Vice President Dick Cheney, having perused the list of President-elect Barack Obama’s selections to fill vital national security positions, has announced that he is impressed and that America can rest assured that the nation’s security and foreign policy is in good hands.
This coming from the man that brought us Richard Perle, Paul Wolfowicz, Douglas Feith, and the rest of the clowns who spent the ’90’s writing about getting rid of Saddam Hussein and remaking the Middle East into a shining beacon of Democracy and Freedom, and then got conned into believing their Iraq invasion dreams were realistic by an Iraqi exile who just wanted to take Saddam’s place and by an Iranian double/triple agent who made fools of a bunch of other clowns in the Reagan administration who got their secret agent decoder rings out of a bubblegum machine before they “accidentally” and “mistakenly” dropped a few million U.S. taxpayer dollars into offshore accounts of the Iranian double/triple agent.
Gosh, if I were a National Security guy, I’d certainly want Dick Cheney’s endorsement. Not.
Face it, these guys came to Washington with impeccable national security credentials in the eyes of the average American citizen who just does not pay attention to what actually happens. We’re all too damn busy parroting the garbage that the spinmeisters spew to stop, take a breath, and note that what we’re being told just does not match up with what we can actually see.
Dick Cheney and President Bush championed democracy in the Middle East. A noble and just cause. The devil is in the details. Democracy in Palestine brought us Hamas-dominated government. Democracy in Lebanon brought us a government in which Hezbollah, a group labeled as terrorist by our freedom-loving President, won a very real and very legitimate stake. Hey, sometimes that’s the way the votes fall in democratic elections. Look what kept happening here.
Dick Cheney’s hand-picked national security team helped President Bush look into Vladimir Putin’s eyes in the romantic city of Moscow and see into the soul of a good man and a good friend. I’ve got old Cold War buddies still chuckling over that one. All it takes is one person looking meaningfully into another person’s eyes to send the group into fits of hiccupping and laughter. I think the good folks of Georgia, Ukraine, and Poland have a few choice words to say about Dick Cheney and gang’s foreign policy expertise. Some of my old Cold War buddies can translate. They get a good chuckle out of that, too.
Mr. Putin has come to the conclusion that the one thing lacking in the Middle East is weaponry. Sophisticated weaponry. To remedy that situation, he has decided to sell, at a hefty discount, 10 Mig-29’s to that hot bed of stability in the region known as Lebanon. You remember them, don’t you? The country with the terrorists elected to the national government? Golly gosh and gee whiz. I’ll bet that the real tricky Dicky (Cheney) saw that coming. Not.
I’ll tell you who did see it coming. My friend, the history instructor, who did his masters thesis on the Iraqi revolution of 1958. He’s been watching the Russians and the Chinese make inroads throughout the Middle East and North Africa for quite some time now. He saw these inroads happening even before President Bush and Vlad were making googly-eyes at each other. Betcha he’s not on Cheney’s short list of qualified national security experts, though. To win that ringing endorsement, my friend would have to be caught by surprise by the Russian moves.
Granted, 10 Mig-29’s do not tip the balance of power in the Middle East. But, does anybody really believe that it’s a good thing that Lebanon has them? And does anybody really believe that the delivery will stop at 10 Mig-29’s? It’s just one more complication that that particular region of the world does not need. Where the hell has the President’s resident Russia expert, Condoleeza Rice, been while Russia has been gaining a foothold in the Middle East not seen since the seventies? She and Dick Cheney couldn’t come up with any kind of counter move to blunt Russia’s growing influence? These are the national security experts?
These same national security experts castigated the Clinton administration back in the ’90’s over its deals with North Korea. They were too soft, we were told. Just wait until the experts grab the national security reins. You won’t see Kim Jong IL pull the wool over our experienced eyes, they told us. We’ll show him.
Yup. We keep showing him, all right. We keep giving him food, and he keeps shooting off his mouth and missiles. Condoleeza Rice told us that we are at an impasse because North Korea won’t let us verify that they’ve curtailed their nuclear weapons program. But, don’t worry, she said. They’re not producing weapons-grade plutonium.
Uhhhhhh…….Condi? If they won’t let you in, then how do you know? Sounds a lot like the Clinton dealings with the NK’s to me. I’m certainly no national security expert like Condi and Dicky, but I will tell you this: all those little intercultural exchanges instituted between North and South Korea in recent years? Discontinued. Telephone and telecommunications lines linking the two Koreas to promote good will, however limited? Cut. Trade agreements facilitating South Korean businesses an entry into North Korean markets? Unilaterally withdrawn by Kim and/or his minions. And North Korea is circulating documents purporting to spell out South Korean plans to assassinate the Dear Leader and commit terrorist acts against the DPRK.
Sounds to me like North Korea is working its way up to either war or extracting some more concessions out of our national security experts. North Korea would be foolish to launch a war against South Korea. This is not the South Korea of the 50’s, 60’s, and even 70’s when I was stationed there. They’ve got a pretty impressive military machine and a pretty impressive economy, and they would probably wipe the mountains up with North Korea when all is said and done. But, it wouldn’t be pretty. Most of South Korea north of Seoul, including Seoul, would be destroyed and a lot of blood would be shed, with or without American help.
That’s the prospect facing the incoming national security team. Keep in mind that Dick Cheney and his national security team have been studying and writing about the problem on the Korean peninsula since the 80’s and 90’s, and they’ve been the guys calling the shots since 2001. The only difference between the Clinton days and today is that today the North Koreans have actual real nuclear weapons and actual real delivery systems capable of hitting Japan and Alaska. Thank God, Dick Cheney’s got Sarah Palin covering Alaska.
At least the current national security team recognizes the dangers and has repositioned a dozen F-22’s to Okinawa and another dozen to Guam to backstop the Air Force assets already based in South Korea. But, I can’t help wondering why, if they knew all about the mistakes that the Clinton people made with North Korea, they went ahead and continued down the same road.
With Dick Cheney’s track record, perhaps Barack Obama should rethink his national security team in light of the Vice President’s endorsement.