I’m not all that thrilled with the television commentators and their spin on events like the Charlottesville riot (call it what it was), the North Korea situation, and the Iran nuke deal. Why? Because these events have been decades in the making and the fact that they’re now blowing up in everyone’s faces is suddenly an issue that needs to be dealt with. Oh really?
Let’s start with the white supremacists who decided to hold a protest march over the fact that a local municipality decided to take down a statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee. Lest we forget, Lee before he joined the Confederacy as its military head, was a U.S. Army officer and a graduate of West Point. Unlike the Nazis or Imperial Japanese military, Lee was not involved in violations of the Laws of War. Over the past two decades, we’ve seen the left decry various actions as racist, sexist, xenophobic, anti-Semitic, Islamophobic, etc. Most of these claims have been baseless, they have been nothing more than a grievance industry shifting into high gear and going full tilt.
Back in the early nineties, I remember a squadron mate decrying the fact that our society was becoming politically correct, but I gave it very little thought at the time. As I became a little more politically conscious, I eventually latched onto what he was saying. We have succumbed to the idea that we aren’t allowed to discuss “touchy” subjects because someone somewhere might get upset or offended at what’s being talked about. This is nothing more than free speech and the exchange of different ideas being squelched by those with an agenda. That agenda does not include the sort of discourse that this country’s founders wanted us to remain engaged in (the USAA incident is a good example). The kind of discourse that no how matter how uncomfortable or messy it became, enabled us to become a better, stronger nation. Make no mistake, what we witnessed in Virginia was the epitome of pure evil. It was the very antithesis of the melting pot philosophy that has made us, in the words of the late Barbara Jordan, the most successful multi-ethnic country in the history of the world.
The president was right IMHO to go off script on his initial statements condemning what happened in Charlottesville. He and his predecessor have been the recipients of an awful lot of vitriol from the political opposition. That hatred and the sort of hostility that we witnessed last week has been building over time and was eventually going to find a release somewhere. Political correctness lit the fuse, time did the rest.
North Korea and Iran are Pariah states, plain, pure, and simple. The Mullahs and Kim dynasty have held vise like grips on their respective countries and populations for decades. The fact that these regimes have been seeking to obtain nuclear weapons should come as no surprise. They need some way to maintain their legitimacy on the world stage. What better way to do so than become a nuclear power? Once that milestone has been achieved, it becomes much more difficult to unseat them and turn back the clock.
When the 1979 revolution in Iran turned it into a theocracy, it also set the regime on a path to becoming a regional hegemon. They have been the largest state sponsor of terrorism in the world. The U.S. invasion of Iraq, their near peer competitor/regional foe was intended to send the mullahs a message, it had just the opposite effect and emboldened them to become even more aggressive in the region. The North Koreans were the original bad boys when it came to international condemnation and scorn being heaped on any nation for its behavior. We have watched three successive generations of despotic leaders starve their populace, engage in assassinations abroad, military acts of provocation, and the illegal detention of foreigners for the purpose of being used as nothing more than bargaining chips (Iran has been guilty of this as well).
Previous administrations have tried the philosophy of constructive engagement in the hopes of bringing these regimes to the table to establish meaningful dialogue. That dialogue was nothing more than a smokescreen that enabled them to focus their efforts on clandestine programs while the rest of the world thought that progress was being made at reaching a peaceful solution (think Saddam Hussein and the UN Oil for Food program). Yet, for some reason we see these commentators and politicos wringing their hands and bemoaning the president’s comments towards the North Koreans. So, can anyone explain how all those flowery and optimistic words have helped us get to a place where we can claim a modicum of success in dealing with either country? Simply put, they can’t.
The time for though talk is now at hand. Just look at the Japanese. What continues to go underreported throughout all of this is the fact that after the last series of North Korean ballistic missile tests several months ago, the Japanese government vowed to shoot down any North Korean missile that overflew its territory (Japan has had the capability for a while now). This most recent threat by Mr. Kim’s generals to launch several missiles into the sea around Guam didn’t go unnoticed in Tokyo. Those missiles have to fly over Japan on their way to their intended targets. Again, the Japanese ministry of Defense reminded all concerned that Japan would not stand for any act that violated its territorial sovereignty, but who’s been reporting it? Almost no one.
It appears that rather than focus on the things that should be bringing us together, we’re still being subject to partisan bickering over whether presidential condemnation over a brutal act was strong enough or if rhetoric directed towards a rogue nation went too far. C’mon man, grow up! It’s time to put aside the parochialism and start acting as Americans. ‘Nuff said.