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The America Show
Jesus and Mordy
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Conservatives Are From Mars, Liberals Are From San Francisco
by Burt Prelutsky
by Mark Steyn
by J. F. Kelly, Jr. [writer]
observed America’s Forth of July holiday with a fireworks
display of its own. Kim Jong Il, North Korea’s ruling
madman, responded to repeated warnings from Washington and
its allies by firing a small barrage of missiles including
a Taedong-II said to be capable of reaching Alaska, Hawaii
and parts of the west coast states. The latter blew up shortly
after liftoff, its intended destination unknown.
North Korea, an economic disaster, its Stalinist government
unable to feed its people or conceal from the world their wretched
living conditions, directly provoke the world’s top two
economic giants including the only superpower? Simply because
it can. Its “Dear Leader” may be consumed with
ego and determination to hold onto power at any cost but he
is not a fool. He knows that the United States is fully committed
militarily in Iraq and Afghanistan and that Japan as yet poses
no military challenge, which could quickly change if a North
Korean missile happens to end up on Japanese real estate. Nor
is Kim suicidal. He knows that an attack on the United States,
Japan or U.S. forces in South Korea would result in his assured
destruction. But he can with impunity stick his finger in the
giant’s eye, knowing that the response will consist of
long-winded demands for U.N. sanctions which will be vetoed
by his reliable allies, China and Russia.
J.F. Kelly, Jr.
Kelly, Jr. is a retired Navy Captain and bank executive
who writes on current events and military subjects.
He is a resident of Coronado, California. [go to Kelly index]
Dear Leader has little to offer his people besides a strong
military which he built by virtually starving them and denying
them any kind of prosperity. He attempts to divert their attention
from their miserable conditions by saber rattling and bombast
directed against the U. S. and its allies. But the stark contrast
in living conditions between north and south demonstrate the
successes of capitalism and democracy and the failures of his
government. His long suffering subjects increasingly recognize
that the living is easier down south and he is driven to even
more desperate attempts at diversion.
South Korea prefers to use the carrot instead of the stick in
attempting to modify the behavior of its belligerent neighbor.
Who can blame it? It fears that a precipitous collapse in the
north would trigger widespread migration into the south and that
integration under such conditions would results in huge economic
stresses on the Seoul government such as West Germany incurred
incident to the unification of Germany.
China, too, is concerned over the prospects of more impoverished
North Korean fleeing across its northeast border and has a selfish
interest in maintaining the status quo as its patron and ally.
Russia, to a lesser degree, has similar interests, so Kim can
likely continue to rely on their vetoes against any effective
U.N. action if, indeed, it were capable of any.
But North Korea is
more than just a minor irritant to the U.S. and its allies.
Much of the threat it poses derives from its
role as a weapons supplier to nations unfriendly to the United
States including Iran and Syria. SS-N-6 ballistic missiles in
Iran obtained from North Korea pose a direct threat to Israel,
a threat too grave to ignore. Unfortunately, President Bush’s
options are limited by a military that has been too downsized
to take on another major contingency while we are still engaged
in the Middle East and by the uncertain prospects of public support
for another major military action. His response, therefore, has
been confined to appeals for economic sanctions and almost pleading
calls for global unity. But in this crisis, as in crises of the
past, global unity will prove to be elusive and the U.N. will
again demonstrate its uselessness.
Ronald Reagan was
instrumental in the collapse of the Soviet Union by his actions
and perseverance in expanding our armed
forces and pursuing the Strategic Defense Initiative, derisively
called “Star Wars” by its detractors, against the
almost hysterical objections of Moscow and our own domestic doves.
The Soviets, of course, had good reason to oppose it. They knew
that they could never match American resources and technology
under a determined president and they simply quit trying and
Our missile defense
system today is far from perfect but it is progressing. Five
of nine test shots were successful, admittedly
under carefully controlled circumstances which are normal at
this stage of development. Detractors continue to voice concerns
over cost and say the system would be overwhelmed by massive
missile attacks. But recall the system was first intended as
a defense against a limited attack by rogue nations. North Korea
and Iran fit that description. We know, and they should, that
American technology will be up to the challenge. My experiences
in command of guided missile ships convince me of that. Today’s
Aegis cruisers and destroyers, such as the USS Mustin, recently
home ported in Japan, are integral parts of the missile defense
system. Their mobility permits them to patrol anywhere on the
high seas giving them the ability to detect and engage hostile
missiles in the more vulnerable early stage of their trajectory.
We have 22 Ticonderoga class Aegis cruisers and will eventually
have 62 Arleigh Burke class Aegis destroyers.
The enduring lesson of the Reagan era that needs to be recalled
at times like these is that security is best assured not by total
reliance on diplomacy and sanctions but also by maintaining military
strength sufficient to give the president multiple options. Our
military forces must be sized to meet any realistic threats,
not just one or two of the likeliest. We may not have the luxury
of engaging them one or two at a time. CRO
2006 J. F. Kelly, Jr.