In response to Wise Golden Retriever’s post My Turn (which is a response to my response), let me make the comment that I enjoy this debate tremendously. Thank you for taking the time to carefully explain your positions and thoughts without trying to call me names.
I too am no expert in these matters. It is apparent, though, that our experts have even done a good job in all this, nor that as American citizens we should trust these experts to do anything but advise us. Let’s use our God-given gifts of speech and thought and reason together to find the best solution.
Your comparison of Puerto Rico and Cuba is interesting. I don’t know enough about the history of these island nations to make a comment. I am pretty sure that we did more than flood Puerto Rico with cash. I am pretty sure we showed up with muscle as well, both to protect our investment and to keep those who were up to no good in check. I don’t know one way or the other, though.
About our economic might being a powerful tool, I want to emphasize that in my experience living in South Korea, the Korean people (the vast majority of them) don’t recognize the huge benefit the US has brought to the Korean people. Their economic roadmap was built on the assumption that they could make things Americans would buy. Well, they did and we did, and so they had the critical foreign currency to build up their country into an economic powerhouse.
But the Korean people don’t see it that way. (The business leaders and political leaders do, however, and are quite careful not to do anything to hurt that critical relationship.) They aren’t making a choice between socialism and capitalism based on how much benefit the US has been–they are making the choices for purely selfish reasons.
What the US does do, and did do, however, was to put down communist revolutions. When people decided to abandon the ballot box and the soap box and turn to the ammo box, the US sent in Korean troops, backed by US might, to put down the insurgencies with excessive force.
That’s the real, bloody reason why communism never took hold in South Korea. Communism propagates by force, and since the Americans used force to keep it suppressed, it never succeeded.
It’s a bloody history, one which communists use to hurt America’s image even today. (That’s why we’re called baby killers by the North Koreans–many children were killed in the purges because the communists hid in the villages.) But it’s the truth, and it was absolutely necessary. We won South Korea with blood and bullets, not dollars and nice words.
Notice that after so many years of carrots and sticks, North Korea is still communist, still our worst enemy, and still starving to death. Words and money don’t convince anyone to give up their homicidal intentions. Only bullets do.
Now, turning to Iraq, we were literally throwing cash around after we easily crushed the Iraqi military. You could walk up to a GI, ask for money for a school or a mosque or a factory, and get it, with little strings attached. But this wasn’t turning the hearts and minds of the people towards the US. They were still wavering between Al Qaeda and Muqtada and other terrorists groups.
In comes the surge, and a new doctrine, the Petreaus strategy. The doctrine was something akin to “take and hold”. We move into a town, we stay. We develop close relationships with the locals, giving them the impression that we will never leave them with our actions. The locals, when they realized we were serious and were serious about dealing death as well as cash, they turned to our sides. Not because they were scared of us, but because they were scared of them, and now they were no longer a threat because G. I. Joe is camped in your backyard with patrols running 24 hours a day with air support. And no number of suicide bombers or road-side bombs were making G. I. Joe go home.
When and only when we have completely seized the hearts and minds of the locals, and driven out every terrorist, and returned life to completely normal, then we turn over the keys to the locals and move the frontlines to some other neighboring town. And if there was ever a resurgence, then we moved back in town to do it all over again, this time more carefully.
Notice that money had nothing to do with it–it was a display of force, superior, overwhelming force. Our men could fight and win every time, it was simply a matter of fighting. When we showed the people not only that we could fight and win, but that we would fight and win, then they knew they could trust us.
Now, my vision of what will happen in Iran is one of two things, and only two things. (I can’t imagine any other likely future.)
Scenario A is the least likely to work. We wag our finger at Iran, impose sanctions, and maybe bomb a few underground bunkers. We keep wagging our finger for the next five hundred years and never have a problem with the Iranians again.
This is unlikely, because this is what we did to Iraq and North Korea and pretty much everywhere else and they didn’t leave us alone. This policy of containment earned us the Cold War, a terrifying war that threatened world destruction at any moment. It simply doesn’t work the way people wish it did.
Scenario B is the most likely to work because it has worked everywhere it has been tried. We obliterate the government of Iran with overwhelming force. We strike hard and fast, like Iraq. Then we use General Petraeus’s counter-insurgency manual to slowly and deliberately destroy whatever insurgent network is left. Village by village, town by town, city by city, working closely with the locals, we drive them out or kill them. After 20 years of fighting, we see Iran has been completely purged of the radical Islam element bent on bringing nuclear holocaust to the world. Those that remain are sincerely pro-American, enjoying the blessings of liberty, and fully in control of their government. After 50 years of invited occupation, we see that Iran is fast becoming one of the world’s economic super-powers, along with our previously defeated enemies of Germany, Japan, Iraq, and Korea.
Either way, Iran is supporting terrorist elements worldwide with weapons, training, and funds. Iran must be stopped, and that is something we all agree with.
I understand that as peace-loving Americans (and believe me, I want peace as much as anyone else!) we really, really don’t like to go around killing people. It’s not nice, sometimes we get the wrong guys, and worst of all, sometimes we end up killing some children that were in the way. War is terribly, it is absolutely hellish, and I wonder why, sometimes, God created a world where war is an absolutely necessary part of life.
But when we ponder the alternative–at best, containment, at worst, Nazi Germany of the 30′s–then we see why we have to fight when people make threats and point their guns and missiles and nuclear arsenals at us. We simply cannot tolerate living in a world where there are guys out there trying to kill us and plotting our deaths, and we must be willing to kill them first or face the consequences of letting them live and conspire against us.
But most of all, we see that there really are people in these countries who would rather live and let live, and they need simply be freed from the threats of our mutual aggressors. We see the choice is between letting an aggressive government live and persecute her own people as well as threaten ours, or freeing the people to enjoy the same blessings of liberty that we enjoy in addition to neutralizing a threat. In that case, there is even more reason to meet threats with violence, because it brings peace and liberty and prosperity in the long term.
So that’s why Huckabee is wrong, wrong, wrong on this issue. If we were to adopt his touchy-feely-lovey-dovey approach, we would be worse off for it. We must remember that only superior strength and the willingness to use that strength righteously when necessary brings about peace and liberty and economic prosperity for all.