Thursday, August 10, 2017

Wishing we, the people, could pick up a history book every now and then

I don’t doubt that North Korea leader Kim Jong-un has a screw or two loose in his
Wishing this were just a debate ...
mindset – he may very well believe his place in history is to be the guy who gives the “go” order that unleashes a nuclear weapon on a city or two within the United States.

Although when I hear our nation’s president, Donald J. Trump, spew out rhetoric about “fire and fury” being unleashed against North Korea, it makes me wonder which world leader’s instability is more likely to cause the problem?
... over who has the sillier haircut?

AND I DON’T particularly care if such rhetoric plays well with the 46 percent of the U.S electorate that actually voted for Trump to be president. That only proves our overall ignorance of history and world events.

For all I know, Trump may well want to give the order to unleash an attack on some part of the world so as to enhance his credentials as a world leader in the same way that Kim thinks he’s appeasing the rest of the world by saying he’d only consider use of nuclear weapons on the United States.

I also don’t doubt that Trump’s rhetoric is being played in such a way that Kim is making sure everybody currently trapped into living within North Korea thinks that Trump is the ultimate demon who is threatening to annihilate their country.

Similar to how Fidel Castro had a generation of Cubans thinking the reason their nation had become so impoverished was because of generations of U.S. presidents imposing imperialist policies through the trade embargo that in the end wound up depriving our nation of economic opportunities more than it hurt Cuba.
Kim trying to top Fidel on crazy scale? Image provided by Library of Congress collection
YES, I’M VIEWING this whole situation developing between the United States and the nation with which we technically have been at war with for nearly seven decades with some trepidation. Although the broadcast pundits who now are spewing cheap talk that we’re approaching a sequel to the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962 may be overstating it.

We’re not there, yet. Although I’m wondering if the cooler heads who need to prevail for such a situation to never develop will wind up being drowned out by the nonsense talk of Trump and Kim.

I heard one such pundit make a comment Wednesday about how it is possible that U.S. military interests could “take” North Korea in a fight. It’s just a matter of how much carnage we’re willing to put up with, and how much we’re willing to sacrifice South Korea (our ally and a nation in which we have a military presence) in the process.

I think too many people are willing to ignore that last aspect, even though they shouldn’t.

BECAUSE IF WE want to be realistic, we would have “taken” North Korea a long time ago if it were at all practical. But the fact that China would not want to see a reunified Korea if it means that the part of it historically allied with itself were seen as the “loser.”

And I definitely don’t want to see a situation where we have a U.S./China conflict provoked by a long-forgotten military conflict of the early 1950s. Cold War politicking has the potential to create too many headaches.

Yes, I use the phrase “long-forgotten” to describe the Korean conflict because I really don’t believe most people have a clue about it. They either get it confused with the later actions in Vietnam, or they think it’s something about hospitals and “M*A*S*H” on television.
NOT what Korea was about!

Which means they’re dredging up comical images of actor Jamie Farr in his Scarlet O’Hara dress or swinging a purse while carrying a rifle on guard duty.

CERTAINLY NOT AN image with any bearing in reality. And certainly not one that should be taken into account by anybody with a hand in setting our public policy.

Which is why I do take some comfort in the comments of people like Defense Secretary Jim Mattis who says North Korea needs to “stand down” in its desire to get a usable nuclear weapon. We can only hope that such sensibilities prevail, and that fantasies of South Korean military troops marching in to Pyongyang to occupy the capital of the North do not.

It reminds me of a professor I had in college who liked to say of Harry Truman’s use of atomic weapons to end the Second World War that it was “Harry Truman 2, Rest of the World 0.”

I’d hate to think that we’re headed for a day when his line will have to be amended to read “Truman 2, Kim 1 and Trump 1.”


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