We've Been Here Before (In 1962)

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We have all heard the news that the destroyer USS John McCain is preparing to intercept a North Korean ship believed to be carrying weapons material they are barred by the UN from transferring.  To anyone over the age of 60, this bears a strong resemblance to the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962. 

President John Kennedy met with Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev on June 3, 1961.  The meeting did not go well for Kennedy.  Khrushchev took a particularly harsh stance over Berlin--he began erecting the Berlin Wall in August of that year.  He had judged Kennedy a weak President and intended to take full advantage of that fact.  The Soviets placed missiles in Cuba, and the US imposed a naval blockade on Cuba.  On October 24, Russian ships carrying missiles to Cuba turned back, and the world breathed a sigh of relief.  Khrushchev agreed (Oct. 28) to withdraw the missiles and dismantle the missile sites.  The blockade ended on November 20, 1962.  What we didn't know at the time was that a deal had been worked out behind the scenes--the United States, in return, pledged not to invade Cuba, and subsequently secretly removed ballistic missiles it had placed in Turkey.  The American President had been judged as weak, and a crisis followed.

Today, North Korea, believing we will not respond in any meaningful way, is planning to launch a missile in the direction of Hawaii on July 4th.  They are also transporting nuclear material, weapons, or technology in defiance of a UN resolution (again, without any fear of consequences).  I have no idea what our correct response should be.  The world should be grateful that I am not in charge--I think my trigger finger would accidently slip as a approached the ship believed to be carrying the material! 

America cannot protect itself solely by sweet words and apologies.  There is a West African proverb Theodore Roosevelt quoted frequently, "Speak softly and carry a big stick; you will go far."  Speaking softly is a great idea--but don't forget your stick!!

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This page contains a single entry by Granny G published on June 19, 2009 9:26 PM.

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