Why Can’t We All Just Get Along?

“There is, of course, one overriding fact about the world we live in that we, like every other nation on this planet, have to face – and from which we cannot run away.  We are the parents and the children of the nuclear age.  We may not welcome it.  We may fear it.  We may even be haunted by it.  But pretending that it does not exist is not a solution.  Come what may, it can’t be wished away.”  – British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, 1983

Working in public safety I’ve seen some of the worst evil in this world.  When I was a corrections officer, I saw the sociopathic behavior of convicted criminals on a daily basis.  I watched inmates make friends of religious leaders and visitors who came to run various programs and then take advantage of those good people as soon as they were either paroled or their sentence ended.  On the streets, I’ve responded to domestic violence calls and watched in astonishment as victims have refused medical treatment and asked when their abuser will be released from jail – and the abusers have gotten away with it for so long they’ve come to expect it.  I know better than most just how evil human beings are capable of being – and how much they rely on good people to hope that they’ll change their ways.

Maybe that is why I have a hard time understanding why our current Democratic leadership is bound and determined to ignore the threat posed by Iran and North Korea arming themselves with nuclear weapons.

If you look at the way aggressive nations behaved during certain presidencies, you can see a distinct pattern form.  When Republicans have held office – such as Ronald Reagan, George Bush, and George W. Bush – normally headstrong nations that might take anti-American postures became much quieter.  There has historically been a lull in the violent rhetoric and threats.  The Taliban was much more willing to back off when they knew that Bush was prepared to eliminate them and was not interested in negotiating.  Put a Democrat in office, though, and you get things like Saddam suddenly refusing to live by the terms of the surrender he signed and deliberately letting out noise that he still hasn’t ended his WMD program and may even be working toward nuclear capability.  You get North Korea issuing threats of turning South Korea into a sea of fire.

The only reason Iran started working towards nuclear capability with GWB in office was because they knew we were stretched thin with two wars and little motivation to begin a third.  They were banking on the idea that the American people wouldn’t be willing to even consider a new conflict.  Now, with Obama in office, they see his lackadaisical approach to America’s relationship with Israel coupled with our agreement to continue sending warplanes and artillery to Egypt and they know they have it in the bag – they’re hardly trying to hide it anymore.

This week, North Korea conducted its third nuclear test – one powerful enough that seismologists mistook the shockwave for an earthquake.  They never would have done this if a conservative had been elected.  Unfortunately, we re-elected a leader with no spine – and they know exactly what he’s willing (or NOT willing, more appropriately) to do.

In 2010, President Obama signed a deal with Russia – the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty, or the New START.  Part of the deal revealed to the world US nuclear capacity and stockpiles.  This was his way of telling everyone he wasn’t interested in fighting.  Not only did he reveal the number of delivery vehicles and warheads we had, but he agreed to reduce our stockpiles to about one-third of what we had at the time.  As he was signing the deal that Congress had yet to agree to (and would later ratify), Governor Palin likened the President to a kid on a playground staring down a bully and saying, “go ahead, punch me in the face.  I’m not going to retaliate!”

When asked about her comments, the President said, “I really have no response, because last I checked Sarah Palin’s not much of an expert on nuclear issues.”  The Governor said a few days later during her speech at the Southern Republican Leadership Conference, “now, the President, with all of the vast nuclear experience that he acquired as a community organizer and as a part-time senator, and as a full-time candidate, all that experience and still no accomplishment to date with North Korea and Iran!”

She was right.  What President Obama has done is sat down at the poker table, gotten the perfect hand, dropped it on the table for everyone to see and then said, “well, I’m not sure I need all these cards, so I’m gonna get rid of a few and THEN put in a bet…”

We can’t all get along because there are evil people in this world.  Those people prey on the weak and they expect that there are deeply emotional people in our society who will feel sorry for them long enough to give them the opportunity to arm themselves and hurt us.  No amount of hoping that it won’t happen will protect us.  I was never the type of officer who yelled and screamed and put inmates down, and the inmates often mistook my calm demeanor for weakness.  After I was attacked by an inmate and I soundly won the altercation, I didn’t have to brag.  I didn’t have to issue threats.  I had quietly demonstrated my ability to defend myself mercilessly and then I walked away.  The bad guys weren’t interested in trying to bait me after that because they knew that I wouldn’t play their game.

There’s something to be said for speaking softly and carrying a big stick.

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