George Graham

Conservatives Having a Field Day over Korea

You knew it would happen. With Kim Jong-Un throwing a tantrum, the conservative blogosphere is ablaze with we-told-you-so indictments of American “appeasers” past and present, who are being identified as the root cause of North Korea’s impudence.

They want America to respond to the North Korean leader’s provocations by “finishing the job” that General MacArthur started back in 1950. And they’re dumping on President Truman for firing MacArthur (photo above). They think it was “appeasement” to give the general the boot after he took it on himself to invade North Korea and followed up by making incendiary remarks.

I remember being upset when MacArthur was fired. After all, he was a World War II hero. But then I had just turned 17 years old.

Adults don’t let personal pique rob them of their common sense. Pride comes before destruction, the Good Book says, and a haughty spirit before a fall.

So I don’t expect President Obama to go off half-cocked despite the goading of the armchair generals. Obama is an adult.

North Korea is a tiny country but it has a million-man army. It also has some rudimentary nuclear capability and missiles that could possibly cause havoc if not on America’s West Coast, certainly in South Korea and Japan. No “insult” would warrant risking the lives of so many innocent civilians, regardless of the satisfaction some Americans might derive from a “doomsday”- style retaliation.

And there’s China to consider. North Korea is China’s creation and remains its client. It is highly probable that an American attack on North Korea would trigger armed conflict with the world’s number-two super power.

This is not Macarthur’s China. Nobody in their right mind would want America to go to war with China. It wouldn’t matter who won. What the war would leave would not be worth winning.

Of course Kim Jong-Un is bluffing. Of course he is trying to force Uncle Sam to replace the temporary truce of 1953 with something more advantageous to his starving people. And of course he is being reckless and stupid. But history abounds with horrors that resulted from the miscalculations of stupid and reckless politicians. They pushed the envelope just that tiny bit too far and things got out of control. Call up the Kaiser on the Ouija Board and ask him how World War I blew up.

I imagine President Obama is already on the phone with China’s Xi Jinping.The Chinese are not impetuous fools. They find the  kind of hubris prevalent in the West quite childish; they regard world events with a cold and calculating eye. And they must be as chagrined as we are over Kim Jong-Un’s behavior. The sanctions imposed on North Korea by the UN Security Council are evidence of that. As a member of the Security Council, China has veto power over such sanctions but has not chosen to exercise it.

I would be surprised and disappointed if President Obama and Xi Jinping don’t avert the crisis being provoked by Kim Jong-Un. They will do it in secret, of course. And they will do it in a manner that allows the North Korean leader to “save face.” But I am confident they will do it.

And the hawks will continue to write nonsense about “appeasers.”

Click here for more on the North Korean crisis.


About the author


I am a Jamaican-born writer who has lived and worked in Canada and the United States. I live in Lakeland, Florida with my wife, Sandra, our three cats and two dogs. I like to play golf and enjoy our garden, even though it's a lot of work. Since retiring from newspaper reporting I've written a few books. I also write a monthly column for