Sunday, April 14, 2013

Jeremi Suri calls for war

By Frank Moreas 

Jeremi Suri wrote a remarkable op-ed in The New York Times on Friday, "Bomb North Korea, Before It's Too Late." What I find so interesting is that Suri is not some Fox News shouter. He seems to be more or less a liberal, or at least what passes for one in modern America. He is also a history professor at University of Texas, Austin -- despite what many people seem to think, one of the best schools in the world.

Let me see if I can break down his argument: (1) North Korea is going to launch a missile; (2) we should bomb it first; (3) Obama should state that this attack on a sovereign country is defensive; and (4) we will never have trouble with North Korea again! He also "knows" lots of stuff: "precise satellite reconnaissance" tells us where the missile is; "civilians face serious danger" from North Korea; the strike would "preserve regional stability"; it is "unlikely that Mr. Kim would retaliate by attacking South Korea"; and most shockingly of all, "the Chinese government would do everything it could to prevent" a counter attack from North Korea.

Suri goes on to admit that, well, maybe North Korea would counter attack, just to save face. But then he write -- and this is important -- "Under these unfortunate circumstances, the United States and its allies would still be better off fighting a war with North Korea today, when the conflict could still be confined largely to the Korean Peninsula." You got that? He's offering Bush's great Iraq War justification, "We're fighting them there, so we don't have to fight them here." I am shocked that an otherwise reasonable person would make this argument today.

What is most naive about Dr. Suri's argument is that other countries will accept our assurances. The North Koreans are supposed to believe that we aren't seeking regime change. The Chinese are supposed to believe that we aren't going to occupy the Korean peninsula. And the world is supposed to believe that our attack is defensive. I have three answers to this assurances. First, attacking North Korea will make its government look bad and potentially cause a coup or some other form of destabilization. Second, if we go to war and win, we will have to occupy the Korean peninsula, at least for a while. Third, we said the Iraq War was purely defensive too.

It is only too easy for pundits and academics to call for war. They don't have to fight and die. But given all that this country has been through the last 15 years, I can't understand where Jeremi Suri is coming from. If bellicose rhetoric was a reason for war, we would have had World War III in the 1950s. People like Suri are dangerous. They need to be countered.

(Cross-posted at Frankly Curious.)

Labels: , ,

Bookmark and Share


  • Anyone interested in who Jeremi Suri is and what he has been about might find the following article of interest:

    By Blogger Allen Ruff, at 2:32 PM  

  • Anyone interested in who Jeremi Suri is and what he has been about might find the following article of interest:

    By Blogger Allen Ruff, at 2:33 PM  

  • Saw Suri's op-ed in the NYT a couple of days ago. It's junk and totally militarily ignorant.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 10:08 PM  

Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home