Saturday, November 27, 2010


We are sending a U.S. naval task force led by the aircraft carrier George Washington to the Yellow Sea for a joint training exercise with the South Korean navy. We are saying that these exercises were previously planned as a show of solidarity with our South Korean allies and not as a response to this week’s North Korean bombardment of a small South Korean island. The North Koreans see the joint military exercises as a provocation and are threatening to go to war.
So, are the joint exercises a show of solidarity or are they a provocation? The answer to that question is: It’s all in the eye of the beholder. In the eyes of the North Koreans the joint exercises are a provocation. How would we see a joint naval exercise of the Cuban and North Korean navies in the Gulf of Mexico? We would damn sure see that as a provocation!
We always see the world through our own eyes. All countries do that. We label leaders of other countries as ‘crazy’ if they act differently from the way our leaders and the leaders of our allies are expected to act.
We think that President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of Iran and Libya’s Col. Muammar al-Gaddafi are crazy. We think that North Korean leader Kim Jong-il is crazy. We thought the same of Kim Il-sung, his father, when he was in power and we will no doubt think that Kim Jung Un, his son and designated heir, is crazy after he assumes the leadership of North Korea.
The people of Iran, Libya and North Korea, whether they like them or hate them, certainly do not believe their leaders are crazy. Many of them probably see Barack Obama as being crazy.
As I said before, it’s all in the eye of the beholder. That’s why our joint naval exercises with South Korea are seen as a provocation by North Korea.

The North Korean threats may just be a huff and puff exercise but we have to consider that North Korea would be a formidable opponent. We are not facing the cowardly army of Saddam Hussein. We know from past experience that South Korea’s soldiers are brave fighters and there is no reason to believe that the North Korean soldiers are not just as brave. And the North Korean army is equipped with the latest military hardware.

In the current crisis we are left with two choices. We can call off the joint U.S.-Korean naval exercises, which we are not about to do because it would be seen as a sign of weakness, or we can hope and pray they will not lead to a bloody war.

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