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Wednesday, May 26, 2010

To Actual Diplomacy

Thomas Lindaman writes:

Remember when Democrats belittled George W. Bush's "cowboy diplomacy" in dealing with foreign countries who wish to do us harm?

You mean that country he went to war with that never threatened us?

Remember when Democrats heralded Barack Obama's Presidency as a chance to restore respect for us in the world?

Yes, I seem to remember that.

Now, take a look at the news. South Korea reported that North Korean leader Kim Jong Il may have authorized a torpedo attack on a South Korean warship. Even with the long-standing problems between these two countries, this is an act of war. With South Korea being our allies and North Korea being one of the countries involved in international terrorism, the question becomes how America under Obama will react.

Wait for it... wait for it...

My guess? Not so well.

What a shocker!

For all of his vaunted intelligence and the foreign policy expertise of Hillary Clinton (or maybe it's because of it), I don't see Obama casting that wide a berth on the world stage. As I've stated in a previous blog, the world seems to regard Obama as a little boy playing dress-up in his daddy's clothes.

Yeah, and you based it on absolutely nothing.

At a time when our allies need to know that we have their backs, having a President that seems to be fresh out of new employee orientation isn't all that reassuring.

For all the knocks against "cowboy diplomacy," you have to admit it worked. Our allies and our enemies knew where we stood.

They sure did:

It really pisses you right-wingers off that America doesn't look as retarded now to other countries, doesn't it? Well, maybe you should stop supporting people like this as the saving grace of the GOP.

With Obama, I get the impression that he's trying to placate our enemies and inconvenience our allies as a means to level the playing field for everyone. That's the kind of diplomacy that kept the Cold War escalating for decades until another "cowboy," Ronald Reagan, decided to treat the Soviet Union like enemies, not as an entity that deserved to be on equal footing with us. That shift in approach, which the Left incorrectly said would usher in World War III, ultimately worked. The Soviet Union fell, the threat of global nuclear war diminished greatly, and the Left still didn't learn the lesson of diplomacy without consideration to our interests.

Um... I think you have Reagan mixed up with somebody else. But that's okay, since Reagan was pretty mixed up, too.

And now, we're going back to making the same mistakes we made prior to Reagan. The world doesn't respect us; it either mocks us or turns us into the source of all evil. Obama isn't changing the hearts and minds of anyone except our allies, and it's not going to end well.

Ah, yes. Gotta pull out the talking point: "This is bad news... for Obama!"

With a more forceful tone towards North Korea, could Obama have made Kim Jong Il think twice? Absolutely. It's only when America shows weakness that people like Kim Jong Il push the envelope as they do, and as long as we have leaders who are willing to put up with it, they'll continue to push. But when we show we're willing to push back hard, they get quiet fast.

So, tell me again why cowboy diplomacy is bad and the Obama style of diplomacy is good.

We don't have to respond to the incident, that's why. We weren't attacked. We'll back up South Korea, but we aren't going to start a war with North Korea because South Korea was attacked.

It's the same game the idiot right-wingers played with Iraq: "Oh, look! The UN (which Conservatives usually don't give a shit about) has sanctioned Iraq! Time and again Iraq has ignored the warnings of the UN (tee-hee), so we must now act to back up the action of that (*cough*) noble international body." Just because Bush and Reagan sometimes wore hats, it doesn't make them cowboys.

The reason that South Korea doesn't want a way with the North is that they would end up having to slaughter a large number of Koreans (mainly on the Communist side) to win. It would happen quickly but the North Korean army literally has nothing to live for and nothing to lose. It's a modern version of the Children's Crusade waiting to happen.

North Korea has been screwing with South Korea on a regular basis since the cease-fire started more than 50 years ago. There are all kinds of incidents that never get reported. Most of the time, these things occur for local PR value or for intelligence gathering. For example, North Korea will overfly ROK air space to test the radars and response of UN and ROK forces.

Every now and then, one of these big newspaper-worthy incidents like the torpedo will occur because North Korea feels the world isn't paying enough attention to it. It's saber rattling. North Korea doesn't have the resources necessary to sustain an all-out war, but its egotistical leaders don't want to acknowledge that fact. They pull stunts like this to get attention and to bolster their propaganda at home. Behind the scenes, of course, they negotiate for whatever assistance they can get. The country is desperately poor and starving and will eventually collapse on its own. South Korea will be there to welcome it back when it happens. Until then, these stupid "incidents" will continue to occur just as they have for decades.

Funny how the GOP ducked the Korean nuclear program when they were readying a war in Iraq. But now that we have a Democrat in the White House, now they're like "US involvement in a military action against North Korea is essential to gaining a tactical foot hold in the area. We need to set ourselves up for the inevitable invasion of China. Going toe to toe in a ground war against China definitely seems like the way to go. 1.3 billion Chinese against the 17,000 troops we have in South Korea!"

But seriously, we shouldn't go after North Korea for this. It's better to wait out Dear Leader, and see what happens when he dies.

The Conservatives just want Obama to make a costly blunder, since he hasn't made any yet. It's not like the right-wingers would pick up a rifle. It'd be Operation Yellow Elephant II: GOP Boogaloo.