Russia and China Can't Afford Rogue Nuke Neighbors
Vladimir Putin is an eminently sane power player. So is China's Xi Jinping. Donald Trump, contrary to his liberal enemies, built his hotel and reality show empires using careful chess moves against tough competition.
There is an open question whether Kim III, Kim Jong-un, is a rational actor. He certainly goes out of his way to look like a nuke-happy madman, but that can also be strategic. We simply do not know, but with three carrier groups within range of Pyongyang, plus Japan and South Korea, formidably armed, plus China, which reportedly moved 150,000 troops to its border with North Korea, we are likely to find out the answer sometime soon.
The mullahs have been threatening war and genocide ever since Jimmy Carter and the Gray Eminence Zbigniew Brzezinski allowed Ayatollah Khomeini to take over the most progressive country in the Middle East. The Shah's Iran and the ayatollahs are two very different countries, and I still cannot understand why Carter (and later on Obama) colluded in the nuclearization of a self-confessed Armageddon regime. It made no sense then, and it still makes no sense.
But both North Korea and mullah-ruled Iran have great power allies: China and Russia, respectively. Russia has had nuclear weapons since Stalin had U.S. communists steal the plans from the Manhattan Project, and China developed nukes with Soviet aid during the Mao era. But after the ideological fanaticism of Stalin and Mao, both of those enormous Asian land powers adopted rational great power policies. They did not turn into paper tigers, and Moscow and Beijing took advantage of every weakness shown by Carter, Clinton, and Obama. This is why the world is in the fix it is in today, with two rogue client regimes moving closer every day to nuclear bombs and ICBMs.
Democrats have been whistling past that graveyard for three decades, and liberals and their fakestream media collude in that massive blind spot. Serious international problems are for Republicans to solve after the Democrats have royally screwed things up.
Well, somebody's gotta do it, and if you could look into the heart of Putin and Xi, you might see they are secretly relieved that the United States is becoming a serious power again.
(So are the Europeans, who are the shrillest hostile-dependent teenagers of them all.)
If you are Putin, you can't afford a crazy-sounding nuclear power next door, less than an hour's flight from your borders. If you are President Xi, you have the same problem. Ideologically, you can't abandon your "allies." But they pose a very real danger of Armageddon, most of all to great nations like Russia and China.
So Putin is acting like a Soviet-era thug like Brezhnev, sending old-fashioned Bear bombers to "test" Alaska and the British Isles, Norway, and Finland. China has built a completely artificial island in the South China Sea and is claiming it as Chinese territory, while positioning military bases on them.
These are all aggressive moves that arouse fear and anger in South Korea, Vietnam, the Philippines, Japan, and Indonesia. So far, they have produced nothing in the way of a coherent response, even though they are theoretically part of the SEATO alliance.
But Uncle Don has made it clear that we are not going to pay for another sixty years of defense for our ne'er-do-well allies. In terms of our cheapskate allies it might be best to turn our naval task forces around and tell Japan to take care of the North Koreans. The Donald has put them on public notice, but so far we can't see any public signs of responsibility on the part of our weak-willed "allies." In fact, John Nolte at Daily Wire has concluded on the evidence now known that every single European "ally" spied on the Trump camp, sending reports back to the Deep Guvmint types in D.C. to undermine the candidacy of Mr. Trump.
I do hope he returns the favor sometime soon.
Regardless of all that, if Mexico developed nukes and a truly mad regime that threatened to use them on us, we would not stand it for a day. John F. Kennedy came perilously close to war when Castro and Khrushchev colluded in an attempt to base Soviet ICBMs in Cuba. No rational great power in the world can tolerate an unpredictable nuclear power next door.
It follows that Putin and Xi understand the stakes of Trump's effort to address the worldwide nuclear proliferation that Democrats, like Bill Clinton and Obama, carelessly allowed.
Maybe that's why Obama fled to French Polynesia. Maybe that's why Hillary is suddenly sounding like a hawk, and Bill has faded into the woodwork. As for Jimmy Carter, he is worse than ever, but then, would you want to be known as the president who brought mullahs with nukes into the Middle East? That reputation will follow him forever, as it should, just as Obama's surrender "treaty" giving the mullahs a clear path to nukes will go down in history as the biggest mistake since Harper's Ferry set off the U.S. Civil War.
Lately Mr. Putin has been acting a little mad himself, along Soviet lines, running aging Bear bombers by Alaska and possibly nuclear subs near San Diego. The trouble is that those probes happened every month during Soviet times, and they never led to war – because nuclear war is only a more spectacular form of national suicide. So Putin's gestures have no credibility, although simulated attacks are no fun for our naval and air personnel.
All of Putin's melodrama makes no difference to the fundamental facts, which are that great nations cannot afford crazy neighbors armed with weapons of mass destruction. Donald Trump has been pointing that out to North Korea's neighbors, and North Korea supplies advanced weaponry to Iran, so that knocking down the North would also make the Middle East safer.
This is the toughest poker game you've ever seen, and nobody knows the outcome. China does not want an unpredictable maniac next door. Russia doesn't want one, either. But this game of playing crazy had been subtly enabled by the weakness and gutlessness of the West, following Churchill's rule that every regime is ducking down, "hoping that the crocodile will eat it last."
Abject appeasement works – until it stops working. Nobody knows when this untenable policy of retreat will explode, but we are eight years closer today than the day Obama took office.
None of the Democrats, or the European socialists, has the spine to stand up against aggression. They deserve to be abandoned to the closest hungry crocodile, but ultimately that would hurt us also.
A unified cyber-attack on North Korea could work theoretically, but even in cyberspace, you have to know exactly what you are doing. Other science fiction methods are possible and could help. Most of all, we need a strategic alliance by responsible powers against the crazies. That may seem unlikely today, but the prospect of hanging in a fortnight concentrates a man's mind wonderfully.
Russia and the Western Allies worked together to beat the Nazis in World War II. America and China had a warm diplomatic relationship before Mao took over.
Nations have no permanent friends, but they do have permanent interests. Having crazy aunts with nukes in the basement is not a rational interest.
Trump has made a shrewd move by reaching out to China. Right now, Vladimir Putin seems confused and directionless, but there really is only one way to go forward, and that is to unite in the common interest against rogues with nukes. Even Stalin recognized the need for an alliance with the West after the Nazi invasion of the USSR.
Vladimir Putin can do no less.