During my lifetime I have observed and indeed participated in this country’s well-meaning but almost universally rejected attempts to win the hearts and minds of other countries. Our efforts have come after invading those places under the guise of the “domino theory”, halting the spread of nuclear weapons, eradicating terrorists, world policeman, and other such noble objectives that seem to disappear under close scrutiny. Most recently, we invaded Afghanistan and Iraq absolutely certain that those oppressed folks would rally around us, be grateful for our liberation, and start down the path of the one true form of government: democracy. Didn’t happen. The rose petals that our troops were supposed to be showered with became IEDs. No one was happy were there.
The same was true of Vietnam in the late 1960’s and early 1970’s. The United States invested trillions in blood and treasure only to succeed in delaying the communist takeover by perhaps ten years at the cost of hundreds of thousands of local lives. Our goals might have been noble but the vast gulf between the local population and our way of thinking was simply too enormous to bridge.
Perhaps, finally we have learned our lesson. Stay home, hang up our world policeman’s baton, and hope we can ferret out domestic terrorist attack before they happen. It would be nice if the world was as simple as that. Who wouldn’t take an occasional subway bombing to World War III? As questionable as our leadership appears at times, even they do recognize we must continue to be powerful on the world stage. In fact, it just may be a perception of weakness in the Whitehouse that embolden Vladmir Putin to invade Ukraine and lay waste to that poor country.
I find it incredibly ironical that finally a country that has at least as an outline of democratic principles and lifestyles not so different from our own is begging for our help. We have turned the other cheek with good reason. Putkin has been sufficiently erratic in his behavior to give us grave concern about his finger on a nuclear trigger. We are helping through goods and ammunition but must stand calmy by as the Russia destroys the country’s infrastructure and mutilates the populace, something we would not have done in decades past. No, we cannot invade that unfortunate country but somehow, we need to assist the ending of the slaughter. For once a country really wants our help and we won’t move.
Is there anyone in the room who does not see why boy-child Kim Jong-un in North Korea so badly wants his nukes?