Monday, June 07, 2010


Having grown up in the cold war I often wonder how the younger generations view the world; their fellow man. No longer is the world in a struggle, clearly defined by borders and alliances into the free versus communist world. A period where mutual shared destruction was the lock and key for nuclear arsenals, held then only by super powers. The ultimate deterrent. And it apparently worked.

Just the other night I saw the movie "Dr. Strangelove" and was really taken back. A movie I found disturbing in the past but now quite enjoyable. An insane commander sends his wing of B-52 Bombers to attack the Soviet Union and he alone holds the recall code. In the process of the movie the Soviet ambassador reveals they have created a computer controlled doomsday device impossible to turn off and that a nuclear attack within their borders will set it off killing all life on the planet. Dr. Strangelove, commenting on deterrents, explains the importance of fear in the process, but then points out that it doesn't work if you don't know the deterrent exists. The Soviets not having told anyone, wanting to surprise the world at an upcoming conference.

The Soviet Union is gone and Russia no longer the serious threat it was for launching a world wide nuclear war. China is still an evil communist power full of corruption and human rights abuses. But a new deterrent has risen out of China (and Russia); its people. Becoming interdependent with the world community for its peoples welfare and their growing standard of living, China can no longer consider military conquest part of its ideological goal of world dominion. They fear being overthrown by their own people when the hardships and suffering of war breeds dissatisfaction.

Again when I was growing up they had a TV commercial. A large group of old people in suits gathered in a field. Then, one walking up to the other, they started slugging it out. The message being; Why do our young people have to fight wars between leaders? And in todays world, where man is as far away as his computer from near most all other people of the world, where we hear the struggles and conflicts going on nearly in real time, most likely knowing people in our own lives who have lived or worked in those regions, we truly have become a world community. And most of the world, outside of tyrants and Islamic radicals, simply want to enjoy their lives with its inherent ambitions and dreams, and hope the same for everyone else in the world.

Yet violence grips our world still. Governments abuse their citizens and populations, fed with bitterness and resentment, set themselves against each other.

Iran threatens to destroy Israel with a nuclear strike. Are we to wipe out the Iranian people for their leaders evil intents? The people of Iran, without Obama's support, are apparently not enough of a deterrent.

North Korea too, sinking a South Korean patrol boat, threatens the world with nuclear weapons and a delivery system that may be able to reach the United States. Their people live in prison like conditions if not part of the party proper and those in power are not the ones who will suffer if we turn to greater sanctions.

In a world where rogue powers or terrorist groups could set off a nuclear weapon almost anywhere in the world what is a sufficient deterrent? Much like we target the leadership of terrorist groups with apparent success, governments of nations such as Iran and North Korea need to be targeted, not their people.

The first and preferred deterrent is to support the people. We missed a chance to support the Iranian people and can't let it happen again. The media and its extension, the entertainment industry, have failed to keep in the minds of the world on what North Korea is like. Don't think for an instance that the North Korean leaders are not empowered by the idea that no one in the world cares what they are doing within their borders.

Next we have to realize the nuclear climate has changed. Chances are very high that nuclear weapons will be used and not escalate to a world wide conflict. The possible attack(s) will most likely be singular events by terrorists or rogue nations that will extinguish their entire nuclear arsenal with their attack. And much like we used nuclear weapons against Japan to shorten the war and save lives maybe we should consider using them again. Todays deterrent should be that nations such as Iran and North Korea be promised the certain death of their government and military infrastructure, in short order, if they use weapons of mass destruction. Even to the point of using tactical nuclear weapons to guarantee that destruction.

And it must be known, as Dr. Strangelove so clearly pointed out. Yes, there would be collateral damage of the population with the use of nuclear weapons. But if the public knows a nuke will be dropped on their leader(s) within 24 hours guaranteed, what are the chances they wont capture or kill their leaders themselves?

It must be known. And if the United Nations cannot put together such a resolution, maybe the traditional nuclear powers, those that showed some sense of responsibility in holding the power, the United States, Russia, and China should make that clear to powers that preach violence and destruction.

Our current President has made the consequences of using weapons of mass destruction completely unclear and we find we are being challenged around the world. Our casualty rates are rising in our war zones, and North Korea is threatening.

Deterrents work. Iran needs to be targeted.

Is it the best course of action towards North Korea? North Korea is at a critical turning point. North Korea is on the verge of either retreating into deeper isolation and/or launching an invasion, or speeding up its excruciatingly slow opening to the rest of the world.

The attack on the South Korean patrol vessel has brought conflict to the South, as those opposed to the government reject the claims that it was an act of the North. The death of so many sailors has threatened the 'Sunshine Policy' many in the South have worked hard for. And the North is using the event to consolidate power among the Kim regime. Power that is backed by the military.

So would promise of nuclear retaliation against the members of their government be helpful? The North may use the threat to further bolster the position of Kim's brother-in-law, promoting that the west is in fear of his prowess, accomplishing beyond all hope the goal of the attack on the South. If they chose to look at it that way. And it will be an action that may assuage the rage of the South without any concrete change in current programs working to united the two Korea's. Both results could clear the air to resume relations and the slow opening of the North, or not. You never know what North Korea will do. And they like it that way.

I wrote a piece on uniting the two Koreas, some years ago now, and shortly afterwards the idea of amnesty for the leaders of the North, not a new idea, became well publicized in the South. My idea was Sanctuary, not amnesty.

Fear as a deterrent works well against tyrants who put their own well being above all others. But it can be a double edged sword. The greatest factor in liberating the North is to guarantee its current rulers that they will not face retribution for their actions against their own people and that they will also continue to prosper financially. The idea of sanctuary, where these leaders and those acting on their behalf would be consolidated, confined in many ways, to the capitol and its surrounding province is the most practical way to guarantee their well being. Already a party friendly region a separation between the offended and those who did the offending is the best way to guarantee their safety.

Ultimately the greatest deterrent against tyranny should be the people, as our founding fathers so well understood. North Korea is surrounded by populations more empowered everyday in China, Russia, and South Korea. I believe the younger generations have no interest in the divisive natures of the past. The liberation of the people of North Korea should be the goal. Looking to substantially punish the North, its communist leaders, with sanctions will only only hurt the people of North Korea and hamper the goal of unification as things stand today. And waiting for time, the new generations to gain power, to resolve the issue is an enormous and unjust cost for the people of North Korea to pay.