August 6, 1945, America dropped an atomic bomb on Hiroshima, Japan, instantly killing about 66,000 people. Three days later we dropped another atomic bomb on Nagasaki instantly killing around 35,000 people. Thousands more would eventually die from aftereffects of the bombings. Six days later, August 15, Japan announced it would surrender and formally signed to surrender on September 2, 1945.
Japan awakened a sleeping giant in 1941, and the greatest generation ended Japan’s horrific 4-year campaign suddenly in ten short days.
Flash forward 72 years to today as another tiny Asian nation threatens to attack America, only this time with nuclear weapons of its own. North Korea has been a potential nuclear threat for decades. President Clinton signed a deal with North Korea in 1994 to end its dabbling with all things nuclear.
In the New York Times October 19, 1994, David Sanger wrote, “President Clinton approved a plan today to arrange more than $4 billion in energy aid to North Korea during the next decade in return for a commitment from the country’s hardline Communist leadership to freeze and gradually dismantle its nuclear weapons development program.” We know now how that deal worked out.
Surprisingly last week, the UN Security Council voted unanimously (yes, including China and Russia) for new sanctions on North Korea, banning its exports of coal, iron, lead, and seafood, among other commodities, potentially cutting North Korea’s $3 billion annual export revenue by a third.
In 2016, President Obama played the “Clinton card” with Iran by exchanging at least $1.7 billion in cash for an agreement to suspend its nuclear program and to release three American prisoners. Has that deal or money stymied Iran’s pursuit of nuclear capabilities, including producing nuclear weapons?
Riches, weapons, and espionage appear to be the primary means of negotiating international agreements. Giving and taking money is a time-honored tradition of keeping peace. When that fails someone is likely to start a war. Hopefully, before someone starts a war, someone else will sneak into the war-prone nation’s intelligence community and prevent a war. Espionage, by its very nature, is never public unless it fails.
President Trump has surrounded himself with some of America’s best generals and CEOs, i.e. those who have actually earned many accomplishments via planning and actions. President Obama surrounded himself primarily with academics and political types.
The world has become a much more dangerous community in so many ways over the past decade or so. Islamic terrorism has spread globally like kudzu. President Obama viewed Islamic terrorism as more of a junior varsity game than a global threat.
In the last 100 years, America has entered war only after being attacked or after our allies had been attacked. We didn’t start the wars. We ended wars in the 20th century. In this century Americans continue to view war as the last option for negotiating peace. We have no intentions of taking over another country. We have enough trouble managing our own affairs.
Nevertheless, though all “war is hell,” war clarifies relationships and unifies those with common enemies, even after a strongly contested election. Seems like not too long ago America elected a new President who moved into the White House with half the nation and most of the media allied against him. Nine months later 911 unified us against a common enemy.
Daniel L. Gardner is a syndicated columnist who lives in Starkville, Miss. He can be reached at PJandMe2@hotmail.com.