Friday, August 11, 2017

The End of the Road

Honestly we have been kicking the can down the road with North Korea since the Truman Presidency. Truman’s firing of General MacArthur who wanted to expand the war with China and some say wanted to use nuclear weapons was the first step in a line of Presidents who just didn’t want to provoke conflict with China and in later years feared actual retaliation from North Korea against our allies in the region. We have known they have been in pursuit of nuclear weapons since the Clinton Presidency. Each President since, both Democrat and Republican has at best slowed or delayed the inevitable. But we are near the end of the road of kicking the can. 

Or are we? I have to admit, after the Iraq debacle (both the intelligence prior to the war and the war planning dismantling their police), that has cost us trillions of dollars, thousand of lives and the creation of ISIS, I am skeptical about information I hear from intelligence sources. Now some people say to me, Jay why aren’t you skeptical about intelligence sources about Russia interfering in the election? The reason I am not, is that there seems at least to be corroborating evidence in that instance. The President during the campaign publicly asked for Russia’s help in hacking Hilary Clinton. Don Jr.’s meeting with the Russians, Flynn and Manafort taking money from Russians, and Don Jr. publicly stating that Russians are their bankers. Enough digression though. What would be the purpose of such a distortion of information to bring us to the brink of war? With our other wars slowing up, Is the military industrial complex looking for a new war?  Or is it the evangelicals who are trying to create an apocalypse to bring about the return of Jesus?  Possibly a mutual interest of the two combined. 

Clearly North Korea has been launching rockets though (I do believe half of what I see) so I assume even without nuclear weapons, they are rattling their Sabres. To what purpose though? What is their underlying motive? I sort of liken it to Amazon losing money year after year after year until they finally drove others out of business and now they are reaping large rewards. I could argue that capitalism in its roots leads towards destruction (such as book stores). But I don’t have time for such a digression. North Korea has been supposedly starving their people to build up their military. What do they hope to gain? I don’t know, and that is what perplexes me. They would gain significantly more financially by agreeing to not build weapons, then to build and use weapons. This is why I was thought our attack on Libya was so short sighted and self defeating. We promised Khadafi if he gave up his nuclear ambitions we would leave him in power. Then we reneged on that agreement. Why would North Korea (NK) trust us if we agreed to a similar deal. I thought about what if we just accept NK into the world to avoid war. If we do, the fear would be of course that they would build up their arsenal of weapons with increased money flowing into the country. Ideally they would have to accept ongoing monitoring. However they have shown no willingness to negotiate and no willingness to keep to previous agreements.  If NK brings these threats to fruition, it will certainly lead to their destruction. 

This brings me to China. China’s support is the reason that North Korea has been able to continue with this for so long. They must know that any conflict would adversely affect them and their economy (as well as the world economy). North Korea was a pawn for China, but now it seems the pawn has made to the other side of the board and is being exchanged for another piece that can cause real damage. Initially China’s motive was to place a wedge between them and Russia and the US on the peninsula. How would China react if we launched a Preemptive  attack against North Korea? Whose interest is that in? Maybe Russia’s interest. 

Which brings me to Trump. China has been in Trump’s crosshairs for a long time. Is he using this provocation as a way to ultimately hurt China and help Russia? If we are fighting China, Russia benefits. This also leads to questions about whether Trump is being manipulated by Russia.  Trump has used aggressive language towards North Korea. If I thought he was a strategic thinker I might say he is playing good cop/bad cop, as a way to bring them to the negotiating table and let them get their payday. Sadly though, based on his previous actions I don’t see Trump as a Strategic thinker.Perhaps NK will fear that Trump is truly unhinged and unpredictable and that will bring them to the table to negotiate. That is what Trump is counting on.  If NK drops a bomb somewhere, we would be forced to respond. We could not use nuclear weapons because of its effect on all the surrounding countries and fear of escalating nuclear war. We could respond militarily, without nuclear weapons,.  This will be hard and it will be devastating to the region and thus devastating to the world. So it comes down to whether China can have any control over NK. It is time for China to sacrifice its pawn NK. 

The game that started 70 some odd years ago it coming to an end. Let us hope it is not the end for us all. None of this really makes sense. Madmen to the left of me, Madmen to the right of me. Here I am, just trying to make the world a better place for all. I am not naïve about the evil in the world, But also not naïve about our own military industrial complex that spreads violence throughout the world. I am hopeful that calmer heads will prevail. 

We seem to not be bothered how many people will die if this escalates as long as it doesn’t touch our country. But it does affect our country in so many ways. We saw that on 9-11. We saw that in Charlotte, NC and in the streets of our cities. The ongoing cycle of hatred and violence affects us and seeps into our consciousness and becomes part of our culture. Violence has always been a part of the American Culture since its founding. How we treated the native American population, slavery, the “wild” west. The question is do we evolve as people and a nation or do we continue with destruction which will lead to our own self destruction. 

Our actions have consequences.  I just want us to think that there is always a third way. It does not have to be capitulation or destruction. I ask us to think about not just how to get out of this mess but how we got into it. When we avoid conflict, it usually just builds up. If by avoiding it, we can use the time to build better relationships, and to grow closer that would be worthwhile. But usually it just builds up until it explodes. There are ways to have conflict without violence. I know I have come to no conclusions. It is confusing because we really don’t know the facts about the situation. Just what we are being fed by the media. We try to piece it together, but we have only partial pictures and hazy visions. This is where the lack of trust in government wears us down. But who else do we have? For a start let us  put people in government we can trust. It is a myth to think we can control the outcome of what happens. A lot depends on China, a lot depends on North Korea. A lot depends on us. 

What are we going to do. What are you going to do. Do we wait until the bombs are falling on us to get engaged in political dialogue about we want to be as a nation. It will be too late then. We need to start talking now. We need to start taking positive actions now.  It is one reason why I do what I do. I am re-committing myself to build a justice seeking community that respects each others differences, that builds relationships and seeks to understand the underlying needs of each person. I hope it can be a model for the world. Please join me in working towards this end.