Some Thoughts on the Situation in North Korea and China

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This is what our forefathers warned against, in Thomas Jefferson’s inaugural address he declared: “peace, commerce, and honest friendship with all nations. Entangling alliances with none.” This was a reaffirmation of George Washington’s policy, also known as The Washington Doctrine of Unstable Alliances. Washington, in his farewell address, stated: “It is our true policy to steer clear of permanent alliances with any portion of the foreign world.” Regrettably, we have strayed far from that doctrine.

Some disputes are unavoidable it is a complex world. However, in the building of our empire, the United States has become far too involved around the globe. While our intent was to expand our military presence, the unintended consequences have been many entangling permanent alliances. Since our current situation with North Korea is the reason I’m writing this, I’ll set aside the easy examples like the United Nations and NATO, and instead focus on examples in the Pacific region. We clearly did not listen to the words of Jefferson in 1898 when we took Guam and Hawaii to use as Pacific military outposts. We definitely did not heed Washington’s advice when we intervened in Korea and made promises to the South Koreans. Likewise, we did not listen to Washington or Jefferson after World War II. Japan was a cruel, violent, aggressive empire and it is easy to see why we wanted to cripple its military. However, Japan acted as a counterbalance to the Chinese empire until our occupation of Japan and subsequent rewriting of their constitution, which prevented them from having offensive military capabilities.

Without competition, China has been able to take over the entire region through economic means, creating a nearly uncheckable Chinese empire, with a pit bull named North Korea. This puts the United States in a difficult situation because China benefits from us being over extended and we have made commitments to the people of Guam, South Korea, and Japan. If we do not respond to North Korea’s aggression, then our word means nothing and our allies would rightly look elsewhere to protect themselves. Personally, I am okay with breaking these commitments, but if we are indeed to break them, we need to be decisive and open about it. If we are to tell these people, “sorry we made promises we shouldn’t have made. You are on your own,” then we have to fully commit to that position and to the implications that come with it. Implications such as: actual attacks by North Korea, Russia moving further into Europe, and Iran going all out in their own nuclear proliferation. I’m willing to face all of that, but I don’t believe most Americans are. More importantly; I don’t think the people making these decisions are ready to take ownership, disengage, and accept responsibility.

Until the people in the White House and at the Pentagon summon the courage to face the backlash that would come from such a withdrawal, the United States will continue to dig the hole deeper and create more blowback. My fear is that we will not heed the words of our forefathers, and instead we will make the same misguided mistake of intervening that we made once before in Korea, as well as Vietnam, Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Egypt, and Syria. The investment was not worth the blowback in all those cases and intervening in North Korea now would be no different.

* Benji Buckles is the co-founder of the Alt Libertarian Movement.

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4 COMMENTS

  1. The Founders were acting from an educated base wherein they understood the pitfalls of the very situation in which we find ourselves. The basis of our expansion began with protecting allies and especially trading partners. Jefferson was the creator of the modern Navy when he conscripted ships to protect our trade routes in the Med from the ancestors of the current terrorists. It is easy to be pure from a distance and pontificate about how the country has gone off the rails since our founding but, sadly, those we’ve chosen to lead us have a very different perspective than we and the Founders. This will end as all empires from Rome to England to the USSR ended. In pain. Maybe in the aftermath, whoever takes over will once again heed the message of the Constitution and the Federalists’ reasons for it.

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