was not there it was thought. The government wanted to bring troops home from remote locations. Then, 353 Japanese aircraft descended on Pearl Harbor and ravaged America's Pacific Fleet. That was Shock and Awe then. America just did not think it would or could be done. After all, Japan was talking peace up until the very end.
Today, we are in a similar situation even after the terrorist attack of 9\11 in NYC, which killed more than at Pearl Harbor. America is sick of two wars-Afghanistan and Iraq. These wars have an echo from Vietnam, another ghost in America's closet. We are still in a equally dangerous financial crisis as in the 1930's and pulling our military back home to save money. We still have the two vast oceans protecting us. While the mindset is not quite the same, it is similar to that as in 1941. There are rumors of peace, yet actions speak louder than words.
Now, there is Iran. The new adversary to the West. Are they or are they not acquiring the nuclear bomb? If you think not, then there are no worries. If you think they are, there are big worries of a regional war happening within the next six months. It is a damned if you do, damned if you don't situation. If Israel attacks, the spark will set off the region and the West should be prepared, not surprised, by any reaction Iran or its proxies does and swiftly counter it. Delay can cause more problems. Anticipating your enemy's moves is the best way to defeat it.
Pearl Harbor was a tough lesson. Ditto for 9\11.