Passing the Buck

By Joe Ragonese

Rikki-tiki-tavi is a short story form British author, Sir (Joseph) Rudyard Kipling.  It is a tale of the dilemma a mongoose goes through when faced with the choice between killing baby cobras, before they grow old enough to harm his master, or allowing them to become full grown, and the nest of baby vipers turns into a slew of full grown asps capable of mass death.  This 1884 story brought forth life’s choices in confronting a very nasty world.

Its question has troubled people throughout civilized mankind.  It is also the type of question that world leaders are challenged with routinely.  It is the type of question that we in America ask our Presidents to answer with a knowledge and courage to protects us, and as we are the world leader, the population of the entire world.

It is akin to the choice of stopping Adolph Hitler or Joseph Stalin before they killed millions of people, or afterward.  Politicians in the 19th Century were more apt to be proactive, but in the 20th they put off making hard decisions, hence the act of appeasement of Hitler by British Prime Minister, Neville Chamberlin, that put off confronting the killer until after he started World War II.  It is called passing the buck to the next decision maker.

Passing the buck is a tried and true method of politics in America.  It is the reason that bad things only get worse, until there are no choices left; or very few.  Problem solving is the reason we elect a person president.  We chose the person whom we felt is best equipped to handle problems, until we get into identity politics.  That’s when we choose a person to be president based on the color of their skin, their sex, or sexual identity.  It isn’t a very good way to choose a president of the most powerful nation on earth, and is only a recent phenomenon.

None the less, the past three Presidents that we have chosen have all made the choice to pass the buck when the hard decision had to be made on North Korea.  Apparently none read any of Kipling’s works or poems to prepare them to make difficult choices.  Certainly Bill Clinton didn’t, he chose appeasement and paid a hefty bribe to North Korea to insure that they would not produce an atomic bomb.  He provided them with cash, oil, and food, on their word that they would stop development of their atomic bomb.

Of course, then supreme leader of North Korea, Kim Jong-il, lied to Clinton, took the money, oil and food, and then continued to develop the atomic bomb.  Clinton was never much of a critical thinker; he was too busy chasing women to be concerned with little things like nuclear war.

Bush 42 took office and was confronted with a myriad of problems, the most important of which was the War on Terror after the attack on America on 9-11-01.  Bush kept North Korea on the back burner; however, did he end Clinton’s fix of paying the bribes in money, oil and food.  Every intelligence agency in the world knew that Kim was still going full ahead with his bomb.

This gave Kim the opportunity to publicly test his atomic bomb.  The first was a dud, the next a partial dud.  But the fearless supreme leader continued developing, until he got it right, and then he died.  Bush procrastinated, and did nothing about the developing threat.  It was the worst mistake in world history, so far.  He should have destroyed their atomic capabilities, like Israel did when Iraq was near completion on their nuclear bomb, when there was the chance.  Sadly, Bush was too busy building nations and passed the buck to his successor.

The next man to hold office was the first person ever elected for the color of his skin, not any demonstrated ability, leadership quality, or intelligence.  When in office, he showed that he did not have any ability and allowed Kim’s son, Kim Jong-un, the new fearless leader, to continue developing bombs and missiles to deliver them; while paying bribes so that he would not use them.  It was the same way he confronted Iran with their nuclear program.  Obama could have taken out the nuclear and missile threat before they were so complete that the options left to his successor are limited and unconscionable.  Instead, Obama passed the buck to his successor, President Trump.

President Trump has only two options left to him, and neither is good.  The new fearless leader of North Korea is an unpredictable child who thinks that he can shoot off an atomic bomb or two and get away with it.  President Trump is left with a bad choice of paying bribes to the little dictator, or a really bad choice of going to war with him.  Neither choice is good; and all because our elected officials prior to him passed the buck until there was nowhere else for it to go.

Do not believe the ravings of the press who seem to think that blackmailing Kim with economic sanctions is going to cause him to give up his toys; it is not.  Trump’s only options are war, or paying North Korea for their bad behavior; which is what they want in the first place.

War means the first nuclear war in world history.  Sure we dropped two during WWII, but that wasn’t a nuclear war, just a couple of small atomic bombs.  Kim has an arsenal, maybe as many as ten, and maybe even a hydrogen bomb.  All ten of his bombs are larger than the ones used on Japan in WWII, and he now has the means of delivering them to the United States.

Any city from Los Angeles, to Chicago is in range.  Kim can use one of those bombs to destroy our infrastructure by exploding it 250 miles above Chicago, and the electronic-magnetic pulse (EMP) would wipe out all of our communications.  No internet, no cell phones, no GPS, no surveillance satellites, and the list goes on.  The entire United States could be without electricity for months, and that is with only one atomic bomb.

The rest of his bombs would be put to use against Tokyo, Japan, with 13 million deaths, Seoul, South Korea, with another ten million dead, Guam, just because he can, and let’s say Los Angeles, with another five million dead; because he is really pissed off at us.  Kim might not use the a-bomb on Seoul, because it is too close to him, but he has enough conventional artillery in place to destroy many of those citizens of Seoul.  He also might use his arsenal of chemical and biological weapons on South Korea; because he really doesn’t like them very much.  Kim might use an atomic bomb on Taipei, Taiwan, to glimmer support from China.  That is another four million dead.

President Trump has promised Fire & Fury if Kim were reckless enough to use his nuclear arsenal; however, it is exactly what he would do if America attempts to take his atomic toys by force.  So, practically, war in Korea, unless Kim starts it, is off the table, no matter what Ambassador Nikki Haley said at the U.N.  That leaves only one viable option, acquiesce and a perpetual payment from the United States to North Korea.

America’s leadership, or should I say lack of leadership, led us to this particular conundrum.  The only thing left is to learn from our mistakes and not repeat them; which is exactly what we are doing in Iran.

Obama already paid a ransom of 190 Billion dollars to Iran, which they quickly spent on spreading terrorism around the world.  They will be back for more when they see North Korea get away with nuclear blackmail.  They need to be stopped right now, President Trump’s fire and fury should be directed at Iran before they complete their nuclear bombs; they already have the missile technology to deliver it.

The final lesson should be to never again elect a person based on identity politics, and that the person who is elected must have the qualities necessary to decide whether to kill a pit of vipers when they are still in their infancy, or wait until they become uncontrollable monsters.