Friday, September 19, 2008

On Force and Diplomacy

You make one fatal assumption, however. You believe that the North Koreans would believe that we would actually attack them. There's no way we would, right now. Maybe 10 years ago they would have believed us capable, when we weren't involved in Iraq and Afghanistan, but there's no way now.

I am not against diplomacy backed up by force (you do need carrots to go along with those sticks, though). The worry by you conservatives would be, of course, you have to be willing to actually use that force when push comes to shove. I might have said some contradictory things before, but I do believe that force is sometimes necessary. You just have to know when to limit it. I believe that the invasion of Grenada, the invasion of Panama, the first Gulf War, and Clinton's Operation Desert Fox were all necessary and carried out well. We did not occupy for five years and we only took down the government when we knew what we were getting into - we knew our limits.

I hate to sound like that liberal that always goes back to blaming Bush, but: Bush did not know his limits. He unnecessarily invaded Iraq, which took away press, money, supplies, troops, and most importantly public attention away from Afghanistan. Maybe we could have launched airstrikes in Iraq. Maybe that would have been acceptable; however, overthrowing the Hussein regime took it to far. And Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld and Co. didn't even do it well! The occupation of Iraq was a failure.

Anyway, I'm getting a little side tracked. My point is this: negotiations carried out with the threat of force are always great, as long as you know your limits.

So: how about in 10 years, when we're out of Iraq and Afghanistan (I can't wait), we settle down and talk to those Russians. Tell them, hey, you invade Germany from your newly established bases in conquered Poland - we'll kick your ass.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Rationality Wins in Israel

BBC: Livni claims victory in Israeli vote

This is great. Livni, by far, seems like the smartest, most rational of the candidates presented to Kadima voters. However, the fight is not yet over: early parliamentary elections could mean far right leader Benjamin Netanyahu could take power. This would be disastrous. Netanyahu has a record of being a hardliner not willing to make compromises.

I'll try to elaborate more tomorrow.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

North Korean Policy After Kim Jong Il

AP: Officials: N Korea's Kim Possibly Ill
LA Times: North Korea's Kim Jong Il may have had a stroke: U.S. intelligence officials

Kim Jong-Il, the eccentric dictator of North Korea, has suffered a stroke, according to information leaked to the AP from American intelligence officials. Now, let’s keep in mind some context: negotiations on the North’s nuclear weapon program were beginning to get rocky: North Korea had begun to stall on its end of the deal. Could this be a political move? And if not, how will this affect the denuclearization process?

Watching the military
North Korea does not have a succession mechanism in place. Kim was the obvious pick after his father died, but there is no obvious heir for succeeding Kim. His death could lead to the collapse of his regime.

It is more likely, however, that with the death of Kim, the military will take power. That’s bad new for the West: the North Korean military is strongly against giving up its nuclear program.

What can the U.S. do
It is always possible (and maybe likely) Kim is still alive. Our current policy run by Christopher Hill should continue until death is confirmed or denied. With any new leaders, a wait-and-see approach should be adopted: will they be reformers?

All we can do is wait.