(Dec. 7) Japanese Adm. Isoroku Yamamoto never actually said he worried his nation had “awakened a sleeping giant ” when it attacked Pearl Harbor 80 years ago in Hawaii. History should teach other foreign entities the wisdom of that apocryphal concern.

The United States may seem torn by political and cultural division these days; yet this sleeping giant surely will not just awaken but unify and rally with awe-inspiring effectiveness if our homeland or direct assets are ever attacked again. Thus it always has been, and thus it shall be.

If Japan had been content in 1941 to consolidate its gains from a decade of conquest, rather than continuing to try to subjugate other nations such as Australia, it surely would not have felt the need to eliminate the U.S. as a threat to its designs. With its brutal military government having no such compunctions, however, it tried a knockout blow that failed. That failure occurred not because the U.S. was well prepared (it wasn’t), but because Americans are so innately capable of wielding righteous might when provoked.

The American colonies, disparate as they were, united when provoked by a British government that did not live up to its own admirable proto-republican standards. The U.S. responded to repeated German attacks that sank U.S. merchant ships by entering World War I, decisively ending that stalemate. The U.S., of course, responded to Pearl Harbor with a mighty mobilization, defeating both Japan and Nazi Germany. And while the U.S. military lost its way eventually in Afghanistan and Iraq, that came only after it had tracked down and obliterated the 9/11 sponsors and their international terror network.

In the first three of those examples, the people of these states (or colonies) were woefully underprepared militarily, yet they prevailed. After 9/11, when our military for once was strong from the start, not only did the U.S. hobble al Qaeda, but it also ousted the evil Saddam Hussein from power, forced Libya’s Moammar Gadhafi to turn over his arms and eliminate his more-advanced-than-we-knew nuclear program, undermined the A.Q. Khan nuclear network, and helped create the conditions for a broadening Middle East peace …. [The full column is here.]


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