Saturday, January 31, 2009

Two new wars on the immediate horizon: Mexico and Korea

This is not a criticism of the Obama administration, but an observation on world affairs: given that the situation in Gaza was raging and the Iraq/Afghanistan/Iran wars and controversies were on the US plate as he tied his tie for the inaugural, the new President intentionally jump-started his foreign policy to concentrate on the Middle East from day one.

[I do not agree with a lot he's done or intends to do, but I give him full marks for starting on day one.]

Which is why he has to be scratching his head in the very warm Oval Office, saying, "Mexico? Korea? Wait a damn minute!"

The US has now admitted that it is seriously studying potential military intervention into Mexico's war with the drug cartels:

The Dallas Morning News, citing anonymous sources, reported that if the bloodbath escalates, U.S. officials are contemplating the possibility of an enhanced U.S. role in battling Mexican drug cartels, including joint operations with Mexican forces and the involvement of U.S. contractors, military and intelligence personnel.

Be sure you understand this: contractors = Blackwater or similar outfits.

Meanwhile, North Korea is dumping its non-aggression pact with the South Korea:

North Korea’s state-run new agency quoted top officials today as saying the nation was “on the brink of war” with neighboring South Korea, and the government has also announced that it will be abandoning the nonagression pact between the two nations.

[I guess it's time here to give a shout-out to my buddies in the 2nd Infantry Division at Camp Warrior along the DMZ--better known as our expendables on the old Cold War tripwire.]

Not to suggest that the Bush administration did anything but make most situations it touched worse, the grim reality is that the post-Cold War world has been destabilizing for two decades. That leads to my consistent point that neither Republicans nor Democrats seem to get, that what the new administration should be doing is not setting out to conduct foreign policy better, but to conduct foreign policy differently.

During the Cold War, it required the resources of two major nuclear superpowers (US and USSR), plus those of Great Britian, France, and China to keep the world cowed enough to be more or less stabilized.

[Note the Paul Krugman and Robert Reich: anybody who thinks WW2 and the Cold War were primarily important as jobs programs and economic stimulus programs is not just an idiot, he's a dangerous idiot if he's in a position to advise a President.]

Today, however, with the USSR gone, China intent on hegemony and economic development rather than regional stability, Great Britain becoming more isolationist by the day, and France actively encouraging regional de-stabilization in the Indian subcontinent and South America, the US has neither the resources nor the mandate to continue an interventionist foreign policy.

Want to fix the Mexican drug war? Deny the cartels their inflated profits with decriminalization and legalization in the US.

Want to help the Koreas reconcile? Pull out US troops and let South Korea, which has the 4th largest economy in Asia and the 13th largest in the entire freaking world, defend itself.

That's about the only thing that will give the South a strong reason to pursue new strategies in reconciling with the increasingly desperate North.

If the North invades? Provide the South a guarantee of retaliation if nukes are used, but otherwise--let them defend themselves: their armed forces are large enough to do the job.

Would war be bloody and probably involve significant destruction of Seoul, South Korea? You betcha. But I didn't notice South Korea jumping up to pay for the reconstruction of a city we built in the middle of a river delta (New Orleans), and I don't think 37,000+ Americans should be the tripwire because the South built its largest urban area within artillery range of its border with an unfriendly power.

Of course, none of this is going to happen, because the defense industry is a Congressionally-supported jobs program, and Barack Obama's foreign policy is being designed and conducted by active interventionists.


Tyler Nixon said...

Since Blackwater was just kicked out of Iraq ('out in 72 hours'), no doubt they are looking for their next mercenary boondoggle bonanza, courtesy of Uncle Sam.

If you thought Iraq liked Blackwater, wait'll Mexico gets a taste.

George Donnelly said...

re/ Mexico and legalization, amen.

re/ a nuke guarantee for South Korea... why would you want the USA to escalate like that? That sounds something a neo-con would come up with.