That U.S. policy-makers are preparing for war against an Iraqi military that analysts say we can easily crush while going the diplomatic route with North Korea – a country we can’t beat up on as easily – is evidence of an ugly principle at work: might makes right.
How to deal with North Korea? A good starting point would be a re-evaluation of questionable policy decisions made over the last few decades, as East Asian specialist Chalmers Johnson suggested last week.
Why is South Korea complaining more about U.S. policy than about their kin to the north? Johnson says it’s largely because South Korea is “a genuine democracy, created in 1987 when Koreans revolted against 25 years of American-supported military dictators. The U.S. still has more than 100 military bases in South Korea…. How would we feel if it were reversed? Another source of resentment is the South Korean economic meltdown a few years ago, which was essentially caused by the IMF, largely controlled by the U.S. government. South Korea has recovered brilliantly but it still resents American interference and arrogance.”
Critics of the peace movement ask what’s the alternative to war in Iraq? It must be a rhetorical question because I can think of six off the top of my head.
— Keep the weapons sanctions in place but immediately lift the economic embargo – a 11-year-old failed policy that has only further entrenched Saddam while killing a half-million Iraqi children under the age of 5 in a country that prior to the Gulf War was a nation whose biggest pediatric problem was childhood obesity.
— The Bush administration should sign on to the International Criminal Court and pursue an indictment of Saddam for crimes against humanity, which would gain the support of the international community for a multi-national coalition force to apprehend Saddam, if necessary.
— Fully and fairly implement UN Resolution 661, which calls not only for the disarmament of Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction but stipulates that the Middle East be a nuclear weapons free zone. That means, of course, insisting that Israel rid itself of its nukes.
And finally, ironically, we ought to keep in mind the thoughts of two esteemed statesmen. “Peace is not made with friends. Peace is made with enemies,” according to the late Yitzhak Rabin.
Sean Gonsalves is a Cape Cod Times staff writer and a nationally syndicated columnist. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org