So the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are winding down, albeit 12 years after they started. And, they didn't turn out quite the way they were supposed to. Not only were we not greeted like liberators, it is hard to find two countries on earth that hate us more. I don't know what winning a war looks like as I am too young to remember WWII, but certainly it doesn't feel like this. We took two of the poorest and most backward nations on earth and, at best, fought to a draw. I think this will turn out to be optimistic in the future as the Shiite majority in Iraq aligns closer to Iran and the Taliban reemerges in Afghanistan and subjects the women there to abhorrent human rights abuses. And, it only cost us $3,000 billion, or maybe $5,000 billion when all the military personnel involved finish collecting their health care benefits and pensions years from now.
Well at least the American people have learned their lesson. They don't want another war and they won't be fooled by lackeys from the government and the think tank community who want to push us into one so that the defense industry has some justification for their existence and some place to bill their hours and overhead.
Enter North Korea. A congressman here is claiming they have the technology to deliver a nuclear warhead by missile to the United States. Laughable on its surface, it reminds us so much of the claims that Saddam Hussein had similar weapons of mass destruction and still undiscovered long distance delivery devices.
Please. This is North Korea. They are the economic basketcase of the entire world. People starving in Haiti look down their nose at them. North Korea's total GDP is $28 billion. To put this in perspective, the city of Tulsa, Oklahoma has a GDP of $43 billion, about 50% greater. Let's make this a fair fight, let's have the good people of Tulsa take on North Korea, but please use only shotguns and knives as North Korea has no modern weapons.
This is our recent war history. We have taken on every destitute country that we can find. Korea in 1950, Vietnam, Cambodia, the Dominican Republic, Nicaragua, Lebanon, Grenada, Panama, Haiti, Kosovo, Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya. You don't have to look it up, none of them had incomes per person above $5 a day. And again, it is hard to find an all-out win anywhere in the group unless you count the Marines landing on the shores of Grenada.
How are we approaching the North Korea "threat"? We are conducting joint military exercises with South Korea on the peninsula. We are repositioning our fleet off-shore. We are flying first strike F-22 stealth fighters over the territory. We are aligning anti-missile systems nearby.
What if instead of allowing our military industrial complex to provoke a war or define an enemy, we decided to do something peaceful. We know that 2/3 of North Korea's people are suffering from malnutrition. We see on the news that their military is having target practice with dummies with the letters USA inscribed on them. I have an idea. Why don't we take $1 billion and buy 100 million pounds of food and drop it from airplanes over North Korea. But, this time, let's wrap the food in red, white and blue wrappers with the logo USA boldly emblazoned on each. They may still hate us, but it will get them thinking. My guess, the government of North Korea will try to start rumors that the food is poisoned. But, I will bet the hungry North Koreans will eventually eat it all, after maybe first making their local pooches informal taste testers.
This newsreel is getting old. I couldn't believe we went into Iraq for those of us old enough to remember Vietnam. And here is the worst of it. Even our leaders don't want to win. Winning means the war ends. If war ends, our defense industry has no one to send their bills to. Just like the novel, 1984, we are stuck in a world of endless war. Except this is 2013 and we still haven't learned our lesson.
John R. Talbott is a bestselling author and financial consultant to families whose books predicted the housing crash, the banking crisis and the global economic collapse. You can read more about his books, the accuracy of his predictions and his financial consulting activities at www.stopthelying.com