I do worry that the North Korean strike against South Korea Tuesday could be a sign of things to come. Since World War II, the U.S.A. has been the world’s policeman, but dictators and madmen around the world know that decades of fiscal and monetary irresponsibility have substantially weakened the U.S. government’s capacity to respond to their provocations.
The U.S.A. of the 1950s that pushed back the communists in South Korea is not the same world power now weighed down by the largest government deficits and debts in half a century. The dictators and madmen — and their backers — can see this. It would not be a surprise to me if they are emboldened to probe the weak seams in Pax Americana with greater frequency.
If the U.S.A. responds militarily to the challenges, the resources required could drain the already over-stretched domestic economy; the consequence could be an era of severe economic fluctuations for its citizens. If the U.S.A. chooses to ignore the challenges, its national security will become increasingly endangered. Neither choice is attractive. Let’s cross our fingers and hope the North Korean incident is not a sign of things to come.