North Korea celebrated July 4, 2006 by launching missiles into the Sea of Japan, one of which reportedly was aimed at or near Hawaii but blew up so soon after launch that it did not travel far.
Mr. President, on January 29, 2002, in your State of the Union Address, with the memory of September 11, 2001 fresh and foremost in the minds of the American people, you identified three major threats to America--North Korea, Iran and Iraq (in that order)--and expressed your firm resolve to thwart those who would bully, blackmail or even destroy America:
"[Our goal] is to prevent regimes that sponsor terror from threatening America or our friends and allies with weapons of mass destruction. Some of these regimes have been pretty quiet since September the 11th. But we know their true nature. North Korea is a regime arming with missiles and weapons of mass destruction, while starving its citizens.
"Iran aggressively pursues these weapons and exports terror, while an unelected few repress the Iranian people's hope for freedom.
"Iraq continues to flaunt its hostility toward America and to support terror. The Iraqi regime has plotted to develop anthrax, and nerve gas, and nuclear weapons for over a decade. This is a regime that has already used poison gas to murder thousands of its own citizens—leaving the bodies of mothers huddled over their dead children. This is a regime that agreed to international inspections—then kicked out the inspectors. This is a regime that has something to hide from the civilized world.
"States like these, and their terrorist allies, constitute an axis of evil, arming to threaten the peace of the world. By seeking weapons of mass destruction, these regimes pose a grave and growing danger. They could provide these arms to terrorists, giving them the means to match their hatred. They could attack our allies or attempt to blackmail the United States. In any of these cases, the price of indifference would be catastrophic."
Mr. President, you were born soon after World War II ended, but you apparently learned much from studying it. The big lesson: appeasing a bully/blackmailer does not win peace.
On September 30, 1938, British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain returned to the Prime Minister’s residence in London after his infamous Munich Conference with Hitler, Mussolini and Daladier and hopefully, but inanaely, announced: “For the second time in our history, a British Prime Minister has returned from Germany bringing peace with honor. I believe it is peace for our time….Go home and get a nice quiet sleep.”
Two and a half years earlier, in March 1936, Germany had reoccupied the Rhineland, and British Prime Minister Stanley Baldwin had told the French Foreign Minister: “[I]f there is even one chance in a hundred that war would follow from your [proposed] police operation [to oust Germany’s military forces from the Rhineland], I have not the right to commit England. England is not in a state to go to war.”
It’s not surprising that John F. Kennedy entitled his first book, While England Slept.
Fortunately, America has not been sleeping since September 11, 2001 (if not an earlier date).
World War I was supposed to have been the one and only world war, thanks to the Treaty of Versailles. Tragically, the peace that the then British Prime Minister (David Lloyd George) thought that Treaty would assure lasted only about twenty years.
The Allies failed to enforce that Treaty (and the subsequent Treaty of Locarno) after Hitler took power in Germany. Ironically, the Ally that urged enforcement, but did not receive support, was...FRANCE.
The Treaty of Versailles declared that Germany should not have or establish fortifications on the left bank of the Rhine or within fifty kilometers of its right bank, and that Germany should not have any military forces, or hold at any time any military maneuvers, or maintain any facilities for military mobilization, in this zone.
Under the Treaty of Locarno, entered into on December 1, 1925, Germany, France, Belgium, Great Britain and Italy guaranteed individually and collectively the permanence of the boundaries of Germany and Belgium and of Germany and France.
That Treaty provided not only that Germany, France and Belgium would never invade or attack neighbors, but that (1) a violation of the Treaty of Versailles would constitute “an unprovoked act of aggression”; (2) immediate action would be required from the offended signatories because of the assembling of armed forces in Germany’s demilitarized zone; (3) the violation should be immediately reported to the League of Nations; and (4) the League would establish the fact of violation and then advise the signatory nations that they were bound to give their military aid to the invaded or attacked nation.
When Hitler occupied the Rhineland in 1936, his occupation was allowed to stand, because France and Great Britain then were too timid to fight and/or too easily humbugged.
Winston Churchill, in The Gathering Storm, straightforwardly described the Rhineland occupation and the reaction to it as follows: “It was not only a breach of an obligation exacted by force of arms in war and of the Treaty of Locarno, signed freely in full peace, but the taking advantage of a friendly evacuation by the Allies of the Rhineland several years before it was due. The news caused a world-wide sensation. The French Government…uprose in vociferous wrath and appealed to all its allies and to the League….Here if ever was the violation, not only of the Peace Treaty, but of the Treaty of Locarno; and an obligation binding upon all the Powers concerned.”
For those wondering why France has been so resentful of the United States and Great Britain and obstructionist, part of the answer seems to lie in their failure to support France in 1936.
Churchill reported: “In France there was a hideous shock. [The French Prime Minister and Foreign Minister] had the impulse to act at once by general mobilisation. If they had been equal to their task, they would have done so; and thus compelled all others to come into line. It was a vital issue for France.
But they appeared unable to move without the concurrence of Britain. This is an explanation, but no excuse. The issue was vital to France, and any French Government worthy of the name should have made up its own mind and trusted to the Treaty obligations….they did not meet with any encouragement to resist the German aggression from the British. On the contrary, if they hesitated to act, their British allies did not hesitate to dissuade them. During the whole of Sunday there were agitated telephonic conversations between London and Paris. His Majesty’s Government exhorted the French to wait in order that both countries might act jointly and after full consideration. A velvet carpet for retreat!”
What was the French Foreign Minister’s frank appraisal of the situation, as conveyed to the English at the time?
”The whole world and especially the small nations today turn their eyes toward England. If England will act now, she can lead Europe. [England] will have a policy, all the world will follow [England], and thus [England] will prevent war.
It is [England’s] last chance. If [England] do[es] not stop Germany now, all is over. France cannot guarantee Czechoslovakia any more because that will become geographically impossible. If [England] do[es] not maintain the Treaty of Locarno, all that will remain to [England] is to await a rearmament by Germany, against which France can do nothing. If [England] do[es] not stop Germany by force today, war is inevitable, even if [England] make[s] a temporary friendship with Germany As for myself, I do not believe that friendship is possible between France and Germany; the two countries will always be in tension. Nevertheless, if [England] abandon[s] Locarno, I shall change my policy, for there will be nothing else to do.”
What did Great Britain do?
”The British Cabinet, seeking the line of least resistance, felt that the easiest way out was to press France into another appeal to the League of Nations,” which had been “weakened and disheartened by the fiasco of sanctions and the Anglo-German Naval Agreement….”
Did the League of Nations cause Germany’s military forces to leave the Rhineland?
Of course not.
What would have happened if France had initiated military action instead?
”If the French Government had mobilised the French Army, with nearly a hundred divisions and its air force (then still falsely believed to be the strongest in Europe), there is no doubt that Hitler would have been compelled by his own General Staff to withdraw, and a check would have been given to his pretensions which might well have proved fatal to his rule. It must be remembered that France alone was at this time quite strong enough to drive the Germans out of the Rhineland, even without the aid which her own action, once begun, and the invocation of the Locarno Treaty would certainly have drawn from Great Britain.”
So wrote Winston Churchill, who understood Nazi Germany infinitely better than his predecessors as Prime Minister, Stanley Baldwin and Neville Chamberlain.
North Korea's "dear Leader" (Kim Jong-il) celebrated July 4, 2006 by launching missiles into the Sea of Japan, one of which reportedly was aimed at or near Hawaii but blew up so soon after launch that it did not travel far.
The People's Republic of China should have reigned in North Korea, in its own interest, but it has not done so.
So what should the United States do?
Remember what Founder Charles Cotesworth Pinckney did and said when it was Frenchmen who were trying to blackmail the United States. As America's Minister to the French Republic in 1797, Pinckney refused to be blackmailed and declared defiantly, "Millions for defence but not a damned penny for tribute."
North Korea bamboozled America's Neville Chamberlain, Bill Clinton, and his Secretary of State, Madeleine Albright. It took the benefits that it won by threat and then became a greater threat.
Mr. President, you and your Secretary of State (Condoleeza Rice) should profit from the bad example of your predecessors and remember that the two of you have even less excuse than they (Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.)
Mr. President, you need to do whatever is needed to protect America. If diplomacy will not succeed (and it did not with Saddam and will not with Kim), for whatever reason, that means military action. Better to act now that to wait until North Korea is an even greater danger.
Mr. President, you were right to depose Saddam Hussein, and you would be right to end the North Korean danger NOW (and wrong not to do so).
Michael J. Gaynor has been practicing law in New York since 1973. A former partner at Fulton, Duncombe & Rowe and Gaynor & Bass, he is a solo practitioner admitted to practice in New York state and federal courts and an Association of the Bar of the City of New York member.
Gaynor graduated magna cum laude, with Honors in Social Science, from Hofstra University's New College, and received his J.D. degree from St. John's Law School, where he won the American Jurisprudence Award in Evidence and served as an editor of the Law Review and the St. Thomas More Institute for Legal Research. He wrote on the Pentagon Papers case for the Review and obscenity law for The Catholic Lawyer and edited the Law Review's commentary on significant developments in New York law.
The day after graduating, Gaynor joined the Fulton firm, where he focused on litigation and corporate law. In 1997 Gaynor and Emily Bass formed Gaynor & Bass and then conducted a general legal practice, emphasizing litigation, and represented corporations, individuals and a New York City labor union. Notably, Gaynor & Bass prevailed in the Second Circuit in a seminal copyright infringement case, Tasini v. New York Times, against newspaper and magazine publishers and Lexis-Nexis. The U.S. Supreme Court affirmed, 7 to 2, holding that the copyrights of freelance writers had been infringed when their work was put online without permission or compensation.
Gaynor currently contributes regularly to www.MichNews.com, www.RenewAmerica.com, www.WebCommentary.com, www.PostChronicle.com and www.therealitycheck.org and has contributed to many other websites. He has written extensively on political and religious issues, notably the Terry Schiavo case, the Duke "no rape" case, ACORN and canon law, and appeared as a guest on television and radio. He was acknowledged in Until Proven Innocent, by Stuart Taylor and KC Johnson, and Culture of Corruption, by Michelle Malkin. He appeared on "Your World With Cavuto" to promote an eBay boycott that he initiated and "The World Over With Raymond Arroyo" (EWTN) to discuss the legal implications of the Schiavo case. On October 22, 2008, Gaynor was the first to report that The New York Times had killed an Obama/ACORN expose on which a Times reporter had been working with ACORN whistleblower Anita MonCrief.