We can’t exactly say that the North Korean nuke test was a shock. They said they would do it; they’ve done it. And now nukes are in the hands of yet another power-mad, dangerously narcissistic dictatorship. (And no, the other one isn’t Pakistan. Or Israel. Or India.)
Tony Snow was on Sunday, claiming that the NKor test, thankfully conducted underground at least, was “a provocative act in defiance of the will of the international community” (apologies to those whose irony meters just exploded), and Il Duce himself had this to say.
Once again, North Korea has defied the will of the international community and the international community will respond.
Huh. This is a pretty big shift in rhetoric from the “damn the UN” attitude that’s been oozing from DC for the last half-decade, innit? Is it possible Bush has learned a little humility, realized that working with international allies is better, possibly even decided to be less bellicose?
The fact is that we’re stretched so thin now with Iraq and the rapidly-imploding meadow muffin that is Afghanistan that we can’t do anything about North Korea, any more than we could about Iran.
What happened to Bush’s fetish for unseating dictators suspected of having nonconventional weapons? We’ve known about Mr. Kim for quite some time — known his nation was almost certainly working on arming up with nukes — yet, for some reason, Iraq got fingered.
There are a lot of opinions as to why that happened; apart from the reasons, though — whatever they may be — we have the much deeper question of why Bush was allowed to be so fucking stupid to begin with. He’s clearly surrounded himself with lackeys and bootlicks; his cadre of yes-men and –women fill him with a confidence he does not deserve, has not earned, and should not have.
And you know what’s going to be happening now. Repub congressional candidates are going to be stumping about this one, blathering on about the need for a stronger, safer bla bla bla, suggesting that two more years of their “leadership” is what we’ll need to keep us safe from the terrible Yellow Menace.
Two more years of the same … will be precisely that. Are we safer now than we were five years ago? Are we a stronger, happier, more secure, more respected nation? Are our borders, airports and shipyards impermeable to would-be assassins?
But watch. Just watch the Repubs start their rhetoric. And here’s the answer to it.
Military officials* are all in agreement that the US armed forces are desperately overextended. We don’t have the soldiers, we don’t have the equipment, we don’t have the support systems. Far too much of Iraq was geared toward “privatization” — read war profiteering — with no attention paid to professional soldiers who knew the strategic risks going in, and who tried to warn Il Duce of the folly of his (and Rummy’s) slipshod planning and utter lack of foresight. Those professional soldiers were replaced by spineless cowards willing to kowtow, creatures as happy as the Republican congress to sell their nation out in the name of holding on to a little bit of personal power, gaining a little bit of personal status.
Meanwhile, while Bush obsessed on Iraq, Osman Bin Laden made good his escape, Afghanistan has destabilized and is now producing even more opium than it was before we attacked it; Iran is continuing to rattle sabres and we’re in no position to do anything about it; Pakistan has climbed into bed with the enemy; and now Kim Jong Il has a new and dangerous firecracker to play with. Il Duce’s fixation on one nation — which was never a serious threat to us to begin with — has allowed at least three other palpable, real dangers to flourish.
And that is how Democratic candidates need to speak to the people over the next thirty days. Foley and Bush, a deadly pair, have left the Republicans reeling. But if Dems remain silent on North Korea, the Repubs may find their feet and try to use the threat of Asian nukes to bully themselves back in office. However, if the argument is seized and inverted on them before they have a chance to start trumping up fear in the masses, it’s possible for the Dems to realize victories in areas that, so far, aren’t even believed to be in contention.
I realize this sounds partisan, but I don’t intend it to be. I don’t want the Dems in; I want the Repubs out. And in these situations, I’ll side with the enemy of my — of America’s — enemy.
Addendum: Watch China. We can’t do shit there. That will leave it up to Japan, South Korea and China to handle this. I’m willing to bet that the Chinese response will be well-received, and improve that nation’s status in the eyes of most of the rest of the world. Except, of course, in the US. By being unable to react, Bush has left the door open to the possibility of a sino-nipponese alliance; the entire politics of dealing with Asia will be utterly different by 2010.
* Rumsfeld, a career civilian, does not count as a “military official”.
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