(This started out as a Facebook post, but it was three paragraphs deep before I realized it needed to be a blog entry. I’ve been making this mistake a lot lately… long Facebook posts that should be here on the blog. I’ll work on making the distinction more clear in the future.)
Imagine this for a moment.. you’ve just inherited leadership of a country that desperately needs a boost. Your dad was a bit odd and more than a little corrupt, and you might be too but who isn’t? Plato said “those who seek power are not worthy of that power.” It is what it is. So where do you start?
Perhaps you can start working on launching a weather satellite.. that’s a technical achievement that could set things on the right path. So you put things together and you get a stern warning that this weather satellite launch is a “hostile activity.” The warning is coming from one of the most violent countries in the world, one that’s already attacking several other countries and has more nukes than anyone in the world.
Naturally, you ignore this aggressor and push forward. Your first experiment fails, but more importantly, international observers condemn you for TRYING TO LAUNCH A SATELLITE, something that wouldn’t cause an eyelash to be batted in almost any other country in the world. Food supply to your already hungry population is interrupted by the offended superpower. You step back for a moment and consider your short time in power.. you’ve made no provocative moves or statements to this country yet. You may harbor some ill will but why are you being prodded when you were just trying to launch a satellite?
More importantly, why are you being prodded by the country with the most launched satellites, the most missiles, the most nukes, the most weapons, the most military bases, involvement in the most foreign countries in acts of war or “police action”? How does a country with such a large amount of weapons and bases and actions tell another country they can’t even launch a satellite? They’re clearly well-armed and ready; perhaps they should mind their own business.
What do you do? Ignore it this time and next time and the time after that? Issue a provocative statement of your own to match the tone of their rhetoric? Plan on strong defense in case of an attack? Plan your own pre-emptive strike, a preferred method of the country trying to provoke you in their earlier endeavors?
What it comes down to in the end is that the provocateur is creating and escalating a conflict and it is expected that you will defend your country. Start researching weapons capabilities. Forget the satellite; you’re under attack.. build some nukes. Create some propaganda to rally your citizens and troops.
That other country will just call them all terrorists, but when the bombs are landing on your soil, will your citizens see it that way?
Such is the nature of war provoked by a bully. Nobody wins.