Total Innocence is Absent on Both Sides
Recently I wrote a letter to this newspaper stating that Communist nations are not “per se” aggressive; I still adhere to this contention. Unquestionably some Communist governments are aggressive, just as some fascist and some constitutional monarchical governments were. The capture of the Pueblo by the North Korean government is an act of aggression because North Korea could have escorted the ship from its territorial limits, if the ship was within them. Since it did not, one should infer that their object was to provoke the United States. Their reason might be to test our will to come to the aid of South Korea in the event of invasion, or it might be a definite plan of allied Oriental Communist nations to keep us embroiled in a logistically divided longterm Asian land war.
In a world community, as in a local community, there will be a violation of laws. Like local crime, international agression must be minimized. Incarceration of an individual criminal serves that purpose by incapacitating and perhaps even rehabilitating him as well as deterring others. Obviously a nation cannot be incarcerated, but the same derivitive goals are desirable.
Various methods might be used in the place of incarceration. The first, economic boycott, lacks efficacy, although hopefully one day an authoritative United Nations capable of effective penal powers will deal with wrongdoer nations. The second is military action by the United Nations or by a sovereign government. Because of the absence of total innocence on both sides, it is doubtful that the United Nations will commit their forces. If we honestly deem North Korea guilty of aggression, or alternatively of unreasonable punishment in relation to a United States violation, and negotiation does not result in redress, our alternatives will be restraint or invation. Invasion might be playing into the hands of the aggressor. Inaction might be buying time only to necessitate a later invasion. The proper course for the present should be restraint while evincing military strength with the hope that the North Koreans will act and act not through fear but through reasonability. Only as a last resort should we commit ourselves militarily and then only in order to obtain release of the prisoners. In that event, we should take swift and positive military action.
Senator Max Baucus
I’m flattered you ask my opinion. Here it is. Going into Iraq was gray not black and white but we could justify it morally using most recently Milosevic as a precedent.
The issue is whether exporting democracy to this area in hopes of providing an alternative to the darkness of solely theocratic indoctrination with no tolerance for other views is justified. Turkey is an example that democracy can happen in Muslim States.
If we had not deposed Saddam, and he did develop nuclear weapons and wanted for example Kuwait, we’ve got the same problem we have with North Korea. It’s a stand off. We might not be able to stop him. And this is the most strategic area because of oil.
As for our economy, for the first time I can remember, we really have deflation. Cars with rebates, TV prices falling, restaurants reinventing themselves with $13 entrees down from $28 with the internet business diminished. Only housing because of low interest rates and commercial real estate because of fear of the stock market have not deflated. Housing will deflate when rates go up and even with the Fed keeping them low, a $600 billion deficit per year for the foreseeable future (Senator Rudman, Pete Peterson, Sam Nunn) adding to a $6 trillion debt load and a falling dollar has to mean higher government rates hence higher corporate rates, higher loan rates, housing prices fall.
So a tax cut (really $35 billion a year) on a budget of $2.2 trillion is a short term political move to get the President reelected and will have virtually no impact on the economy except to imprudently run up debt. The President riding on the war victory and tax cuts still looks good. However, if nation building in Iraq and Afghanistan result in a mess and the economy deteriorates more with more unemployment, Kerry maybe Lieberman have a good shot if they take on a conservative theme with strong defense with Edwards maybe Vice President nominee. Gerphard on universal health is the wrong issue and I think the wrong personality.
What really scares me is the Defense Department putting its imprimateur on “smaller” nuclear weapons. This gives the idea credibility to any third World dictator or well financed terrorist who comes around. Just one of those bombs will wipe out San Francisco or the Fresno bread basket for 100 years. Nuclear warfare is simply unacceptable and weapons should only be used or updated for mutual assured destruction. Our leadership should make it clear we will not use it tactically. Some leaders here and elsewhere toss using it around in speeches as if it were acceptable.
Life’s interesting. You make your best judgment and hope you are right whether its defense or the economy and you must be ready to admit you are wrong if it doesn’t work.