Hard as it may be to admit but no US soldier has died for America’s freedom since like 1945. Yes, hundreds of thousands have died in different battlefields but the battles they fought were economic wars that had absolutely nothing to do with America’s freedom or her values.
It is difficult to think of the last time the United States wasn’t on the verge of waging a war against a nation that posed no real threat to the mainland US. Proponents of recent wars would argue that the wars were fought for humanitarian reasons; to free people from despotic regimes, to rid people of murderous dictators so a democratic system of Government could flourish that would ensure basic human rights and give its’ citizens better prospects for life but how does one judge whether a humanitarian crisis in a certain region is worth the lives of thousands of American men and women? For example, it was believed, at the time, that Saddam regime gassing over a million people in 1980s and 1990s was not worth a military response but all of a sudden, its’ threat to manufacture WMDs and invade Saudi Arabia (which would have disrupted global oil supplies), merited a full-on military invasion that would ultimately lead to 4,373 American soldiers laid to rest in peace.
After 14 years of the Iraqi invasion, the world is facing another murderous tyrant threatening to invade and annihilate neighboring nations, and I’m not talking about Putin.
There’s a clear difference between Kim Jong-Un and any other dictator that has ever lived — he is not very clever — and that’s what makes him one of the most dangerous.
A man with no ideology could sway to and fro with minutes apart. How he sees the world and what he believes are the solutions to some of our problems depend strictly upon who the last person he saw, was. Give him nukes and you immediately make the world less safe. And I’m not talking about Donald Trump.
Why is there no military option in North Korea?
To understand why a puny little nation like North Korea would provoke the biggest military complex that has ever existed, we first need to examine how Kim Jong-Un governs his people.
The Kim dynasty stretching back to Kim Jong-Un’s grandfather has relied upon foreign conflicts to subdue their people. Wars have a way of bringing a nation together, this is a universal fact and one I shall come back to later in this article. It is imperative for North Koreans to always be on the verge of a war either with South Korea, Japan, or even the United States (we’ve always been at war with Eurasia). North Koreans have tried to assassinate South Korean Presidents in the past, they are provocateurs who use foreign conflicts to keep domestic dissidence under control with no intention of waging a full-scale multi-national war.
The most important recent development is China’s decision to put trade restrictions on North Korea. Trump, ever since he came into the office, has tried to engage China in America’s dealings with Kim Jong-Un, which is the right thing to do since China is North Korea’s biggest trading partner and corridor to the world. But though the Chinese trade restrictions have symbolic significance, they might not be as effective to bring North Korea to the table as most perceive. The North Korean economy has been growing and even with reduced economic activity with China, it will continue to drag on. And besides, the North Koreans have faced tougher economic situations, and as bad as their lives currently are, they are much better off today than they were a few decades ago.
Second of all, China is strongly opposed to preemptive strikes against the North Korean regime and if the United States were to defy their will, Chinese could sell US treasury bonds and create a run on our markets, which is why it is as important as it is difficult to engage Chinese to take the lead role on disarming North Korea but then again, there is no way Kim Jong-Un would agree to cross table talks, the legitimacy of his rule is based upon North Korea’s international conflicts and by demonstrating an active willingness to resolve some of the issues, he would be detonating the facade that his father and grandfather built their regime on. Any efforts by the United States to engage in negotiations with North Korea are essentially efforts to force a regime change.
The fact that we are even seriously considering a war with the North Koreans is due to the fact that it has been a while since the mainland United States has been directly threatened (even if the threats pose no credibility). While analyzing past wars and their failures, one is prone to put blame on the President or the intelligence officials without sufficiently examining the role mainstream media played in hyping up the prospects of war for the sake of building on viewership. Journalists are quick to seek the 1st Amendment cover but have little concern for the thousands of American men and women that might be sent to harm’s way as a result of their sensational reporting.
Even though the South Korean military is much more technologically advanced, their North Korean counterparts have the quantitative advantage because they have exhausted their state resources at the Soviet era conventional weaponry, therefore, even if you take away their thermo-nuclear arsenal, they could still unleash 300,000 rounds on South Koreans within an hour, resulting in tens of thousands of casualties. This has been North Korea’s deterrence mechanism against the United States. They know that as long as they hold hostage the millions that reside in Seoul, neither the United States nor South Korea will carry out any preemptive strikes but they also know that if they were to initiate a full-scale military attack against South Korea, the United States could bomb them out of existence without ever having American boots on ground.
So in short, the escalation with North Korea will not lead to anything. China wants to be seen as one of the leaders in resolving global conflicts and cutting coal exports from North Korea is a step toward reiterating the role China could play in Asian politics. And as naive as Kim Jong-Un is, he knows that he doesn’t stand a chance against the military complex of America and as for the rest of the world, we know that we cannot make military advances against the Kim regime until we have a procedure to safely evacuate 50 Million South Koreans. Therefore, in the foreseeable future, there is no military option in the Korean peninsula even if General Mattis, Donald Trump or Rex Tillerson say otherwise.
How likely is the Venezuelan Invasion?
In Venezuela, however, the situation is different. Venezuela along with most of Latin America has been absent from Trump’s populist economic vision for the United States, which is another break from what we have come to expect from American Presidents. Even past Republican Presidential candidates, Senator McCain and Governor Mitt Romney, made promoting trade in Latin America a huge part of their economic agenda. They offered ideas and financial aid to South American nations to up their infrastructure that would make trade with Northern America more feasible but Donald Trump hasn’t even used trade in Latin America as a political talking point let alone introduce programs to provide financial aid for the South American economies, which would actually be a more feasible investment to curb illegal immigration from South America than a border wall.
In the United Nations speech that Stephen Miller drafted for Trump, concerning Venezuela, Donald Trump said that the United States could intervene in the South American nation and help the people ‘recover their country’. Venezuela is not the only country that Trump has threatened with a military invasion, a few months back he indicated that if the Mexican Government were to fail to put a hold on drug trade on their land, he might send American troops down there to deal with it.
Venezuelan people have protested against their Government, sometimes those confrontations have turned violent that ended with civilian casualties but despite that, it hasn’t quite escalated to the point that we are seeing in Syria so why would clashes in Venezuela merit a military invasion for humanitarian purposes when a civil war in Syria didn’t?
Besides from the fact that Venezuela, like Iraq under Hussein, sits on one of the biggest oil reserves in the world, there are multiple implications that would make an American invasion of Venezuela, ultimately inevitable.
One of the first justifications for a Venezuelan invasion is America’s inability to invade North Korea. The ‘shows of force’ in the Korean Peninsula have done nothing to deter Kim Jong-Un, heck even Mike Pence’s stern stare at the DMZ failed to accomplish its’ intended task. Therefore, by leading an offense against the Venezuelan dictator, Trump could send a strong signal to North Korea that America’s Military remains indispensable against tyrants (except those who sell us oil and let our President play with the magic orb).
Given the way the Kim dynasty has ruled North Korea, it might be impossible to convince Kim Jong-Un to ‘tone down’ on the provocative talk that keeps the South Korean President and Japanese PM up at night but China could privately pressure him into giving up adding to their thermo-nuclear arsenal. If the US is truthful about not trying to force a regime change in North Korea, they should let that be the guiding principle of their negotiations with the Koreans. You cannot ‘negotiate’ with dictators without trying to look through their lens. Kim Jong-Un does not want a war with the United States but at the same time, it is the very concept of war with the United States that helps him legitimize his authority and keep domestic dissidence under control.
Donald Trump’s presidency has been a disaster; the stock market is doing well but that is because the Wall Street is expecting a giant tax cut from the Trump administration. Week after week of scandals involving Trump and his aides, and as I am writing this, Tom Price has just resigned from the HHS. So much winning! So what does a person like Donald Trump do when he fails? He looks for distractions to take focus away from his incompetence and inability to govern, that is what he is doing with taking issue with NFL athletes kneeling during the national anthem because he wouldn’t admit that he has yet been unable to convince Republican Senators, let alone Democrats, to agree on a bill that they have voted for more than 50 times. And what better way to distract Americans than to wage a comparatively inexpensive war? As absurd as it sounds, it is a good enough reason for Donald Trump to send our young men and women in harm’s way. Hey, he increased the DoD’s and Pentagon’s budget for a reason, right?
Not only would a war with Venezuela take the focus away from how disastrous Trump’s first year has really been, it might actually help him increase his approval rating which I believe has fallen to 33%. It is not only in Trump’s interest that he takes popular positions to maintain his approval ratings but it is also important for Republican Senators up for reelection next year. It has been statistically proven over and over that the approval rating of the sitting President has a profound impact on his party’s reelection chances and given the fact that the President of the United States is at the same time President of his party, it is vital that Trump, along with his own, also considers the political interest of his Republican Senators.
Back when George H. W. Bush entered the Gulf war, his approval rating climbed 18 points to a phenomenal 82% and over a decade later when his son President George W. Bush led the Iraqi invasion, his rating went up by 13 points because, as I said earlier, wars have a way of bringing a divided nation together. It is true universally but it is especially true when it comes to the United States.
In recent years, Venezuela has cozied up to Moscow and their relationship has not only prospered on an economic turf but also on military grounds. It needs little proving that Donald Trump does not have the patience or diplomacy of John F. Kennedy to avert a nuclear disaster that was to be launched from a South American nation, and given the track record of Russia, especially under Putin, Venezuela is too close to home to let Russians have an active military presence. And with the current violent civilian clashes with Government forces, United States has a great opportunity with a justification to (indirectly) evict Russians out of Latin America. The world cannot afford to let Russians set up military bases in Latin America, where they could quite possibly train civilian population and spread dissidence against the United States.
I am not calling for a war. Risking lives of thousands of American men and women should be the last resort, and diplomacy and negotiations are always the best way to resolve international conflicts but table talks don’t make breaking news. Even though Maduro has told his military to prepare to fight American military advances, the US media has been quiet about the matter. Donald Trump has shown in his recent addresses that his patience with Venezuela is running low and the fact that Venezuela was included in Trump’s signature travel ban, the move that came only weeks after his administration imposed sanctions on Maduro and his top Government officials as well as Venezuela’s state-owned oil company, indicates developing hostility toward the South American nation. The prelude to an invasion is underway.