Then he thought about it, and then he didn’t do it.
But this time he has done it – for now anyway.
Love him or hate him there is one thing for sure – a Presidential campaign with Donald Trump fully committed is going to be a lot more entertaining than one with Sarah (what day of the week is it?) Palin, Jeb (not another one) Bush, or even Hillary (no, really I’m not lying) Clinton.
Donald Trump’s show of wealth for some may sometimes border on the vulgar, but he is the personification of the American success story. He’s made a fortune, and more than once.
But is Trump equipped to be President?
Or perhaps a more appropriate question, is Trump better equipped to be President that the other hopefuls?
Whatever way you phrase the question I think the answer has to be ‘Yes’ he is better equipped. Not that that says a lot when you look at the other contenders.
Trump has made his own way in life, done deals, hired and fired, negotiated hard, got value for his money, and done a lot of it in New York City which is not the easiest place to succeed in real estate.
Contrast that with some of the other would-be’s who have spent much of their lives as the political mouth pieces for whoever could pay them the most.
Trump is also an entertainer and a man full of charisma – you know when he has walked into a room.
He and his name are also well known, which is a very big plus in an election. It means that he can and will appeal to conservatives like himself (tough on foreign policy, pro-NRA, pro-business and jobs, etc), but also to undecided and independent voters in much the same way as Ronald Reagan was able to do.
He also has the money to fund his own campaign if he chooses to do so. It is a big plus both for him and for people thinking of voting for him. Trump will not have to end up in anyone’s pocket post-election and he can start his campaign right away rather than waste time accumulating vast war chests of cash.
He’ll also find that he will have to spend less than the others to get his message out there. He won’t have to pay millions to get on to TV because when the people want to hear what he has to say the media simply cannot ignore him.
Trump is also used to getting his own way and used to winning. His ego is huge and won’t allow him to approach the battle half-heartedly.
He’s also got an attractive wife, more reminiscent of Jackie Kennedy than some of the frumps we have had to put up with before and since. But I suppose that is a sexist remark these days and should be disregarded – although believe me it won’t be by the voters.
Trump’s detractors will be both vociferous and numerous. The GOP hopefuls , mostly a collection of Senators and Governors, will not like him stealing whatever little thunder they may think they have. The Democrats, especially Hillary will be cursing the fact that the GOP has someone who can cast a very big media shadow over them. And a lot of the pseudo-intellectuals who commentate on things political will poke fun at Trump, although it will be a tough job for them to find a better equipped candidate in either party.
All in all then a presidential election with Trump involved is a much better prospect than one without him.
That doesn’t mean he’ll be the next President.
It doesn’t even mean he will win the nomination.
But it does mean that we have more fun finding out who will do both those things.
Trump has about another two weeks to file his papers with the Federal Elections Commission to make his candidacy official. Let’s hope he really does run this time, he’s going to look pretty silly now if he doesn’t.
As I said earlier, more than anything else Trump is an entertainer.
I wrote a short post the other day on the subject of failure. I think it was a success 🙂
What hasn’t been a success, however, is America’s foreign policy. I’ve also written about this many times in the past. I find it very annoying that a country as great as America and with so many brilliant people within it can neither elect a smart politician, or even a not so smart politician but one who has enough brains to hire smart advisers.
The current President, Barack Obama, has continued the trend of failure. Particularly with regard to foreign policy, at which he has not only failed but added indecision and procrastination to the mix.
The examples are many, but the latest foreign policy debacle is the leading role America has taken in the imposition of sanctions against Russia. Sanctions that may have been aimed against Russia but which are already starting to backfire against the US.
I noted in another post that sanctions have been imposed in regard to Russian oil and natural gas, which Europe (particularly Germany and France) needs, but America doesn’t; but that the sanctions were not imposed on nuclear fuels, which America does need.
Believe me, the hypocrisy of that has not been lost on the European governments or its public.
And the hypocrisy does not end there.
On the one hand there have been hyped up media statements telling everyone that Rosneft, Russia’s largest oil company, and its head Igor Sechin, have been targeted in the sanctions.
But what hasn’t been trumpeted so loudly is the fact that British oil company BP, owns almost 20% of Rosneft, and has confirmed that it would not be severing ties with the Russian firm.
Similarly, Norway’s Statoil is continuing its partnership with Rosneft to search for oil in the Norwegian section of the Barents Sea.
And France’s major oil and gas company, Total, has announced that it is seeking financing for its next gas project in – where else? – Russia. When they get that financing, amounting to something in the region of $27 billion, it will be in Roubles or maybe even Yuan, but certainly not in US dollars – again thanks to the ill thought out sanctions.
This will set a trend for similar deals that will also exclude the US dollar, inevitably lowering its standing as the world’s reserve currency. I expect more such deals to be done with the Russians by German companies in particular as the sanctions fail to bring the promised results and as a consequence start to fall apart.
But it gets worse.
Before any of the US Senators or Congressmen stand up and start to call names at the Brits or the Norwegians or the French for backtracking on sanctions, they would be better to take a look nearer home.
It now seems that American Companies are not paying attention to the sanctions either.
For example, ExxonMobil, America’s largest oil company, has continued drilling offshore in the Russian Arctic, also with Rozneft.
If the sanctions were anything more than a bit of public posturing by Obama, ExxonMobil shouldn’t (and wouldn’t) be doing any more work with the Russians in Russia. But using the excuse that it is environmentally safer to complete the well than to allow the Russians to do it alone, ExxonMobil got permission to continue.
No doubt the company will express its gratitude when the next round of electioneering fund raising comes along! (Gosh, I’m such a cynic!)
Now, if Obama and his advisers had thought for a moment about the consequences of sanctions, they would have realized that, in cases like this, companies such as ExxonMobile had not really got a choice. If they hadn’t continued to work with Rozneft, the Russian company would simply have gone ahead without them with a consequent dilution of ExxonMobile’s return if/when the well is a success.
In addition to that, if the Russian company did need other help you can be sure there would have been a Chinese energy company there ready and willing and eager to take up the slack.
Whilst Obama and his predecessors have been blundering around the world pissing off friend and foe alike, the strategy of the Russian President has been to cultivate new friends and thereby new markets and customers for his country’s vast energy reserves.
It has been a clever move.
Sanctions or not, game to Putin this time I think.
I’ve been saying it for a long time – and now the President of the United States agrees with me – he doesn’t know WTF he’s doing!
I can’t say as I take much satisfaction from his admission though.
The US President is the most powerful man in the world and he has at his disposal the most powerful military organization in the world.
Yet he doesn’t know what to do with it, when to do it, or even who to aim it at!
A bit of it, belatedly and half-heartedly, is now pointing at ISIS targets in Iraq and Syria. Yes, you’re right, they are the very same Islamic terrorists he was funding for a while in Syria! He says he wasn’t, but in practice he was.
You should be.
Because the Obama Administration certainly is!
Indeed Obama’s team of idiots have confused themselves to the degree that they don’t know what to do and are afraid to do it even if they did!
The situation is not being helped by the noise coming from the equally ill-informed politicians in the Republican camp either. Some cynics would say they are doing a lot of it with the November elections in mind!
As I’ve said before on this blog, America has never been good at foreign policy. There are so many examples over the years to prove this beyond any and all doubt (Iraq, Afghanistan, Vietnam, now Syria). But this latest debacle could turn out to be foreign policy failure on a grand scale.
This is simply down to the fact that, even yet, the Obama administration clearly does not understand the severity of the problem. They haven’t managed to process the long term threat that a well armed, well supported and well funded group like ISIS can become.
Everyone – except the President and his people apparently – knows that these terrorists will not be content even if they are allowed to establish a fundamentalist Islamic state in the Middle East. Their hatred of anything and everything in the West is total.
In fact, as we have seen in Iraq and Syria, their hatred even extends to fellow Muslims who they do not consider to be ‘militant enough’ and they have attacked and murdered them in just the same ways as they have attacked and murdered Christians.
In Syria, which is none of our business, the Obama team thought they wanted the Assad regime removed, and to get that done they thought they could support ISIS (or the anti-Assad fighters of whom ISIS were always destined to be a big part).
Now the US may well find itself on the same side as Assad in a fight against the terrorists. And that may be the crux of the US Administration’s problem. They made the wrong move, at the wrong time, in the wrong place, for all the wrong reasons and correcting the mistake will require a major volte face and sizeable portion of humble pie.
President Obama said in June that he would be prepared to “take targeted and precise military action” in Iraq, whatever that meant.
But it’s taken him two months to make the decision. Two months during which Islamist militants have swept through northern and western Iraq and are now threatening Christians in that country with religious conversion or death.
So far its not only too little too late, but half-hearted to boot, with Obama saying that the step was being taken to defend US personnel in the city of Irbil and protect religious minorities facing what he called a “potential act of genocide” from the Islamic State, the extremist group most recently known as the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS).
There doesn’t seem much “potential” about from the reports I am reading.
It’s as if the President’s Administration and his advisors didn’t see it coming!
This belated decision is yet another turning point in the Obama administration’s dreadfully badly thought out foreign policy, which has seen his ratings plummet, both at home and in the eyes of the world.
Even now his administration’s goals remain unclear. For example, is this latest move a tactical decision, or a simple reaction to the consequences of failing to act sooner, or is there a strategy behind it?
I don’t know, and I don’t think anyone else knows, but I fear it is just the former. Sadly, a belated attempt to halt ISIS’s advance toward Irbil won’t be enough – and if I know that, why don’t Obama’s advisors?
Of course, on the other side of the political fence, rather predictably, some of the gung-ho Republicans, always spoiling for a fight (somewhere other than in the US), have quickly jumped on the bandwagon and tried to use this latest debacle to score political points against the President.
They have criticized Obama’s inaction in Syria and the failure to bolster moderate rebel forces there as contributing to ISIS’s growth. But hang on a moment GOPers, think it through before you speak (this will be new territory to most of them!). If the President had intervened (or rather, been allowed to intervene) in Syria he would have been intervening on the same side as ISIS, not against them.
Then we would have had an even more bewildering situation where US troops would have been fighting with ISIS (effectively) in Syria against Assad and at the same time fighting against ISIS in Iraq trying to stop their genocidal purge of the Christian community there.
It is this kind of utter confusion that has over the past few years greatly diminished America’s global influence and standing.
The mess that was left in Iraq after Bush’s invasion on the false premise (the lie) of WMDs, and Obama’s withdrawal of troops on the equally disingenuous premise (another lie) that they had brought peace to the country, is a disgrace.
And unfortunately it sends a message to the world that America is confused, indecisive, deceitful, short-sighted, blundering – in short all the things that you don’t want the world to think about you if you want to be taken seriously.
“It was Putin. He’s the baddie. We can’t let him get way with it!”
So go the cries in the US in the aftermath of the shooting down of Air Malaysia Flight MH17 over the Ukraine.
And that was long before any of the facts had been collected and it was known who shot down a plane on a different continent, or why.
Russia wants (virtual) control of the Ukraine. There isn’t really any doubt about that. For them it is a strategic imperative. Russia’s history has taught it that it needs to be able to control a vast amount of territory, if only to use as a buffer zone against invasion.
The situation is not helped by various US Presidents and Secretaries of State giving Russia assurances that they would not attempt to involve the peripheral former Soviet states in things like NATO – and then trying to do the exact opposite.
It is now widely accepted that the underlying reason for the unrest in the Ukraine and Russia’s reaction is because of US interference in that country, which included helping to overthrow its democratically elected president, Viktor Yanukovych, and replace him with someone who was a virtual puppet of the West.
That was just asking for trouble. And they should have known it.
And they will get trouble, probably much more than they bargained for.
Unfortunately that will impact on ordinary people, like us.
Just as the US has its beady eyes on bringing the Ukraine and other former Soviet states into pro-Western organizations like NATO, it is equally certain that Putin will have his beady eyes on not only bringing the former Soviet states back firmly under Russian control, but in perhaps expanding his relationships with other parts of Europe.
Putin has the energy reserves to do it. Whilst there is very little in the way of direct trade between the US and Russia, particularly in regard to energy supplies, (Russia is just the United States’ 20th largest trading partner), Europe is largely dependent on Russian gas to keep it going. Over 30 percent of the European Union’s energy supplies come from Russia and the EU is Russia’s largest trading partner.
Russia’s counter strategy, therefore, will obviously be to use its considerable economic influence as leverage to try to break up the NATO alliance and to separate the European power house, Germany, from its Anglo-American alliance.
Putin is being helped by the arrogance of America’s government spooks who thought they could spy on their friends and allies, even going so far as tapping the phone of German Chancellor, Angela Merkel, without there being consequences.
Prompted by leaks from NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden, the fallout from America’s spying debacle continues, people have been arrested, and the German government has even ordered the local CIA station chief to pack his bags and leave the country.
Germany may still place some value on its relationship with the US, but not nearly so much as previously, thanks solely to America’s lack of respect for them.
Putin and his advisors know this, even if Obama and Kerry don’t. They see Germany as ready for change. And they may well be right. The German people are angry at the contempt America has shown for them – just as Americans would rightly have been if the Germans had done the same to them and their President – and they are increasingly frustrated at the burden the European Union has become economically.
If the US doesn’t catch itself on and behave differently and with respect towards its foreign friends, it may find that there will be changes it did not expect and certainly did not want.
I’ve said before that America is bad – that’s capital ‘B’, ‘A’ and ‘D’ – at foreign policy. The US Government should know this by now, I’m not the only one saying it. It is a well known fact all over the world – except in America which apparently doesn’t know very much about the rest of the world and also apparently isn’t going to learn any time soon.
There hasn’t been any time in history when America needed to take stock of what has happened and try to make a few friends out there in the big wide world rather than pissing everyone else off needlessly.
Sure if you’re the biggest and strongest on the field you can kick anyone around. But to what purpose when it’s just as easy to get people on your side. Most of the woes America faces, the rest of the world faces too. There’s more in common out there that you might at first think.
Cue the man who was going to bring in great change and had the power to do so. But, no, President Obama hasn’t changed a damn thing. He inherited a great big hole and he just jumped in there with his shovel and keeps on digging.
Worse, he has yet again allowed croneyism to take the place of innovation and good sense.
To help him he has given government positions to the biggest bunch of idiots that you could ever imagine.
Their first job it seems was to continue to piss off Europe. Hot on the heels of the NSA getting caught spying on German Chancellor Merkel, the U.S. Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs, Victoria Nuland, was caught in a phone call recording saying “F*** the EU”.
Yes, you read that correctly. And she did all this as she was discussing who should be in the new Ukrainian government.
Whoops! And Double Whoops!!
Here it is if you want to hear it for yourselves.
That’s the Secretary of State.
Now what about the Presidential appointeees, the Ambassadors.
You would think the main criteria for choosing your Ambassadors would be to get someone who has an in depth knowledge of the country where they will be posted. Someone well versed in the culture, history, politics etc. Someone who will fit in straight away and make a good impression on behalf of the American people.
Yes, of course it does.
Is it the way America chooses its Ambassadors?
No, of course it’s not.
America chooses its Ambassadors, not on ability, but rather on how much money they have raised for the President’s election or re-election campaign.
That’s what you call corruption in any other country. I’m not sure what it’s called in America but the consequences are plain and pathetic to be seen.
Nowhere better than in the most recent hearings for the ambassador positions.
In this lot of new Ambassadors we had Colleen Bell, a TV producer for a soap opera who was picked as the U.S. envoy to Hungary. Did she know anything about Hungary? No. She didn’t utter a word of sense, just relied on waffle and bluff.
The only thing that eased her humiliation was the new Ambassador to Norway who was so clueless he didn’t even know who was in Government there. He even called the Progress Party, which is part of Norway’s ruling coalition, a hate-spewing “fringe element.”
And last in these examples, but not least in terms of inability and unsuitability for the job, was Noah Bryson Mamet. He was the nominee for the Argentina ambassadorship despite the fact that he’d never even visited that country and can’t speak Spanish.
A couple of million dollars for Obama apparently goes a very long way to getting you the job of representing America on the world stage.
Incredible! And not in a good way.
I’ll give you the opportunity to hear Anderson Cooper’s take on it too.
You may remember, more because of the movie than anything else probably, an incident in 1993 called ‘Black Hawk Down’ which caused American troops to leave Somalia.
At that time they had been stationed there as part of a United Nations ‘stabilization’ operation – whatever that is.
President Clinton abandoned that effort after the ‘Battle of Mogadishu’ in which nearly 20 American soldiers were killed and horrific images of their bodies being dragged through the streets by Somalia militiamen had been seen all over the world on television.
Since then American military and intelligence efforts have been in the form of funding the Somalia military and using remotely controlled drones to keep an eye on what is happening on the ground and perhaps more.
Or so we thought. After all, the last thing we want to do is get bogged down again on the ground in such an inhospitable place.
Cue the Obama administration and guess what? Yep, the US Army has once again secretly stationed a group of regular troops in Somalia. Since October last year a “military coordination cell” has been established in Somalia that, to quote the officer in charge, “is now fully operational”.
I’m not sure even Obama knows what they are there to do. There isn’t an American embassy to protect and they would hardly be there to draw unwanted attention to the people from charlie india alpha, would they?
Official sources say the army unit has been tasked with “advising and coordinating” operations by African troops against al-Shabaab, the al-Qaeda-linked group that controls large parts of Somalia.
Okay, so let’s say US forces have been deployed in Africa as part of the war against terror.
So perhaps that establishes what US Foreign Policy strategy is, i.e. to fight the war against terror.
Let’s move a bit further north-east. To Syria in fact.
For the past while the US has been covertly backing the anti-Assad forces in the Syrian conflict. Seemed to make sense since Assad is friends with the likes of Iran and Russia. Except for the fact that the anti-Assad forces were in fact made up of the same type of al-Qaeda-linked groups that the US is against in Somalia.
Confused? You should be.
If there was any principle involved they would have been better not backing either side. But of course principle and politics rarely mix.
And just to add to the confusion it was confirmed last week that secret meetings have been held between ‘Western intelligence officials’ and senior members of the Syrian government, aimed at “combating radical Islamist groups” in Syria.
Maybe it IS all beginning to make sense. At least we can detect a consistent pattern emerging, and it seems to be this:
ignore the long term dangers, and fund and supply terrorist groups just because they happen to be at odds with people you don’t like; and then when you realize what a mess you’ve made, send in American troops to correct the mistake, never mind that they are going to get killed and maimed by weapons paid for by America.
American foreign policy has been a shambles for decades. It doesn’t get better by repeating the same mistakes over and over again.
America has the strength and the military power to police the world, of that there is no doubt. But does that mean it really has to? Especially when the policy to direct such a strategy is made by incompetent politicians who clearly do not understand the world they are trying to police.
Confusion and failure has been and will be the result. That and the needless sacrifice of the brave souls whose job it is to clear up the mess.
Another week has gone by and President Obama just keeps on digging the hole he has unnecessarily got himself into.
Secretary of State Kerry has found a bigger shovel to help. And even the US Ambassador to the UN has jumped into the hole too.
Almost everyone else is against him, even the pope.
America has never been good at foreign policy decisions, but this latest debacle over Syria has to be one of the worst – EVER!
There have been a lot of mistakes. It looks like there will be a lot more. Here are some of the main ones.
Mistake #1 – the worst of all – getting involved in something that is none of your business.
Mistake #2 – refusing to take wise advice or recognize the mood of your own people and the rest of the world. End result, you leave yourself isolated with your influence to help anyone in the future much diminished.
Mistake #3 – not learning from past mistakes of others. That just leads to repetition of previous debacles.
Mistake #4 – appointing other idiots to tour the world to make sure everyone knows how stupid you are.
Mistake #5 – failure to commit totally. At least when Dubya and his conies were intent on getting us bogged down in Iraq they had the wit to tell Saddam to prepare for “Shock and Awe”. Obama’s right hand man Kerry, on the other hand, has threatened the Syrian leadership with a military response that will be – wait for it – “… an unbelievably small, limited kind of effort.” Rather than intimidating Assad that kind of threat must have left him doubled up with laughter!
Mistake #6 – making yourself look like a real dumbass by trying to be a smartass and calling an opponent a jackass. It may or may not be true, but resorting to such tactics just because someone doesn’t agree with you, almost always backfires on you. It has in this case. Putin is coming out looking reasonable and sensible while Obama is making himself look more and more ridiculous.
There are plenty of other examples, but this lot will do for now.
It’s hard to correct mistakes at the best of times. But it is almost impossible to correct a mistake if you are so arrogant that you don’t realize you made one in the first place.
That’s what has happened to President Obama and that is why he just keeps on digging the hole he is in deeper and deeper and deeper.
If you have read any of my previous entries in the politics section of this blog you will already be aware of my extremely low opinion of the intelligence of those in America who are in charge of foreign policy.
These idiots blunder about knowing little of history or tradition in other nations and make quick reaction judgments that are short sighted and that have continually come back to bite them on the ass.
Well, not them exactly, but the poor servicemen and women who are sent in to mop up their messes.
So what has got me ranting this time?
Only the fact that the morons in charge are currently negotiating what is being called ‘a groundbreaking agreement’ that will give American nuclear know-how to the country where Osama Bin Laden and the vast majority of the 9/11 terrorists came from.
Yes, Saudi Arabia.
The short-sighted US strategy is probably to assist an ally (an oil rich one, of course) to make it an unconquerable target for any of the other states in the area who have expansionist plans for the future.
Great – while the Saud family stay in control, or while a sensible member of the Saud family is in charge.
But what happens if, sometime down the road, the ruling dynasty is overthrown? Not an unknown occurrence in the Middle East. Or what happens if one day there is the equivalent of an ‘Osama’ in the Saud family just as there was in the Bin Laden family?
And what happened to all those non proliferation agreements designed to keep dangerous weapons out of the hands of those incapable of handling them sensibly?
The last thing the Middle East needs is yet another country developing nuclear weapons capability. It doesn’t take a genius to figure that one out.
If the consequences were not so potentially tragic, it would be fun watching the political morons in Washington justifying going to war to take nuclear capability away from Iran, which at least holds democratic elections, yet at the same time giving nuclear capability to Saudi Arabia which is an undemocratic dictatorship.
Not even the most devout liberal could spin that one to make it sound good!
It was either a title with a pun in it or just call today’s post “The Sunday Sermon”, but as you can see the pun got the better of me as usual.
If you hadn’t guessed, this one is my take on the goings on in North Korea.
Here we go….
Before the sermon starts I should preface it by saying we are in the current mess because politicians faffed about instead of stopping the proliferation of nuclear weapons when they had the opportunity. It’s their mess, but unfortunately we are all in it with them.
JFK had Cuba and now BHO has North Korea, both countries run by dictators and both in their time posing a nuclear threat.
Why do the Democrats always get the best crises? Poor old Dubya and his greedy and power hungry ally in Britain, Tony Blair (often deliberately spelled Bliar for good reason), had to make up an excuse to start a war with Saddam Hussein. Remember the Weapons Of Mass Destruction that never actually existed?
Of course, when JFK was doing his statesman like thing, during his brief breaks between his girlfriends, I was far too young to know or care about nuclear threats or more world wars.I had other more important things to be getting on with like battling invaders from Mars or trying to pluck up the courage to explore that eerie wood just a short distance from the bottom of our garden.
So what I know about the Cuban crisis of the early 1960s is all gleaned from books and reports from that period which are now a matter of history. (We’ll leave the debate about just how accurate and reliable that is for another time.)
The truth seems to be that the Cuban nuclear crisis had very little to do with Cuba or Castro. It was a posturing competition between the United States of America and the Soviet Union, and to a lesser degree a pissing contest between Kennedy and Khrushchev.
In both Washington and the Kremlin, although there were the warmongers, there were more people who were sensible enough to realize that devastating each other’s countries would leave them both weaker and achieve very little.They were able to reach that conclusion simply because they were people who were not completely insane or delusional.
It probably seemed difficult at the time, but for JFK it was a relatively easy crisis to manage.
The ‘nuclear crisis’ facing Obama, if indeed it is that, is a different kettle of fish because Kim Jong-un shows all the signs of being both delusional and ever so slightly insane.
He can’t be held entirely to blame for this. He is the son of a long time dictator, who himself suffered from multiple delusions. And he was brought up in a militaristic and jingoistic regime, which is what dictators like to create for themselves simply because it makes their own people easier to control. North Korean propaganda has taught the public that military goals and economic goals are intertwined and therefore that Kim Jong-un’s actions are for the good of his people.
In the latest moves to up the ante, the North Koreans have told Britain and Russia that they should consider the evacuation of their embassies in Pyongyang. They have also moved another missile to their east coast as a further threat to US Pacific bases.
This in itself is just the latest response to UN sanctions and South Korea-US military drills, both of which have done nothing to ease tensions and in fact have annoyed the North Koreans immensely.
Now the North Korean army is saying that it has received final approval for military action, possibly involving nuclear weapons, against the threat posed by US B-52 and B-2 stealth bombers taking part in the joint drills.And all this has been accompanied by a series of apocalyptic threats of nuclear war in recent weeks.
The trouble with all this posturing is that Washington, which always gets a ‘F’ for ‘FAIL’ in Foreign Policy, very seldom, if ever, gets it right at the right time.
Washington doesn’t seem to understand that the macho culture in many other countries makes it extremely difficult for them to be seen by their own people as the one who blinked first. Losing face has a terrible stigma for them.
Further military ‘exercises’ and posturing will probably have the result of leaving the Jong-un regime with little alternative (in their eyes) but to act aggressively.
How that aggression will manifest itself is anybody’s guess. Least likely would be an attack on America – it’s too far away for the type of missiles North Korea currently has.
An attack of some kind on the US base at Guam is possible, as is an attack on neighboring South Korea. The latter, depending on the scale and the number of casualties, could spark of retaliatory strikes by the US-backed South Koreans and from there it is a short step into a conventional and probably very bloody war.
And we should remember that the Korean war during the 1950s was a spectacular waste of human lives. Generals sacrificed their men for years and ended back at the 38th parallel, more or less the same place they started.
Admittedly things might be a lot different this time if China decides that the North Korean regime is too out of control to support militarily.I doubt very much if it is in China’s long term interest to have a whacky dictatorship armed with nuclear weapons on their doorstep. After all it’s only 1,000Km to Beijing and more than 5,000Km to Hawaii, the closest state of the US to North Korea. At the same time would China want an economically united and strong US dominated state on its borders?
The jury is still out on that one.
Another thing that Washington gets badly wrong is that it thinks that because it is the most powerful military nation on earth – and it is by a long way – that therefore other countries will be afraid to take it on.
Rather than a comparison with the Cuban Crisis that everyone is concentrating on, I see parallels between North Korea today and Imperial Japan in the 1930s.Both are/were jingoistic regimes with an ’emperor’ having complete control, and both created a military style regime more as a way to suppress and control their own people, and therefore to cling to power, than to attack another nation.
But things being what they are, and people being so bloody stupid it’s unbelievable at times, there comes a time when those in power in such regimes lose their sense of reality and get carried away believing their own propaganda.
Hence Pearl Harbor when Imperial Japan forgot that when something big and powerful is asleep you should never poke it with a sharp stick, coz when it wakens up it will kick the crap right out of you!
And hence, the North Koreans are not afraid of taking on America. They should be, but they aren’t, which again makes some kind of attack more possible the more they are backed into a corner.
Thankfully there are some signs that Washington might be getting the message and preparing to step back from the rapidly approaching brink.American officials have reportedly decided to “pause” the recent show of US force in Korea because
– wait for it, it’s a good one –
they are surprised at the intensity of the North’s response.
I mean who could have seen that coming? Well the answer is just about everyone except for the cretins in Washington!
What is surprising, however, is that the most sense talked about the whole affair recently has been from the world’s number one cigar salesman, Fidel Castro. In fact, make that doubly surprising, in that he has said some things that I am in agreement with and that he is still around to say it!
He said “If a war breaks out there, there would be a terrible slaughter of people” in both North and South Korea “with no benefit for either of them.” And also that the “duty” to avoid the conflict is in the hands of Washington “and of the people of the United States.”
Castro hasn’t quite figured out that once elected US Presidents do whatever THEY want, not whatever the PEOPLE want.
But what he must have figured out is that politicians like to be liked because he also warns President Obama that his second term, “would be buried in a deluge of images that would portray him as the most sinister personality in the history of the United States.”
Equally, he cautions the North Koreans that now they have, demonstrated their “technical and scientific advances, we remind them of their duties with those countries that have been their great friends.” And he urged them to remember that “such a war would affect … more than 70 per cent of the planet’s population,” and decried “the gravity of such an incredible and absurd event” in such a densely populated region.
Do you think he is hankering after one of those Nobel Peace Prizes, like the one Obama got for not being George W Bush?
And who knows what is going to happen in the Koreas?