Trouble in Korea – What Would Jimmy Do?

“[Pacifism] It may spring from the belief that human history is a simple, unilinear movement from worse to better – what is called a belief in Progress – so that any given generation is always in all respects wiser than all previous generations. To those who believe thus, our ancestors are superseded and there seems nothing improbable in the claim that the whole world was wrong until the day before yesterday and now has suddenly become right. With such people I confess I cannot argue, for I do not share their basic assumption.” – C. S. Lewis, Why I’m not a Pacifist

There’s trouble on the Korean peninsula tonight. It appears that the North launched an attack on a disputed South Korean island, killing two soldiers and setting much of the local village on fire.

Tensions have been flaring in the region for a few months now. The analysts are all over the place. Is the North trying to force a stronger hand at the eventual multilateral peace negotiations? Is this part of a “transition of power” from Kim Jong-Il to Kim Jong-Un? Is there dissent among the ranks and some old generals are making a power play? Nobody seems to know for sure.

What we do know is that millions of people still live in under utter oppression and tyranny beyond the 38th parallel. Millions of lives that have been utterly robbed of any semblance of life/liberty/pursuit of happiness. This is criminal, it is horrid, it is evil.

In a tangential note, I caught part of an HBO special yesterday on the 1980 US Olympic hockey team and their victory over the presumed unbeatable Soviet team. It was the “Miracle on Ice.” During the documentary, they discussed the geopolitical situation in 1979 and 1980 and how Americans really were just piling up loss after loss.

I mention this because they then flashed to a video clip of then-president Jimmy Carter and I had an interesting emotional, from the gut, despairing reaction at the mere sight. Jimmy Carter brought so much pain to so many people, both as president and afterwards, all the time thinking that he was doing the right thing.

What does this have to do with North Korea? Back in the 1990s president Clinton was apparently close to a decision to put and end to the nonsense of Pyongyang and bring the regime down. Before he could do it, Jimmy Carter stepped in and saved the communist thugs of the North. As I’ve noted before, it seems Jimmy Carter never met a tyrant he didn’t love.

I’m sure Jimmy Carter, along with many others, are praying for peace tonight (and why not?). I’m also sure that Jimmy Carter, and many others, feel that any outcome that avoids war is better than an outcome that includes war. This I find to be utterly wrongheaded.

Pacifism assumes that war is the greatest of all evils, and therefore never justified. But a war that kills thousands to save millions can hardly be viewed in such a light. One must consider the impact of innaction. In this case, the longer the North stays afloat, the longer we will have millions of people utterly deprived of freedom, hope, and basic necessities of life, like food.

I don’t know what president Obama is made of. I don’t know if he has steel in his spine (as Joe Biden suggests) or not. But I surely hope he is made of sterner stuff than Jimmy Carter. I surely hope he can see that a resolution that keeps the North Korean regime in power is not humane or decent in any way.

As for me, I will pray for the downfall of the North Korean regime, and freedom for the oppressed. I will pray for minimal loss of life (there is no use in praying for no loss of life – people have already been killed in the early action). I will pray that the tyranny finally ends, that the hopelessness is brought to a close, that doors are opened for us to rescue the victims of this horrible experiment in communism. You never know what tomorrow might bring.

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