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Catastrophic Success

As if there weren't enough political opinionating out there, I, too, now sing the body bloglectric. Let me FEED you![XML]

Location: United States

Tuesday, November 09, 2004

Judges Shmudges!

The last news cycle has focused on the probability of the President nominating judges for the Supreme Court and possible opposition from Arlen Spector and the Democrat minority, or on the Same-Sex Marriage issue. I have to admit that my largest focus during the election was on foreign, not domestic issues. At home we have our system of checks and balances, our local, state and federal elected officials and our open society to come to a consensus about the will and rights of the people.

Abroad, however, we do not. There is nothing but our will to protect our interests and our will to fight for them to prevent the erosion or eradication of the ideals we hold dear. Bearing that in mind, I support the President and, most especially, our troops as they wage the War on Terror (of which, Iraq is a major battlefront, and Fallujah a major battle - Godspeed ladies and gentlemen).

The War on Terror is fought militarily, yes, but also financially and politically. The re-election of George W. Bush was a win in the war because it showed that the American people are resolved to wage complete war to complete victory, and not a sensitive war to complete appeasement.

Another political arena, however, is America's Diplomatic (ever since I started reading the The Diplomad I start to type it with a "d") Foreign Policy - our leaders' interaction with other foreign leaders. One of the core principle of the Bush foreign policy is his refusal to negotiate with Yassir Arafat, may he rest in fiery pieces, Kim Jong Il (He's So Ronery) and America has a long-standing policy of not dealing with Fidel Castro and embargoing Cuba. Arafat is on his deathbed, Castro just took a nasty fall and Jong Il is desperately trying not to be the dictator who oversaw the downfall of the People's Republic of North Korea. Arafat is 75, Castro is 78 and Kim Jong Il is 64.

Any one of them is bound to die while President Bush is in office. Arafat will likely die before the week is out, but either of the other two could die in the next 4 years, especially Castro, who has been the center of rumors of ill health for years. In each case, unique opportunities and problems are presented.

Palestine will have to choose a new leader from among Arafat's cadre of trusted advisors, all of them older, or from the group of younger "revolutionaries" who have come to the PLO's cause later. It is questionable whether any of them will be able to unite the Palestinian people or can obtain the legitimacy required to move forward for peace talks with Israel. One can always hope for a bloodless coup. However, I think it likely that another idealogue will take Arafat's place, but will be unable to further unite the various factions that make up the PLO and Paletinian Authority. After a short, and sadly, pretty bloody, reign, I believe the beleagured Palestinian people (maybe with an infusion of younger Palestinian expatriates who have lived in liberal Western societies) will put a moderate in power who truly is committed to establishing a viable Palestinian state and will resign himself to allowing the existence of the Israeli state. At this point, Palestine will also cease to be a proxy battle for the Egyptian and Syrian governments to attack Israel. Either the violence will be escalated to an all-out war against Israel (which would be difficult to pull off with all of those US troops in the area), or the Arab League will be forced to admit it was outmaneuvered and will be forced to pull back into their own countries to regroup. I don't think that will be the end of it though, unless Iraq succeeds beyond all hopes and shows what liberal democracy can bring to a country with deposits of liquid money beneath its sands.

I am reluctant to admit this, but I was actually hoping that Hurricane Ivan would nail the island and with the least possible loss of life, so destroy the infrastructure that the Cuban government would be forced to accept the help of the United States. I tried to imagine who would help Cuba get back on its feet. I ruled out China (the only powerful communist country in the world) because I didn't think the US would allow Chinese troops and aid workers in our hemisphere (I was also very wrong). The UN would try to provide aid, but since most of it would come from the US, I figured the US would just directly aid our fallen neighbor and try to inspire some goodwill in the people there (not that they hate us, but they don't hate Castro enough to revolt). As for the EU, well, I'll just laugh and go no further. I thought it would be a perfect opportunity for the US to engender a new Cuban revolution. After 45 years of Castro's rule, I find a new communist revolution without the Soviet's money unlikely. Maybe when they saw that cars were actually made after 1975 they would embrace capitalism. Sadly, that opportunity never came (although, again, I didn't wish for any Cubans to die). Now we must wait until Castro kicks it and hope that the people reject Castro's kid brother, who is the heir apparent and four years younger than Fidel. When that happens, GWB better be right there with offers of re-opening trade and travel to Cuba on the condition that the people establish a new government, friendly to the United States, or at least to the United States' democratic ideals. What a coup that would be for Dubya.

North Korea is a special case because it has Uncle China right next door, ready to prevent the greedy capitalists from co-opting any hiccups in its government. If Kim Jong Il dies, I would wager that China would offer the North Koreans the oppprtunity to be folded into Greater China as a new Republic in the People's Democratic Republic of China. Failing that, a new puppet regime will be installed. Thankfully the President has consistently taken the right approach with Kim Jong Il, and promises to continue doing so. NK is China's mess. There is no reason, regardless of what Madelyn Albright and Bill Clinton say, that the US should help prop up the government when we know that any aid we provide will never reach the people and will only serve KJI and his cronies. Refusing bi-partisan talks and insisting on six-way talks (with China, Japan, South Korea, and Russia) is the only way not to get saddled with the burden of supporting NK and being the target of the nuclear weapons it promised not to make. Eventually, the North Korean government will collapse under its own weight. Wouldn't it be great if the Korean Penninsula was reunited under the democratic government of South Korea? I really don't know what would happen if the attempt was made - woudl China allow it without a fight, or would Korea, again, become a proxy war between the United States and a communist regime? That one really worries me. Any other insights would be appreciated.

I'll be honest. I have a real hard time thinking seriously about KJI after seeing Team America: World Police. Really. A KJI puppet. Does China pull the strings?

There is a lot of opportunity for George Bush to pull off even more of a Foreign Policy victory here than just the application of the Bush Doctrine to the Middle East and winning the War on Terror. GWB could join the ranks of the great foreign policy Presidents (Madison, FDR, JFK, Nixon, Reagan). One can hope.