The Star Tribune stories of last week’s tensions between the rival Koreas (August 25, 2015), show how what occurs around the world effects Minneapolis too, as the world becomes an ever-increasingly connected yet dangerous place, politically and militarily.
America’s politicians, left and right, keep failing to find an alternative to their extremes of advocating the U.S. be the world’s referee or policeman or be isolationist: withdraw and let the rest fight it out amongst themselves.
But the “is world” is overrunning the “wish world,” as intelligence communities are caught off guard by various threats. Is this because of their relaxing, due to misguided confidence that because it hasn’t happened on the Korean Peninsula since the early 1950s, it won’t happen again? Our early presidents warned that the price of freedom, of liberty, is eternal vigilance, not eternal napping.
It is quite clear the U.S. government and many big U.S. corporations want America to support security by protecting the oil-rich Middle East, as it is considered to be the golden goose laying golden eggs of oil, while letting the Ukraine, Eastern Europe, and Africa get pulled back into the Russian and Chinese orbits (Putin is trying to recreate the old USSR; China is all over Africa).
That still leaves military elephants like North Korea in the living room, in alliance with Russia and China, who share a common border with North Korea. They were extremely silent during the very tense situation last week.
A North Korean mine maimed two South Korean soldiers. South Korea retaliated by turning on loud speakers on the border to broadcast propaganda across their shared border. Each threatened each other, testing each others’ resolve before coming back from the brink of war. To test each other is dangerous under any circumstances, but especially when only one side, North Korea, has a nuclear bomb.
This “incident” raises questions frequently asked since 9-11: How effective and accurate is our intelligence gathering? What do we know about how China and Russia might respond? How are the 28,000 military personnel stationed in South Korea supposed to hold off one million North Korean soldiers when they finally come to cross the DMZ (demilitarized zone) into South Korea (in just a day or two when it would take us a month to put significant boots on the ground, if we had the boots)? Why this bet with hundreds of thousands of lives at stake on both sides?
This is another important issue being raised by Donald Trump, that the U.S. has continued to reduce its military force over the past nearly seven years to where now our marines, sailors, army and air force personnel will soon be at pre-World War II levels.
This affects our security and our economy as well. The military has been a great place for job training, with 23 percent of the military African American and others of color. The pending 40,000 troops to be cut means over 9,000 military of color and over 6,000 women will be without jobs and training.
With world turbulence such as terrorism, approval of state and non-state armed military forces, and the unknowns about the proposed Iran treaty, we need to act carefully so as to avoid the kind of diplomacy/negotiation failures that led to the attack on Pearl Harbor, December 7, 1941. Many lives were lost in the next four years of intense combat to restore world order. If we are going to play world policeman, we need to do it from a well-designed doctrine that will keep us out of harm’s way.