I was puzzled by Joe Haldeman's prediction of United States troops in 1980's Lebanon when I read Forever War in Analog magazine circa 1970. I was impressed in 1982.
I was considering reasons to justify civilian ownership of semi-automatic rifles and think the United States might face troops from Mexico, China or both on United States territory in our lifetime.
Argentina had a territorial claim on the Falkland Islands based on sightings by French and Spanish navigators. The British had the stronger claim of colonization dating back to 1840 and were a nuclear power when Argentina invaded in 1982.
Mexico has claim to California, Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado and Texas based on prior colonization. Mexican maps as late as 1947 show those states as temporarily ceded.
Italy had a claim to Libya dating to the Roman Empire. The Ottoman Empire permitted Italian agrarian colonists to farm in Libya. When the Italian colonists complained of abuse, Italy invaded with armored cars and airplanes (at least one) in 1911.
Millions of Mexicans reside in the United States. Not everyone thinks of them as a fifth column, but I saw a lot of Mexican flags flying in the run-up to the 2016 Presidential elections. A few years earlier California had a Lieutenant Governor who was a member of La Raza.
Great Britain made a fortune selling opium to the Chinese in return for tea. Britain fought a couple opium wars in China to maintain opium sales, after China banned opium imports.
Mexican cartels sell hundreds of millions of dollars in drugs to the United States. These sales could be threatened by effective border enforcement or an end to the drug war by the United States.
A Mexican 'Bismarck' would have to unify the cartels (perhaps with the elected government) to invade the United States.
The other possibility is an oil hungry United States re-invading the Tampico region of Mexico, as we did for several months in 1914. My vision from the 1970's had our cavalry riding Cadillac mopeds.
China doesn't have much of a territorial claim but they have an interest in both there legal exports to the United States and their export of drug precursors to South America and Mexico. The United States of overdose deaths is 90,000 a year. There is also the rivalry over the Pacific, beginning with Taiwan.
China has a larger navy than the United States and is a nuclear power. The Chinese merchant marine includes 1,200-foot container ships that can cross the Pacific in five days. The Chinese not only have a larger population (1,300 million to 300 million) but also have a surplus male population numbering in the tens of millions thanks to sex preferential abortions.
Lastly, a 1970's study found China to have enough water to feed 500 million people indefinitely. One possible answer would be to open up North America for Chinese colonization. Given Chinese infiltration of the United States political class, this could even begin peacefully.
I am not predicting these wars will happen but they are plausible concerns that justify civilian armament.
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Rick Kester is a Viet Nam era veteran living in Northern California with his wife Nancy.