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Journal: Kill-Boxing with Shadows

Journal by watchful.babbler
Nick Kristof over at the NYT writes today that "several factions in the administration are serious about a military strike [against North Korea] if diplomacy fails." Since the Administration seems unwilling to even begin diplomacy with the DPRK, Kristof argues, failure is essentially the only option.

Kristof is a career journalist, and certainly not a man without biases, but both today's column and the recent one excoriating Bush's foreign-policy idealism hit the mark rather directly: the current Administration is showing dangerous signs of tunnel vision, if not incompetency.

I'm not on the side of The Nation on this one -- if you can't convince me to embark on a war of imperial expansion, you're not trying at all -- but I'm forced to agree with former Army General and NATO Commander Wesley Clark: it's the wrong war, in the wrong place, at the wrong time ... but we've come too far to back down now. Whatever the many fine reasons to forcing Saddam Hussein to relinquish power (I've always preferred a tribunal on war crimes in Iraq; a warrant for Hussein, his family and his Tikriti compatriots; and a speedy extraction by military force a la the Balkans conflict), the conflict over Iraq is simply diverting us from important rebuilding goals in Afghanistan, diplomatic goals in North Korea, and military goals against terror worldwide.

The simple truth is that American foreign policy is writing checks that our allies must ultimately cash (to mix an already muddled metaphor). After all, North Korea's policy now, as it was at the time of the first Korean War, is to combine a surprise attack on South Korea with saturation bombing of American logistical points -- primarily, our bases in Japan, which not only serve the immediate region, but also act as a vital logistical nexus for actions in the Gulf theatre. It is our forces, but Japan's civilians, who will bear the brunt of any failure in diplomacy -- and that, so far, has not been acknowledged by the Administration.

I don't have any use for bodyguards, but I do have a specific use for two highly trained certified public accountants. -- Elvis Presley

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