A nuclear North Korea; a superpower’s foreign policy in tatters show why sound governance really matters.
And so it comes to this. After the most colossal bungling of foreign policy in more than a century through a misguided and deceitful quest for nonexistent weapons of mass destruction in Iraq by the United States, the free and civilized world must now rely upon a totalitarian dictatorship in China to deal with a North Korea that openly displays its nuclear ability. And the West can take further note that its addiction to cheap consumer goods from China, North Korea’s most prominent sponsor, has helped to finance Kim Jong-Il’s nightmare nuclear ambitions.
Not that it was needed, but all this is just more evidence that Winston Churchill really has left the building. Where once giants strode on the world stage, we are now saddled with a collection of smaller than life actors whose reputation and soundness of judgment seem to be receding with each passing day. And so we lurch from maculation in Iraq, where there was no threat to civilization, and chaos in Afghanistan, where the blood of too many Canadians is being spilled to make that country safer for the drug lords who reap a harvest of hypocrisy from record poppy production, to the mishandling of the psychopaths in Pyongyang, who pose one of the most real and present dangers the world has ever known. Because of its ineptitude in Iraq and other manifestations of a discredited and ineffectual foreign policy elsewhere, the United States has become much smaller in influence and standing at the exact moment when its strength and credibility are desperately required. The world saw the benefits of that strength and credibility during times of crisis in the eras of Roosevelt and Kennedy. We cannot yet foresee the full extent of the damage brought on by America’s ongoing misdirected course, but a further collision with reality seems almost certain. The West’s having to delegate its peace and security to another communist dictatorship –and no amount of patio umbrellas and sneaker exports will change that fact– clearly demonstrates that some serious changes have taken place in the geopolitical landscape without much thought or discussion given to their consequences.
Entrusting power to others, which is what is meant by our system of free markets and democratic values, carries with it a duty to hold its custodians to account for its proper use. Power is provided in the form of votes, public expressions of approval or the absence of it, and in the kind of purchases we make and with whom we do business. The truth is none of us can afford to take a vacation from the stakeholder responsibilities we all have as citizens, consumers and investors, and when we do, the results can be chilling.