Sunday, June 15, 2008

South Korea and Iraq

Dick Morris is Stupid.

That fairly unadventurous point aside, I'd like to make a quick point or two about Korea.

The history of the Korean War is not particularly well known, but neither is it particularly hard to grasp. After World War II, The United States and Soviet Union set up competing regimes in the southern and northern ends of Korea, respectively, with the goal of eventually reuniting the country under a single government.

For various reasons, the reunion never happened and the North (backed by the Soviets) attacked the South (backed by the US) in open war in 1950. By 1951 the war was an unresolvable stalemate, and after lots of people died for no good reason, eventually the Soviet client regime and the US client regime had to be maintained more or less forever.

Figures of great stature on the right,including 2008 GOP nominee John McCain, frequently cite Korea as a favorable example of the possibilities of US power in Iraq, despite the following facts:

1) The circumstances surrounding the Korean War are in no sense similar in any way to the circumstances surrounding the Iraq invasion;
2) The outcome of the Korean War was a famously bad outcome and remains a gigantic blemish on the resume of an American president (Truman) whose record has come to be viewed more favorably in recent decades than it was at the time;
3) No outcome resembling that of the Korean War could ever come about in Iraq in any way that anyone could possibly imagine, unless they were very drunk and possibly high on crystal meth.

In other words, John McCain and Dick Morris' bright idea about Iraq is nonsensical, undesirable, and impossible.

Don't forget though, McCain is Very Strong on Foreign Policy.


Raul Groom said...

Just to get the discussion rolling, allow me to follow up.

People love to talk about how September 11th changed everything, and indeed it did change many things.

The first, coarse lesson that people learned was it was important to trust the Serious People Who Understand Foreign Policy.

Unfortunately for various reasons having to do with the structure of American communications economy the Serious People Who Understand Foreign Policy brand has been controlled for many years by Republicans and right-wing Democrats.

Thus our first reaction as a country after was to cede complete unchecked control over the nation's foreign policy to the owners of this brand, who conveniently enough had always argued* that the President and his party should have total control over US foreign policy.

In the end it turned out that Serious Foreign Policy People actually don't know anything about foreign policy other than how to get a whole bunch of people killed for no good reason at all. This has been true forever but about once in a generation everyone goes crazy and forgets for a minute and then a gigantic, stupid war happens.

And here we are.


Raul Groom said...

* when Republicans were in the White House