No matter what one thinks about the nation-building ideology of the neocons — and there’s plenty to criticize — it’s always been a bridge too far to suggest the United States (or other western nations), by involving themselves in the affairs of other countries either as humanitarians or occupiers or conflict allies or peacekeepers, are actually the cause of the fundamental human condition of mankind waging war on itself.
Man’s inhumanity to man dates back to the time of Cain and Abel, whether you accept that story as metaphor or take it literally. Despots don’t require U.S. involvement to be power hungry, belligerent and despotic. Yet there are always those willing to suggest that if only the U.S. weren’t so involved in taking care of its own foreign policy and national security interests, the world’s tyrants would simply drop their swords and play nice.
It’s absurd, of course. Kim Jong-un isn’t a tyrant because the U.S. has turned him into one (that’s more likely the fault of his father and grandfather), but this is exactly what Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D – HI) suggested Sunday.
We've got to understand that North Korea is holding onto these nuclear weapons because they think it is their only protection from the United States coming in and doing to them what the United States has done to so many countries throughout history. pic.twitter.com/EVmPBEg0Ay
— Tulsi Gabbard 🌺 (@TulsiGabbard) January 15, 2018
With respect, Rep. Gabbard, no we don’t have to understand that. Because that is absolutely not why North Korea is holding onto their nuclear weapons.
Danny Lam, a journalist writing for Real Clear Defense (he also has bylines at Asia Times) says Kim’s motives are mostly about power and money rather than regime survival. Shocking, I know.
Studies of the long-term behavior of DPRK over decades their behavior across a range of issues ranging from formal DPRK involvement recently in robbing central banks, narcotics manufacture and smuggling, kidnapping of foreign nationals abroad, targeted killings, counterfeit currency printing and distribution, arms exports, missile proliferation, nuclear weapons exports, cyber extortion, and sensitive material exports show the genetic code of the regime see nothing beyond them historically and right up to the present.
Should we even mention that DPRK is widely suspected to be still holding allied POWs from the Korean war?
This is a regime that certainly have no concern about warfare as a profitable enterprise. Indeed, the “WannaCry” ramsomware is in the process of being explicitly linked to the DPRK’s cyberwarfare teams.
DPRK behavior – the long term, sustained and widespread, formal use of military capabilities – for the purpose of extortion by a government that is not a failed state has no precedence in modern history since 1945…
…DPRK motives for acquiring a credible nuclear arsenal with the capacity to strike anywhere in the world (including the United States and Western Europe) is both current profit (paid by regimes like Iran) that is essential for rewarding the regime loyalists, and almost certainly with that, for purposes of extortion in the future against any and all states.
Money and power. And if Lam is correct, that means that even if the U.S. ceased to exist, Kim would continue his nuclear ambition because it’s making him filthy rich.
(As an aside, Rep. Gabbard, in her lecturing about the evils of her own country, mentions the overthrow in Libya and the situation in Syria. She fails, however, to mention the players in the overthrow of Gaddafi (Hillary Clinton) and the exacerbated situation in Syria (Barack Obama). One wonders if she knows the details surrounding the breakdown of those two situations and if she would be so quick to mention them if she did since the players are her own party members.)
But perhaps her goal is to shift that blame to the now out-of-favor neocons. And we know they are because the new direction the Trump administration has adopted is to let countries in the Middle East fight more of their own battles. But it will never stop being insulting to hear a sitting legislator trash her own country and insist the homeland that protects her life, liberty and security is the cause of Kim Jong-un’s power hungry, war seeking personality.
Your view is shortsighted, thoughtless, and dangerous, Ms. Gabbard.