The World Is A Mess And There’s Not Much We Can Do About It

The world is always a mess but right now it looks like a particularly bad mess. Ukraine is burning, Venezuela is exploding and North Korea is a 6 plus decade stain on humanity.

Naturally there are people who think the US should be doing something about all of these problems and many others. I think those people are hopelessly naive.

The simple fact is other countries have internal problems and disorders and they really don’t care how it’s bothering us. Sure, they want us to do something but what?

You want trade sanctions on Ukraine for its repressive regime and the likely brutal crackdown that’s about to hit? Ok, tell me howour relatively limited trade relationship with them matters compared to the money and pressure Russia can bring from the other side?

It’s easy to say “we must lead and help the Ukrainians” it’s a bit harder to turn that rhetoric into action.

North Korea is a prison camp run by sadistic guards masquerading as a country. Everyone is horrified by the stories coming from there. That’s a given. Are you horrified enough to restart a war on the peninsula? Are you ready to go toe to toe with a rather frisky China over it? Is a 60 year long tragedy in North Korea suddenly so urgent that we are ready to kick over a hornet’s nest that could wind up stinging Taiwan and Japan?

I’m not sure where this idea that the US has a magic wand it can wave and make the world bend to our wishes but we need to get over it fast. Or we need to start spending a lot more money on weapons and accept the cost that comes with using them. Even then if we’ve learn one thing from the last 12+ years it should be not every problem is subject to the healing power of US military might.
I think we need to be very strong in fighting for our vital interests but that means being very careful about we put that label on.

 

About Drew

I blog about politics and hockey because I sort of understand those things. I'd blog about women but I'll never understand them.

Posted on February 19, 2014, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. Good points, And we have a history. See 1968. We won’t do much. Potentially some good will come out of this. As Commander Salamander wrote, hard power wins over soft power every time. Left untested smart power grows and festers. budgets get cut. The US gets weaker and conflicts become more probable. We have had several conflicts brewing. The Norks have been getting more and more belligerent, recently threatening to nuke us, which we ignore. Smart? doubtful. Before that South Korea and Japan pushed for what I think was called the Sunshine Policy. It was appeasement, as if smart power works with a crazy mofo. Rummy seemed to get fed up and in a wise move pulled the bulk of the US tripwire back 100 clicks. You want to play this BS game, you have your troops battle the bulk of the risks. China has been developing a not-so-blue navy. They have been developing a powerful navy seemingly designed to control the Straits with solid amphibious capabilities. I wouldn’t be investing too mush in Taiwanese real estate. They of course have been saber rattling other islands and pushing on the Philippines as well. And then there is Putin, a thug. The left in this country joined hands with the intelligentsia in all the capital cities of western Europe in November 2008, cheering the end of Cowboy Bush and a muscular US policy. Putin looked at Europe and must have felt like a 16 year old getting a lap dance at Scores. Set aside the obvious schadenfreude moment. Well, bath in it for a bit first. Then think perhaps that the advocates of smart power are losing ground. The inane sophistry that is smart power, that we can push a thug like Putin around with public shaming is shown for what it is, a foolish hope trade cooked up by ninnies. And as far as this being a 19th century move in the 21st century please avoid mentioning that to the dead in Egypt or in Syria or in Nigeria or in the Aceh province in Indonesia or in South Sudan or in the Central African republic or in a post US Iraq or in… well you get the point. It may not be border incursions but conflict seems a have not gotten the “sit down in feety pajamas and talk it out” memo. The world is a dangerous place with bad actors and talking to them in a firm voice won’t change that. Smart power won’t be put on the trashheap of history by this but it could serve as an inflection point. We need it.

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