Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Can We Change the Post Cold War Mentality in 2016-17? Should We?

Possibly the two greatest threats of current unrest in the 21st century are the nuclear capabilities of North Korea and the Syrian situation causing a refugee crisis of epic proportions.

Possible solutions require a different way of thinking and of executing foreign policy.

1. North Korea

Joel S Wit, in an opinion piece for the NYTimes on September 13, writes that the Chinese and even the North Koreans believe the only way to stop KimJon-un's nuclear testing, continual build-up, and imminent threat to the west, is for the United States to intervene.

He even writes:  Nevertheless, there are signs that North Korea is interested in dialogue. On July 6, the government issued a pronouncement ostensibly seeking denuclearization talks with the United States, specifically mentioning Kim Jong-un’s name in support of this initiative.

What?

Remember the bridge Richard Nixon crossed with the great and fearsome Red China?

There is however, one scary word Mr. Wit uses: ostensibly. Seeming to be true or real but very possibly not true or real.

President Nixon took a risk and the risk had lasting repercussions. In 2016, we are at peace with China, we trade with China, we can climb the Great Wall in China.

Mr. Wit also suggests that the US hesitates to intervene because of the past relationship between the USSR, China and North Korea--vs. the United States. In 1950, after fighting the Nationalist Kuomintang government since 1927 ( a war the US supported to fight Mao and communism), Mao declared the People's Republic of China, backed by the USSR. 

The US was committed by dogma, the Monroe Doctrine and the containment policy to fight communism. We were in the midst of purging our own country of any breath of communism. 

North Korea only invaded the South when Stalin gave Kim Il Sung permission to do so and the North Koreans only prevailed when the Chinese crossed the border in massive waves of human power. General McArthur was so sure he'd won the war, he started sending home ammunition. 

The USSR, Chinese, North Korean collaboration is well established, but now, they ask and reason that the United States needs to temper the North Korean's nuclear overdose. According to Mr. Wit, North Korea this year has already conducted 17 missile tests and two nuclear explosions, one of which occurred just last Friday. Satellite photos reveal they are in a position to test three more nuclear bombs. Furthermore their nuclear and hydrogen bomb capabilities are much more advanced than previously thought.

Given the weight of North Korean nuclear disaster potential, in the upcoming month, I am looking for the candidate who is divining the ambassadorial spirit of Richard Nixon--the presidential candidate who is willing to sit at the table with chopsticks and the irreverent, Dennis Rodman-loving president. I'm looking for a president who is willing to consider changing the armistice of 1953 into a more permanent arrangement. Not with naivety that Jung-un can be left with his hand in the cookie jar, but with hope that dialogue will open doors to peace and lessen the threat of his uncontested nuclear playground.

2. Syria

It is day two of the required Syrian government cease fire before the possibility of an epic arrangement with Russia may go into effect--an arrangement not seen since we worked with the Russians to defeat Nazism.

Secretary of State John Kerry is fighting for a Russian, United States collaboration on defeating terrorist strongholds in Syria. His greatest American government opponent is Secretary of Defense Ashton B Porter. 

If the Syrians can continue seven days of cease fire, on day 8 the US will possibly "share information with Moscow on Islamic State targets in Syria" (Cooper, Sanger http://www.nytimes.com/2016/09/14/world/middleeast/syria-john-kerry.html?hp&action=click&pgtype=Homepage&clickSource=story-heading&module=first-column-region&region=top-news&WT.nav=top-news&_r=0).

We are asking for a dramatic mindset reversal at a time when Russia and the US are currently polarized over the Syrian issue; we are asking the two countries with a 43 year old history of trying to obliterate each other, to collaborate after only eight days of cease fire, after supporting opposite sides of the conflict. Can we do it? Is a common enemy, the Islamic state, enough to join forces? Was Hitler a good enough reason to collaborate? 

Yes.
Are six million refugees enough reason to collaborate?

But the lack of trust remains. Recent Commander of NATO, General Breedlove recently said, "I remain skeptical about anything to do with the Russians." The pentagon force against collaboration have been accused of "Cold War" thinking. Is it time to move past this thinking or are recent Russian aggressions in Crimea and the Ukraine worth holding on to our seventy year old thinking?

Once again, I am looking for a candidate who is willing to try working with the Russians. President Obama agreed to the collaboration after-the-seven-day cease fire amidst tremendous opposition. He understands the risk, he took the risks; they are necessary risks of trust to end a possibly endless conflict. 

 Day 2. Pray for a day 3 ceasefire, a day 4, 5, 6, 7. Pray for two superpowers to once again combine their strengths to overcome an evil greater than the third reich.