Friday, May 29, 2009

Foreign Relations Advice for President Obama

Dear President Obama,

North Korea’s recent underground detonation of a nuclear weapon following multiple test missile launches, as well as its declaration that the 1953 armistice that effectively ended the Korean war “no longer applies,” are actions and words that you, the United States, and the rest of the world for that matter, can no longer tolerate. On the same day in April that you were giving a speech in Prague on international disarmament, North Korea test-fired a multi-stage missile (the Taepodong-2) over the Pacific Ocean. As I’m sure you are aware this missile is capable of being armed with a nuclear warhead and of reaching the western United States. In going through with the test firing of this missile North Korea ignored a prior warning from you that doing so would be “provocative”. Then on May 25, North Korea detonated a nuclear bomb underground, which was their second detonation of a nuclear device in three years. And as I’m sure you know this explosion was four times the size of the 2006 nuclear blast according to seismic readings, showing progress by the North Koreans in solving the problems their weapons program faced three years ago. Following Monday’s nuclear test, you declared that North Korea’s actions were “directly and recklessly challenging the international community,” and that “such provocations will only serve to deepen North Korea’s isolation.”

Mr. President, I mean this with the utmost respect but Kim Jong-il is totally fucking with you dude. He knows you’re a neophyte president with zero experience in foreign relations, he knows you’re not prepared to back up any of your empty threats, and he knows you have no intention of coming after him. So you know what you do next? You call his bluff. You call his bluff and you go gangsta on his pinko commie ass. Send over the Navy Seals, or the FBI Snipers, or Black Op’s, or whatever top secret military “Michael Bourne” killing machine shit you’ve got up your presidential sleeve, and assassinate that creepy little fucker before he disrespects you anymore.

Seriously Mr. President, you continue to push for the “six-party talks” (North Korea has an open invitation to negotiate a reduction in its nuclear activities with Russia, China, the U.S., South Korea, and Japan in exchange for increased aid and more normalized diplomatic relations) even though North Korea has a history of neglecting to live up to the promises it makes within the framework of the six-party talks and instead soaks up all the aid it can get before pulling away and resuming its illicit nuclear activities. Talk is cheap Mr. President, and clearly any further negotiations with North Korea would amount to nothing more than an exercise in futility.

What’s even worse is that despite all of your stern threats you continue to supply North Korea with shipments of food and energy aid. In fact the United States is the largest donor of such aid to North Korea. I understand that it’s a destitute and famine-ridden state and that the citizens of North Korea are innocent victims in this whole thing, but fuck those guys. If Kim Jong-il wants to play hard ball, let’s play some fucking hard ball. Unfortunately collateral damage is almost entirely unavoidable when dealing with a heartless, piece of shit dictator like Jong-il.

We’ve all heard your pleas to the nuclear members of the international community to divest themselves of their arsenals and join you in the pursuit of your vision of “a world without nuclear weapons.” While ideologies are all good and fine, it’s time to wake up and face reality, Mr. President. The world is a fucked up place. Many of its nations, including North Korea, are run by delusional, power hungry lunatics with no regard for your ideological visions let alone human life. And unfortunately when dealing with these individuals it may at times be necessary to abandon your ideals and do what is necessary to protect our interests both abroad and at home. Nobody ever said being the President of the United States would be easy or pleasant. The time has come to wipe the smirk off that commie bastard’s little face. You’re from Chicago, Mr. President, so show him how we do it mafia style. Hit him hard, hit him fast, and hit him when he least expects it. In other words hit him right now. Better reckanize Kim Jong-il, you bad hair-do wearing, little mother fucker, we’ve got a borrowed scud and it’s got your name written all over it.

And while I have your attention Mr. President, there is one other thing I wanted to bring up. It is widely known that one of the many campaign promises you made during your election was to cut off government investment in a functional missile defense system. It is also widely known that both the White House and the Pentagon are actively working together to fulfill this promise. While I understand that a promise is a promise, and that we are like $11 trillion in debt as it is, don’t you think it might be a bad time to halt spending on a nuclear missile defense system when North Korea is on the verge of perfecting a warhead delivery vehicle capable of reaching the United States? I’m just saying.

Give em hell, Mr. President.


The Quinsey Blog


Emily Joyce said...

(My response, part 1)

With all due respect to your articulate and thoughtfully-worded rant, your advice for Mr. Obama is not only frighteningly extreme, hawkish, and reminiscent of disastrous Bush-era foreign policy, it is wholly and completely out of touch with the reality of the globalized world community in which we live today.

Today’s community of nations is one that is ruled by more than the internet and capital markets. In fact, even these two higher powers conduct themselves within the framework to which I refer: that of international law. Now, I recognize that for many disbelievers and cynics out there, “international law” invokes images of liberal, overly indulgent, United Nations-loving, human rights-preaching idealists who might climb or even hug trees in their spare time. But in reality, international law is a whole lot more than that (and I have a 1,700 page, 10-pound book to prove it). International law seeks to monitor nuclear activity among errant nations (I said “seeks”); provides a framework for the cross-border trade of goods, services and people; protects artists and researchers from piracy; streamlines foreign direct investment and multinational expansion; establishes laws against the sexploitation of children and provides refuge for internally displaced peoples; ensures the oceans remain independent yet protected territory. In a nutshell, international law is a good thing.

And without it, without the global rule of law that we consider so essential on a domestic level, the world order would be something like, well, Somalia. And while lawlessness and piracy on the high seas looks like a whole lot of fun in the movies (thanks in part to the brilliance of Johnny Depp) I don’t think this is the type of world we wish to live in, or one in which you want to raise your children.

The reason I mention all this, is because the advice which you offer to President Obama, beseeching him to “go gangsta” on the “commie ass” of Kim Jong-Il and assassinate him, would be none other than a blatantly illegal use of force, in complete and utter violation of the international laws that, for more than a century, have guided the manner in which nations enter into and conduct war. As a typically decent nation, we have for the most part (torture scandals aside) respected these laws, and have long recognized their value in protecting our own national security and the lives of our servicemen and women overseas. (I can hear your protest now… but just because one nation’s leader doesn’t follow the rules, that doesn’t mean we should all follow suit. I think we have learned that lesson time and time again.)

I will avoid commencing here on a diatribe about what the laws of war state, and what are the international laws and treaties that have long governed the use of force and the right to national sovereignty. I assume you know the basics, and thus can recognize that entering the territory of a sovereign state and assassinating its leader isn’t exactly justified under these long-standing rules.

And I am sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but the U.S. is no longer a superpower that can act alone and in its own interests without consequences. Even Tom Friedman gets that we are just one member of a vast network of states on which we are reliant, and to which we are vitally and intricately connected. It is naïve and misguided to think that U.S. Navy Seals can parachute into the DPRK, kill its leader, and return home unscathed and without any repercussions to the global community. The world in which we live today is not a Hollywood movie, thankfully so. It is a lawful society, yet these laws will only work if we all abide by them – just like at home, within our own borders.

Emily Joyce said...

(My response, part 2)

International laws aside, do something Bush/Cheney/Rumsfeld didn’t do: think about it. Setting aside the domestic havoc this would create within North Korea, as well as the likelihood that an extended post-Jong-Il occupation by the U.S. Army would be deemed essential (after all, not only is there not a single viable successor to the Jong-Il throne that we know of – apart from a potential puppet tied to US strings – the North Koreans do not exactly have substantial experience with the democratic process) there is no telling what kind of ripple effect such a belligerent move would have on the global community. China for one would not exactly be thrilled; one can only imagine the potential reaction of this highly significant and militarily capable nation.

And in any event, I ask you to name one time in history when taking out a dictator – or the leader of any nation – turned out to be a good thing for the United States. Recent history certainly proves otherwise, and I am pretty sure that a thorough review of all such historical events would reveal similarly disastrous results in the short or long run.

Finally, while your “fuck those guys” sentiment indicates an utter lack of compassion for the North Korean people, I would like to remind you that they are nonetheless human beings who just happen to have been given a dose of bad luck. And while they may be far away on a distant shore, they are nonetheless part of this human race, no better or worse than we Americans are. Two things we do have over them is wealth and freedom, and if these two gifts allow us to help a little by providing food aid to people that are starving, then this is what we as a decent society should do.

In essence, despite being a “neophyte” president with little foreign policy experience, Obama is a wise man. He recognizes the tremendous potential of our nation’s ability to wield soft power, and I for one voted for him because I had faith that he would conduct diplomacy as it was meant to be conducted: diplomatically. Free of threats and free of scare tactics that have proven to be futile and demoralizing to both us AND them, particularly during the past eight years. Therefore I am counting on this President to avoid such rash and hawkish moves like the one you suggest. And while I find your post amusing and mildly entertaining, I will sleep well tonight knowing that our President is not taking your advice.