Wednesday, 29 November, 2006
Spanking North Korea
In one of the dumbest moves I've seen yet, the Bush administration in its role as incompetent world parent is going to punish unruly child North Korea by taking away its iPod. Yes, you heard right, we're banning shipments of iPods, plasma televisions, Segway scooters, cognac, Rolex watches, and other luxury items that Kim Jong-Il likes to give as gifts to his 600 or so closest friends. The theory, I guess, is that denying him these items will somehow bring him around to our way of thinking. Yahoo has the full AP story here.
I've never raised children, but even I know that taking away an unruly teen's iPod just makes him sullen and apt to lash out. Remove enough of a kid's luxuries and he'll find other ways to amuse himself. Kim Jong-Il, like his father before him, doesn't even care that he can't feed his own people. Why the Bush administration thinks he'll care about not being able to give some trinkets to friends is quite beyond me.
U.S. foreign policy ever since the end of the Cold War has been inconsistent, incoherent, and mostly just plain wrong. It's like we're trying to be the World's daddy by using those wrong-headed "be your child's friend" parenting techniques from the 80s that nearly turned a whole generation into sniveling, whining, ambitionless brats. All these little countries that give us trouble know that we have no power. They know that if we raise our hand to give a spanking, all they have to do is call Child Protective Services (the U.N. or just the ever-powerful world opinion), and the U.S. is severely chastised by the rest of the children.
If we're going to play daddy--and I'm not saying that we should--we need to use a firm hand, tell the rest of the pissant little ankle biters to behave, and use all the tools at our disposal to implement the changes that we want to see. If we're not going to do that, then we need to back off and let the world handle their own problems. This pussyfooting around makes us look weak and stupid, and causes way more problems than it solves, if it solves any at all.