After sanctions and diplomacy fail, can all-out war be avoided?

China nixed a planned trip by Secretary of Defense Robert Gates to meet with China’s leaders, but high officials there have met with North Korea’s Kim Jong Il and Iran’s Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, even as United Nations sanctions against Iran were being negotiated. The U.N. gave up on dealing with North Korea’s egotistical dictator long ago.

Those sanctions, a fourth round recently approved after interminable delays, limit weapons imports, banking and trade, but are nearly useless, diluted measures which Iran has had ample time to arrange agreements to thwart. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton lauded Chinese and Russian sanction support and discussions for separate and tougher U.S., British and French sanctions, giving Iran more time, are reportedly near being passed, at least in the U.S. Obama has engaged in further weakening additional Iranian sanctions proposed by Congress.

Despite the assurances from the Obama Administration, neither sanctions nor diplomacy has, or will, reduce Iranian or North Korean aggression. The president’s kowtowing-to-appease diplomatic stance is viewed as weakness. Clinton, who appears increasingly disengaged and noticeably worn out by her duties, is seen as a vanquished loser who now serves subserviently under a disappointment of a president held in contempt by many—both at home and abroad.

China is best described as an ally of convenience to the United States. The Chinese consider the U.S. a threat they are loath to battle. Buying U.S. debt, maintaining a huge export/import trade deficit, and undermining U.S. interests and security around the world benefits China and weakens the U.S. In China, diplomacy is war and they maneuver to win over the long-term.

Russia remains distrustful of the U.S. and seeks to regain the superpower status lost when the Soviet Union collapsed. Its struggling democracy and free market economy is at risk from leaders like Vladimir Putin who, once in power, intend to stay. Putin too, has met with Ahmadinejad recently.

Iran has cultivated political support from Turkey, Brazil, Syria, Lebanon and Venezuela. President Hugo Chavez and Brazil brokered a failed compromise to send Iran’s nuclear fuel out of the country for additional enrichment. The arrangement, like the U.N. sanctions, does nothing to halt Iran’s nuclear weapons development program. Intelligence agencies scoff at Iran’s denials of becoming a nuclear power. Iran’s government and religious leadership is engaged in nation building of an Islamic coalition subservient to Iranian control and direction.

North Korean and Iranian officials have met to discuss mutual issues. A reality that must be confronted is a nuclear-armed Korea and an inevitably soon-to-be-like-armed Iran. Two sworn enemies of the U.S. are working in concert with tacit support and approval of China and Russia.

One year after Obama’s groveling anti-American speech in Cairo, little has changed in the war against Islamic radicals or appeasing North Korea. In Iraq, rival factions are bidding their time awaiting announced U.S. troop withdrawals. The war in Afghanistan is heating up; the enemy combatant detention center at Gitmo is still open, and will not be shut down in the immediate future as promised.

China’s military is undergoing a rapid buildup of troops and weaponry while Russia’s fractured military tries to regain its Cold War era reputation. Cyber attacks and probes of American military, banking and industrial computer systems originating in China, North Korea and Russia are increasing in number and sophistication. The U.S. is more threatened than one year ago by the perception of weak leadership.

With the U.S. military already stretched thin by disparate wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, a North Korean submarine sank a South Korean naval ship, an act vehemently denied by North Korea in the face of substantial evidence to the contrary. Iranian troops are making regular forays probing across the border into Iraq. Weapons used against Americans identified as Iranian and Syrian made, along with terrorists and insurgents are smuggled to combat zones with Iranian collusion.

In response, American troops are being ordered out on patrol in Afghani combat zones with weapons unloaded.

Sir Winston Churchill said, “You can always count on Americans to do the right thing—after they’ve tried everything else.”

President Obama lacks the courage to fight to win and the diplomatic leadership to extricate the U.S. He appears bent on sticking to “everything else” while an ambitious coalition of enemy regimes encourage Iran to building nuclear weapons and a dictatorial North Korean despot to court combat against a better-armed South Korea and its allies.

Israel, our only true ally in the Middle East, stands isolated and alienated by Obama’s policies against foes who promise to erase that nation from the face of the Earth and to smite America. Israel, despite grave consequences that will result, may be forced to act alone against the threats to their security by launching a military attack on Iran’s nuclear facilities. Saudi Arabia gave tacit permission for Israeli war planes passage through Arabian airspace.

Israel’s security is challenged by enemies intent on breaking the Gaza blockade imposed to stop terrorist rocket launches. Iran has sent boats to challenge Israel following the planned violence against Israeli forces who intercepted a “peaceful” Turkish flotilla that included one boat loaded with armed insurgents bent on sparking a violent confrontation.

In Pensacola, Florida, Obama gave a speech to members of the military Tuesday. He repeated a long list of promises and commitments to them and the American people and vowed that the United States “will never falter.” In the eyes and words of our enemies, Obama is perceived as a weak faltering leader inviting scorn, derision and attack. Iran and North Korea prefer confrontation to negotiation.

We are bogged down in two wars, battling against terrorism promulgated by radical Islamics, yet our elected leaders refuse to call the enemy by name. Instead they spout soporific euphemisms like man-made disasters for cowardly, murderous acts of aggression against innocents in the name of God.

The United States had a fortunate run since World War II ended. A world tired of war accepted a tenuous armistice in Korea. America suffered a bloody nose in Vietnam after it turned into a political conflict. Since then we’ve engaged in limited engagements—avoiding the horrific body counts of previous wars. Obama sends our troops into combat, but he lacks the fortitude to fight to win—instead fighting and withdrawing without holding.

That is small solace to the families of our war dead and wounded. It does nothing to soothe the worries of thousands of mothers like my sister have. Her son currently serves in Afghanistan. We pray for the safe return of all service members, but know that more suffering, heartbreak and loss will come.

The United States is being drawn inexorably toward war by multiple enemies. Twice in the past century, the United States, with great sacrifice at home and on foreign lands, arose against tyranny and evil. Are we capable of rising against comparable challenges again, and more importantly, can we?

            I hope and pray to be proven wrong. I fear I am correct.


An Associated Press story details promised North Korean military retaliations and veiled threats of nuclear weapon use should the U.N. take action against the country following the presentation of evidence linking the PRK with the sinking of an ROK navy ship.

It is high time the U.N., the United States and its allies make clear, in no uncertain terms, that North Korean military action will be met in kind, and that the use of a nuclear weapon by the North will result in the utter destruction of the country.


Michael Gerson’s column in today’s Washington Post exposes the depth of North Korean deceptions that permeate the little madman despot’s regime.

This Defense News article lays out Secretary of Defense Robert Gates’ opinion on Russia’s “schizophrenic” view of Iranian sanctions.


About zingstrom

Journalist, free-lance writer, photographer and aviator.
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1 Response to After sanctions and diplomacy fail, can all-out war be avoided?

  1. Pingback: Not if, but when war breaks out | Zingstrom's Blog

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