I have to chime in now, I have kinda thrown this together, but, I think you’ll get the drift of where I am coming from. BTW, I picked N. Korea, as I feel they are more irrational, and they have less to loose (i.e. M.A.D. wont deter them.
1). Most of the world, which included, Mexico, many countries in So. America, and Asia, as well as many of our citizens were against the United States becoming involved in WWII.
Question: would the world have been better off if the U.S. followed "popular" opinion and not gotten involved? Were we right (not based on hindsight) to get involved? Did we have concrete evidence that warranted our involvement (speaking of the Lend Lease Policy that FDR initiated)? Remember, Japan was nervous of our presence in the Pacific, because they felt it was the only deterrent to their imperial ambitions, so they attacked us, expecting to put us out of commission.
2). NeoCons trying to capitalize on Iraqi oil? If so, why has the price of fuel spiked?
The greatest threat to the U.S. oil dependency is cheap oil. I am from the Petrochemical industry, and when the price of oil was very high in the mid 80s, there was tremendous private incentive to pursue alt energy resources. However, our "friends" with turbans and camels, saw this as a threat to their way of life (i.e. most of their population lives in 3rd world conditions, and a few living in luxury). They (the autocrats) used the petrol dollars to prop up their regimes by handing out money when needed to keep the people quiet; and when needed murdering (on a grand scale) all those who opposed them. Granted, U.S. policy at the time was to posture, and sidle up to regimes that were anti Soviet, but that was the prevailing wisdom and policy of the time. Anyway, what did the Arabs do when they thought we would eventually curtail our dependency on their oil? They flooded the market with oil, causing the price to plummet; the U.S. syn-fuels industry went “kaput" overnight. As far as oil companies making “excessive” profits, please define for me what you think are “appropriate” profits (the U.S. govt makes more in taxes on a gallon of gasoline, than the oil companies make in profit).
3). In my opinion, it is ludicrous to think that any area of the world is "stable" we live in/on a dynamic planet. Resources are constantly being utilized (or even under-utilized), populations are constantly changing (most of Europe is loosing more of their native born each year than are replaced; Russia alone is loosing over 700k people per year). So, those of you that thought the Zero population growth movement of the 60's (remember, all of the predictions said we'd be starving by the early 80's because the globe couldn’t produce enough food, most of the famines we’ve experienced are a consequence of despotic governments starving their own people) was a good idea, well, someone didn’t tell the third world that, they have continued to procreate at an high rate. And, you can’t blame the Catholic Church for not supporting birth control, because, if you were a good rich limousine liberal you could charter a cargo plane, fill it full of condoms and fly over the villages and shovel condoms out the bay door, or you could volunteer and work with the indigenous population and teach them birth control.
4). If you really think Bush and his evangelical bent are running us toward Armageddon, think about Ahmadinajad (spelling?? in Iran), he thinks he is going to pave the way for the 12th? Imam (or is he pandering toward his base??). What do you think will happen in Iran, if you stand up and criticize the direction of the country? Here at least, if you don’t like Bush, you can say so, you can put on a play that shows him being assassinated, you have tremendous freedoms, and these aren’t likely to go away any time soon. Lets contrast that with Salman Rashdie (author of The Satanic Verses), who has lived in fear (fatwa on him) since the early 80s; Theo Van Gogh, who had the audacity to make a documentary about how brutal Shari Law is toward women; cartoons from Denmark, the Pope comparing how little has changed in 700years. When was the last time Christians or Jews or Buddhist or Hindus rioted in the streets because someone said something they didn’t like? Bush may be making some mistakes, but then, who of us doesn’t make misjudgments? Does this absolve him? No, I think not. Do I think he is reckless, No. Which leader of the above countries do you think is more reckless, or cunning than Bush? I read recently that a journalist in Russia was recently murdered. Her crime, she criticized the Putin administration. Who in this country is afraid of being murdered for what they say and believe, Barbara Streisand, or David Gregory? I think not
Obviously, think what you want, but you are fooling yourself (ves) if you think the information that you receive on the news isn’t biased. Mark Halprin, ABC news political director, has said so himself, he said recently, that with out the “October Surprises” the Democrats wouldn’t have a chance. He also said in the 04 election that media bias was worth 10-15 points for Kerry. You don’t have to like Bush, but at least be serious with the criticisms of his administration (Clinton had contingency plans to invade Iraq, MANY thought and were convinced that Sadam Hussein was dangerous AND had WMD, just because something was not found, does not mean it didn’t exist). Was too much emphasis put on the testimonials of Iraqi dissidents, perhaps (again, hindsight).
The greatest error of the U.S. involvement in Iraq (IMO) is that Bush may have unwittingly (remember, hindsight) he has set the stage for the reunification of the ancient Persian Empire of Shiites (remember, it was the Brits who broke up the Ottoman Empire). I believe this error was made because so many in the world (Liberals AND Conservatives) are ethnocentric in how they perceive the world. The conservatives, thought all we had to do was bring them liberty and they would be happy and free (see “A case for Democracy”, by Natan Sharansky), the liberals on the other hand think that everything can be reasoned out if we sit and talk (because we are too civilized to fight, (i.e. Neville Chamberlain, Jimmy Carter). The huge benefit with Hamas now leading the Palestinians, is that they are up front and clear as to what their goals are, unlike Yasser Arafat who would tell us one thing (i.e. lie) and then go home and continue to stoke the flames of hatred.
Hey, sorry for the rant, just my 0.02 worth.. We can still be friends, right? I still know the words to Cume-by-ya, 8^)