In an open love letter to POTUS Obama, Aaron Colohan of the Richmond Liberal Examiner opines that the President is doing a fine job of managing both Iran and North Korea, even though they are two very different countries.
The Czar is pleased that a Liberal understands that any two countries can be seen as different. In Iran, Colohan believes, “[i]t is…very exciting to imagine the possibilities.” Why imagine? Why not choose one good possibility and begin to implement that? Colohan acknowledges that Iran is important and must not be ignored. “However, to say that more action than rhetoric is needed…is misguided at best. It is not a failure of our president, nor is it a timid approach, that dictates rhetoric over action. It is an understanding that the situation in Iran must be in the hands of the Iranian people to be successful, both nationally and internationally.” That sounds very much like a college freshman answer in PoliSci 101; when the Czar took that course over a century ago, his professor would simply have snorted “Why must it solely be in their hands?”
What happens in Iran is in the United States’s interest, absolutely: however, the people of Iran are not in a position to make this change by themselves, or they would have done so decades ago. Colohan falls under the fallacious mental trap that all countries are the same, and if America can Yes We Can to change, why can’t Iran? He fails to realize that the Iranian people are oppressed, enslaved, and victims of a fulsome regime. The fact that they have the courage to protest by the thousands is a landmark event: they need strong support from the West that they are doing the right thing…that this is worth the risk. Revolution is not as easy as Colohan thinks, and there is every reason to think this effort will fail in Iran. No matter what we do, they are going to hate us if they fail. Our only chance to win their love is to back them on the big play so they win.
Action can include rhetoric, by the way: how about the President calling on the people of Iran to overthrow their yokes? Or calling on the military to join the people? How about promising that a democratic Iran will be fully welcome in the family of nations, and convincing them that their efforts will not be wasted blood? Into which category would Colohan place “Tear down this wall?” Those four words changed history; one has a hard time picturing Reagan saying the Berlin Wall deeply concerned him and later deciding it was outrageous. Reagan did not play the troubled and contemplative hand-wringing course: he spoke out and up, because the people under Communism were not going to vote their way out of it.
Colohan suggests action could consider sanctions (Iran is already under sanctions, to no avail, and that only punishes the people more), vocal ideological support (discussed above), or military action. He then complains that military action would already stress our little army more than it should, and would simply spread support of the Iranian evil to its neighbors by creating an unwelcome American puppet government.
Three points: Military action against whom? The mullahs are the bad guys, not the people. No one is seriously planning to sweep in with the military, are they? Second, our military is nowhere as weak as liberals think. We could easily address a growing Iranian threat if needed, but the need is far-fetched. What would our troops do? Third, Colohan seems to over-estimate the popularity of Iran in the region. Even the Saudis want the present Iranian government to go away. The Czar has reason to believe that the protests are being funded in part by Saudis. And whence the provenance? Does Colohan think Iraq is an unwelcome presence in the region? It is unwelcome by only one country: Iran. Colohan seems to understand neither the people nor the dynamics of the region.
Colohan adds that “our president and his staff must, out of presumptive logic, work on the operating principle that even a new regime in Iran, with reformist ideas, will probably interact with the US initially in the same fashion as the old regime.” See, this is what boggles the mind. The turmoil in Iran is not about Mahmūd Ahmadinezhād defeating Mir-Hossein Mousavi Khameneh. It is about the drive for democracy defeating the evils of the Islamic Republic of Iran. The people of the world are smart enough to know that Ahmadinezhād and Mousavi are the same regime. The new regime we seek, and the Iranians seek, is a functioning (dare one say it?) Iraq-style democracy.
And so Colohan explains that North Korea is different from Iran, and his first point is to explain that our military is too weak to engage North Korea…which is the same argument he used for Iran. Whatever. He continues by explaining that North Korea cannot be transformed like Iraq. Curiously, this reveals the limits of his world view. The Czar suspects that Mr. Colohan does not think that much of Iraq to begin with, and further suspects that a US-led Iraq-style intervention is all he knows. The US would probably go a little further back than 2003 when dealing with North Korea; probably Japan, late-1945, would be the better model. The Czar recalls that was a successful reintegration. Perhaps economically, include lessons learned from Germany 1990?
Colohan does agree that North Korea will still believe it is 1953, and correctly notes that the DPRK has not ever actually fought a hot war since. This is true: but that does not mean we have to match them with Shermans and Garands. The US could realistically snuff out their communications infrastructure in 30 minutes, control their airspace in under five hours, secure the DMZ in less than two or three days, and halt their military in two weeks without nuclear detonation. The Czar suspects we are already, inadvertently, taking out their navy.
That said, the Czar agrees that the situation is painfully volatile and many options must be reviewed in detail. But the Czar must regret that Colohan’s suggestion that the UN is the logical solution to all things North Korea indicates that someone has not been keeping score on the UN’s game lately: how’s Darfur playing out? Zimbabwe? Iran? The United Nations are precisely the frat brothers you don’t want around.
Colohan makes another observation about the North Koreans: the men with any real military experience are elderly and unreliable; the majority of their military is young, untested, and the product of mass propaganda education with no outside correcting influences. As he puts it, “[i]t is a most dangerous thing to have power in the hands of the inexperienced and poorly advised.”
The Czar wonders if, in his fawning for Obama, Colohan sees the stunning irony in that truth.
Божію Поспѣшествующею Милостію Мы, Дима Грозный Императоръ и Самодержецъ Всероссiйскiй, цѣсарь Московскiй. The Czar was born in the steppes of Russia in 1267, and was cheated out of total control of all Russia upon the death of Boris Mikhailovich, who replaced Alexander Yaroslav Nevsky in 1263. However, in 1283, our Czar was passed over due to a clerical error and the rule of all Russia went to his second cousin Daniil (Даниил Александрович), whom Czar still resents. As a half-hearted apology, the Czar was awarded control over Muscovy, inconveniently located 5,000 miles away just outside Chicago. He now spends his time seething about this and writing about other stuff that bothers him.