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'Proportional' Response
Town ^ | 4/8/13 | Thomas Sowell

Posted on 04/08/2013 9:36:43 PM PDT by Impala64ssa

Since when has it been considered smart to tell your enemies what your plans are?

Yet there on the front page of the April 8th New York Times was a story about how unnamed "American officials" were planning a "proportional" response to any North Korean attack. This was spelled in an example: If the North Koreans "shell a South Korean island that had military installations" then the South Koreans would retaliate with "a barrage of artillery of similar intensity."

Whatever the merits or demerits of such a plan, what conceivable purpose can be served by telling the North Koreans in advance that they need fear nothing beyond a tit for tat? All that does is lower the prospective cost of aggression.

When the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor, should we have simply gone over and bombed a harbor in Japan? Does anyone think that this response would have stopped Japanese aggression? Or stop other nations from taking shots at the United States, when the price was a lot lower than facing massive retaliation?

Back before the clever new notion of "proportional" response became the vogue, our response to Pearl Harbor was ultimately Hiroshima and Nagasaki. And Japan has not attacked or even threatened anybody since then. Nor has any war broken out anywhere that is at all comparable with World War II.

Which policy is better? There was a time when we followed the ancient adage "By their fruits ye shall know them." The track record of massive retaliation easily beats that of the more sophisticated-sounding proportional response.

Back in ancient times, when Carthage attacked Rome, the Romans did not respond "proportionally." They wiped Carthage off the face of the earth. That may have had something to do with the centuries of what was called the Pax Romano -- the Roman peace.

When Argentina invaded the Falkland Islands in 1982, the British simply sent troops to take the islands back -- despite American efforts to dissuade Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher from doing even that.

For more than a century since the British settled in the Falkland Islands, Argentina had not dared to invade them. Why?

Because, until recent times, an Argentine attack on a British settlement would be risking not only a British counterattack there, but the danger of a major British attack on Argentina itself. That could mean leaving Buenos Aires in ruins.

Today, Argentina's government is again making threatening noises about the Falkland Islands. Why not? The most the Argentines have to fear is a "proportional" response to aggression -- and the Obama administration has already urged "negotiations" instead of even that. When threats are rewarded, why not make threats, when there are few dangers to fear?

TOPICS: Foreign Affairs; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: nkorea
As usual more clear cogent thinking from Dr Sowell
1 posted on 04/08/2013 9:36:43 PM PDT by Impala64ssa
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To: Impala64ssa

“proportional response” is just going to encourage Kim3 to keepit up

2 posted on 04/08/2013 9:42:31 PM PDT by GeronL (
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To: Impala64ssa

Well, O tells our enemies what our military is planning to make sure we don’t have an advantage. Equal intel for all don’t you know.

3 posted on 04/08/2013 9:50:33 PM PDT by chooseascreennamepat
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To: Impala64ssa
Didn't read the entire article but have read his thoughts many times on this subject.

The fact is, we (American populace) haven't actually had the political balls to win a war since WWII. Now that we're even more politically correct and concerned about collateral damage and nation building, I suspect that the NORKS will win the day in their threats to get more concessions and more importantly, time to build their nukes. The same with Iran.

America, the once guiding light of the World, will get nuked eventually. It will happen because of weak leaders and political correctness. I highly doubt that any US president in this age of "feelings" will reciprocate with a devastating blow to make our point. Bush 1 and Bush 2 didn't do it (Iraq sorta, but Aftganiscrap is mess and will always be). Obama said just yesterday that he would do "tit for tat".

Used to be, we would kill them all and destroy everything they had. Germany, Italy, and Japan learned what that meant and haven't bothered anyone since.

Glad I'm on the back end of my life, and hope I don't see what's coming. I fear for my children and grand-children.

4 posted on 04/08/2013 10:13:03 PM PDT by A Navy Vet (An Oath is Forever)
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To: Impala64ssa

Was anybody expecting an effective foreign policy from the guy who hates America?

5 posted on 04/08/2013 10:45:59 PM PDT by G Larry (Darkness Hates the Light)
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To: Impala64ssa

In my mind I see FUBAR.....

Ain’t nuttin proportional in my response, nor my reaction...

I just beat you down and down until I’m tired....

6 posted on 04/09/2013 12:07:52 AM PDT by Vendome (Don't take life so seriously, you won't live through it anyway)
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To: Impala64ssa

Expect the 479 S Korean managers to be “expelled” tomorrow. The 4 Chinese managers will stay on with maintenance crews for the annual spring cleanup.

The 53,000 NK workers and their 100,000 family members will be quite busy doing spring planting.

The SK workers posed a major security risk for the NK Second Army Corps.

Sat photos show that all four army corps reserves mobilized for combat exercises over the past few months have turned in their weapons to their local Ministry of People’s Safety on 1, April and went back to work gathering fertilizer for spring planting.

Worker and Peasant Red Guards have to grow their own food. Sat photos show they did not carry weapons and backpacks in the fields or in the streets after 1, April as they are required when mobilized about 1, February. Now they are all carrying shovels and hoes.

When mobilized, the Guards relocate to caves and tunnels in the mountains, and now they have gone back to garrison.

Remember, the DPRK are absolute experts at incitement and propaganda. The S Koreans often deliver translations of NK statements that are not accurate.

NK statements always have a backdoor way out that lets them walk backward from hardline statements. That rarely comes through the SK translations.

Posters about self defense have been replaced with posters about the economy.

7 posted on 04/09/2013 9:28:34 AM PDT by gandalftb
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