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George W. Bush is partially responsible for what's happening in Korea - Regular Voltaire

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November 29th, 2010

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11:14 pm - George W. Bush is partially responsible for what's happening in Korea
When Margaret Thatcher withdrew the HMS Endurance from service due to her version of Tory austerity, she unwittingly signalled to the ruling Argentine junta that the British were less than willing to defend the Falkland Islands and other territories being claimed by Argentina. They took the opportunity to pounce and seize the islands. The Lady may not have been for turning, but her gesture, mistaken as a retreat, had grave consequences. These included the unexpected expenditure of lives and treasure, and a blow to British national pride. It was also a chilling lesson for all nations, that when it came to matters of national security, pocketbook issues had to be balanced by the need to deter naked aggression.

There is an emerging consensus that the U.S. invasion of Iraq was a pointless and costly military adventure. It was incited by faulty intelligence and personal grievances that American leaders had for Saddam Hussein. It has, on a far larger scale than the Falklands War had been for the U.K., been a blow to the coffers and prestige of the U.S. and its allies. The U.S. is seen to be tired of war and not being in the best shape to wage more war at present. It is little wonder then that Kim Jong Il has calculated that he can execute some of the most serious military aggressions against the South since the armistice on the Korean Peninsula in 1953.

It is hard to say whether the DPRK would have shelled Yeonpyeong Island if the U.S. was not entangled in Iraq and Afghanistan. After all, most analysts say that this has something to do with the accelerated succession process going on in the DPRK, as Jong Il starts to boost the stature of his son Jong Un up in order to take his place as heir presumptive. The succession has been speeded up because of Jong Il's poor health. However, I think it is safe to say that the fact of America's military being tied down in conflicts far away from East Asia must have played a role in the calculations of Pyongyang's leadership.

And so, we have an opportunity, yet again, to bash George W. Bush. I do firmly believe that this is justified in this case. Bush and his administration did not foresee that his occupation would exceed the length of the Soviet engagement in Afghanistan, and he surely did not expect American troops to still be operating in large numbers in Iraq so many years after "Mission Accomplished" had been announced. The prolonged operations in the two West Asian countries has meant that the U.S. simply cannot meet its longstanding security commitments elsewhere effectively. That is the brutal truth. Since everyone is aware of this handicap, those powers that seek to challenge American power and threaten her allies are definitely emboldened and less inhibited in taking up an aggressive posture.

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