Thursday, October 26, 2006

What Good are Stem Cells if al Qaeda Blows Us Up? 

I find it hard to believe the priorities of some Americans. In the final days before the election we are debating stem cell research. Frankly, I don’t care what your position is. If there were no other issues I might, but we happen to be in a war for our survival. Unless we as a nation take strong measures, it is only a matter of time before a terrorist sets off a nuclear or biological weapon in a major American city. If we are serious about survival, this should be the top issue, hell it should be the only issue.

When they do get around to talking about the treat of terrorism, Democrats say President Bush has bungled the war on terrorism. Fine, let’s have a debate. There is plenty of room to propose a better way and if they do, I will listen. But after a few disparaging remarks about Donald Rumsfeld, they move quickly to something about ex-Congressman Foley or the minimum wage. For me this means the Democrats are not serious about keeping our country safe. They are only serious about getting into power.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

North Korea – Who is Smart, Who is Dumb 

George Bush is an idiot, have you heard that enough times? I never took it seriously because the democrats have said that about every Republican president in my lifetime, Eisenhower, Ford, Reagan, Bush, and Bush – exception, Nixon was evil instead. Now in terms of intellectual brilliance, I would confess that Clinton is probably smarter than Bush, but I am more interested in who implements smart policies. North Korea is an excellent test.

North Korea is a puppet of China. Without China’s massive aid the regime would collapse in days. China props up the regime in order to have a proxy troublemaker for the United States and Japan. This is not brilliant analysis but obvious to anyone paying attention in that part of the world.

So why did Clinton negotiate with the puppet and let the puppeteer of the hook? I don’t think it was because he or Madeleine Albright did not know this. I think it was because Clinton liked to take the path of least resistance. He negotiated the “Agreed Framework” in which he was tricked into giving North Koreans aid while they secretly continued nuclear weapons work. Smart guy, dumb decision.

When President Bush said he was going to get the Chinese involved, I thought, brilliant idea, but it will never happen. But it did. I still think we need to lean harder on the Chinese (see previous post), but Bush saw the obvious everyone else did and did the obvious that no one had done before. Less smart guy, brilliant work.

Solution to North Korea 

China is the answer to the North Korea problem. China keeps the regime alive, China can shut it down. Why would China maintain such a troublemaker? China is in a struggle to supplant American and Japanese strategic dominance of East Asia, but also must maintain a friendly relationship with both countries with which it has important trade relations. Since Americans and Japanese are naïve enough to not hold China responsible for the actions of a proxy, they keep Kim Jong Il alive to create pain.

The United States and Japan could start sending nuanced messages to China by holding top-secret meetings on nuclear weapons technology for Japan. Of course some one would leak the information to the New York Times and China would get the message. They like having the North Korean proxy, but a nuclear-armed Japan would be a bigger problem for China. The United States could up the ante by holding the same meetings with the Taiwanese.

The next step would be to hold really secret meetings with the Chinese (no leaking to the New York Times) on regime change in North Korea and Korean reunification. The Chinese do not like the idea of reunification because they see American GI’s on their border. But if Korea is reunified, does the United States need to be there? Maybe we could reduce or even eliminate our military presence in Korea. Such a situation might be seen as great opportunity for China since its relations with South Korea have been improving rapidly – maybe they could even replace the United States as their closest friend. That would not be all bad because it would be primarily a commercial rather than strategic/military relationship.

The Bush administration wisely took the first step towards these policies by getting China involved with the six party talks. Hopefully they are secretly pursuing the rest.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

I’m Still with W! 

Lots of people I know have lost faith in the war in Iraq and with the war on Islamic terrorists. When we were attacked five years ago, we were united in our response. We shocked the world by bringing real military force against some very dangerous enemies. Finally our war on terrorism had become more than empty rhetoric and an occasional cruise missile. Now many people have decided the pain of loosing so many young soldiers is too much. It has now become fashionable to denigrate President Bush and his policies. In the up coming elections some will support candidates calling for us to withdraw from the fight.

I too am pained by our losses but I don’t think backing down will make things better. We have made mistakes in this war, as we have in all wars before. But the worst mistake we could make at this point is to pull out and turn victory over to our enemies. We have defeated the terror sponsoring regimes in Iraq and Afghanistan, but there is still work to be done in building new, strong governments in those countries. And there is still more pain to come. I understand all the wise words about how difficult it is to build democracy in these countries, but do we now only do things that are easy?

In the Second World War, we lost 405,399 soldiers. If after the first few thousand we had decided the fight was too much and gone home, would lives have been saved in the end? Would Hitler have then played nicely? Right at the beginning of our current conflicts, President Bush said this would be a long, difficult war, but I don’t think the American people were listening. The great power of our nation built up by our parents’ generation has given us a false sense of security, that, if we just ignore dangers in the world, they will go away. Twenty years ago that may have been true, but no more.

President Bush has made mistakes, but he has been absolutely correct on making the war on terror the main focus of his administration. And he has not wavered with the latest poll numbers or bad news. (War is always bad news until it is won). Even though he is not on the ballot, I’m with W in the upcoming elections. Others may give up on the fight but I will vote unapologetically for candidates that support President Bush’s vision for victory.

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