Monday, June 26, 2006

Where to, Senator Chamberlain?

Who's ready for a lecture? (Or at least, a long "entry"? It's been a while. I've got stuff to say.)

In late 1941, the Empire of Japan was busily conducting direct negotiations with the United States over several matters of dispute; by this time, Japan had already overrun much of China, was fighting British and Commonwealth troops elsewhere in Asia, and was poised to invade much of the South Pacific. Japan claimed to desire peace in its dealings – direct talks, mind you – with the United States, but as we all know this was a grand deception: Even as Japanese diplomats stalled for time in Washington, Tokyo planned for war. The ultimate result was the surprise Japanese attack on the U.S. Pacific Fleet at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii on Sunday, December 7, 1941.

On that Day of Infamy, 2,471 people were killed - 2,403 servicemen (1,177 on the U.S.S. Arizona alone), and 68 civilians.

For the record, 2,986 lives were lost as a result of the surprise Islamic terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001.

2,595 were killed in the Twin Towers or during/after their collapse; 92 people were on board American Airlines Flight 11 (crashed into the North Tower); 65 people were on United Airlines Flight 175 (crashed into the South Tower); 125 people died who worked at the Pentagon; 64 people were on board American Airlines Flight 77 (crashed into the Pentagon); 44 people were on United Airlines Flight 93, which, because of the bravery of passengers on the plane and the cowardice of the hijackers, crashed into a field near Shanksville, Pennsylvania instead of, it is believed, the Capitol or the White House.

Now it’s 2006.

Did you hear the news? The Chairman of the Senate’s Foreign Relations Committee, Richard Lugar of Indiana; the number two on that committee, Republican Senator Chuck Hagel of Nebraska; Republican Senator John Warner of Virginia; and Senator Joseph Biden, a Democrat from Delaware, are urging the Bush Administration to open direct talks with North Korea in order to diffuse the ongoing crisis over the potential launch of a Taepodong-2 missile from that nation. The Taepodong-2 is a missile that could potentially place the western United States in range of North Korea’s claimed nuclear arsenal in the not-too-distant future (from what I saw, it could potentially reach even the Midwest. In any case, family and friends in California and Arizona, take note).

I certainly hope that Vice President Cheney…sorry, President Bush…doesn’t follow their advice (Cheney talks a lot for a VP, easy to get confused sometimes as to who the decision maker is).

Do Senators Lugar, Hagel, Warner and Biden think that appeasement should be the policy of the United States? When a diminutive bully like North Korea fuels-up a missile and says “Talk directly with us, or else we’ll launch this”, are these Senate Foreign Relations Committee members of the opinion that America should just fall in line with the demands of Pyongyang – even if North Korea only fueled the missile in order to make the United States bow to its demands as part of a major bluff?

Whatever happened to America standing up for itself on the world stage? Do the Senators no longer feel that it is appropriate for the United States to stand firm in the face of a dictatorship’s unreasonable, wholly unjustifiable demands? Do the Senators wish to simply let North Korea get away with thumbing its nose at six-party talks with the U.S., China, Japan, South Korea and Russia? Remember, North Korea has already broken previous agreements with the international community – thus, it already cannot be trusted to keep its word. And yet these Senators think it is wise to talk directly with Pyongyang?

Do you think that the Iranian clerics in charge in Teheran are not watching this situation with keen interest? Do you think if the U.S. accedes to North Korean demands, the terrorist-sponsoring Iranians will not gain a significant amount of confidence – and, I daresay, even arrogance – in their own dealings with the U.S., Germany, France and United Kingdom regarding the Islamic Republic’s nuclear research? When a state-sponsor of Islamic extremism and terrorism of the type that spawned and carried out the 9/11 attacks, Iran, says “We’re going to enrich uranium on our own soil, just accept it and give us what we want while you’re at it”, is that what the United States should do?

Heck, I bet you the Iranians are cheering the North Koreans on right now…especially since they can no longer cheer on their national team at the World Cup in Germany (yes, yes, the U.S. didn’t do well either).

North Korea is, I have no doubt, ruled by a villainous government, and whether it has nuclear weapons or is engaging in a seriously dangerous deception about them doesn’t matter; such despotic regimes as theirs should be reminded that they are in no position to make demands. In my opinion, since such governments as North Korea’s are illegitimate, oppressive of their people, and callous toward civilized norms, they do not have the authority to make demands of any democracy, let alone the most powerful nation on the planet. Are these Senators afraid of confronting an alleged nuclear power? Are they afraid of putting the defenses of America and her allies to the test?

Are they afraid of failure? Do these Senators fear that spread amongst Iraq, Afghanistan and around the world, in an age when it is hard to provide disaster relief in the Homeland, much less conduct a war abroad, the combined forces of the United States are no match for “Dear Leader” Kim Jong-Il and his Korean People’s Army? Do they fear the end of the U.S.-South Korea alliance?

Are these three Senate Republicans and one Senate Democrat averse to the United States taking decisive action to show rogue, evil nations – I’m talking about the governments, here, not branding North Koreans or all Iranians as evil – that no brinkmanship of any kind will be tolerated, for the sake of not only America’s existence but also for the sake of all of freedom-loving humanity? Should America simply back down before the bullies of the world? Do we no longer feel that ours is the moral high ground in confrontations with nations like the (anything but) Democratic People’s Republic of Korea? Are we so weakly positioned that, again, we cannot hope to stand our ground when faced with a challenge from a small Stalinist state in Asia?

It is within the great power of the United States, and therefore it is America’s responsibility, to not let North Korea get away with exactly the type of thing that the respected Senators advocating direct talks with North Korea are urging President George W. Bush to, essentially, let the North get away with.

What point is there to having this amount of power and influence to do good in the world and represent the interests of the Free World, if we will not use it even in diplomatic crises, and especially against those who would like to see us – our lives, our system, our way of life – dead and buried?

Did the lessons of the 1930s teach today’s leaders nothing? Do we look to the memory and mistakes of former British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain for guidance on what to do, or what not to do? (Keep in mind, I think the Prime Minister meant well).

Give Hitler the Sudetenland, he’ll take all of Czechoslovakia…and Poland, too. And heck, why not Belgium, France and the Netherlands? Give Kim Jong-Il an inch, he’ll demand a mile. And then, he’ll want South Korea. Give Teheran a mile, the Iranians will burn certain other countries off the map – and get away with it, if the sort of policy Senators Lugar, Hagel, Warner and Biden advocate is adopted by the rest of the U.S. government. I fully admit that I could be wrong...but direct talks with North Korea at this moment in time I think will end up being a bad, bad idea in the long run.

If one day, the U.S. and North Korea engage in direct talks, let it be after Pyongyang returns to the table with America, the Russians, the South Koreans, the Chinese and the Japanese. Let the North Koreans give something before we give something back. Better yet, let them open up more before we really open direct talks with them. I'd sooner open direct talks with Cuba than North Korea.

This is not demagoguery I’m trying to spread here; I’m simply bringing attention to a dangerous pattern, the end results of which can be easily guessed. It is common sense – you give bullies like these what they want, bullies with no respect for human rights or democracy, and they’ll ask for more. Much more. Give in once, and any leverage you have flies out the window. Surely these men, these United States Senators, elected by the people of their states, understand that? They serve on the Foreign Relations Committee, after all. That makes them qualified experts, right? Um. No.

It may be unwise, at this juncture, to simply launch an attack on the missile site. There are complications, yes, and there is a need to differentiate North Korean civilians from the military and government. But we should not suffer the delusion that military force is an alternative to diplomacy in this, or any other matter.

The use of military force is a tool of diplomacy, along with negotiations. Whether by itself, or to give teeth to the words and demands of a nation’s leaders and diplomats, military force is a perfectly legitimate foreign policy tool. It should not be disregarded or abandoned – if you tell an evil government to back down, do you really think they will listen to you without some sign you mean business? Unfortunately, in our age warfare is still a necessity. And in this case, in lieu of actual military action at the moment, forceful words – urging North Korea to cancel any Taepodong-2 test launch and return to the six-party talks, not direct talks – should not be abandoned either. Forceful words are a legitimate tool of diplomacy, too.

If a fellow is to blink in this conflict, let it be the oppressive dictatorship. Not the government of the United States of America. If they wanted our attention, they have it. Let us show them what it means to call America’s attention to yourself, once the United States have been challenged by you. Yes, that was a plural by the way. A deliberate “have”.

It doesn't really matter how far the Taepodong-2 can or cannot reach. What matters is how we deal with North Korea, launch or no launch. It is a member of the Axis of Evil, after all. If you don't think North Korea deserves such a label as "evil"...I'd say your moral compass needs replacing.

In the meantime, I thought we were in it for the long haul; apparently, many of our leaders are into giving up when the going gets tough…or rather, when a pint-sized bully gets tough with us. U.S. Senators advocating such a dangerous and worrisome policy shift to the White House, at this inappropriate point in time, leads me to want to say one final thing:

This wasn’t the first time appeasement has been suggested, and it certainly won’t be the last.

If ever that suggestion is followed…God help us, and the rest of the Free World.



1 comment:

Montie said...

Good column!!! Although I must take issue with the Cheney comment...I like him but I don't think he makes the decisions...good bad or indifferent I do believe that the President makes his own...not withstanding the advice from Dick and Condi!

It is scary that appeasement seems to be the cool new idea on the block...I would venture to say most people don't even get the Chamberlain reference....sad huh?

But you are dead on with your assessment.

Off the subject, but not really, I have been watching the goings on in your little spot in the world and get the shivers...very scary.

Michael Medved is broadcasting from Jerusalem this week and last I think. He was at the Western Wall with his son praying for the young soldier who has been taken prisoner. Makes my heart very heavy. In my prayers too.

On a lighter note...I like the looks of the blog...nice graphics!

Catch you later...oh by the are in my prayers too.