By Daniel Greenfield:
Travelers across the vast stretches of the Arabian desert have been known to get lost and in their thirst and exhaustion hallucinate oases with palm trees and flowing water. Western policymakers lost in the vast stretches of madness that define the Muslim world are even more wont to hallucinate the oasis of a moderate Islam to take refuge in.
We try to analyze what happens and is likely to happen in North Korea as though we knew as much as there is to know about it. We seem to look upon it as a small state in a mid western part of the United States. It is not. Korea has a far longer history than does the United States and is extraordinarily different culturally, historically and in just about every other important respect. It is said that FDR tried to deal with Joseph Stalin before and during WWII as though Stalin were a Senator from the Georgia in the United States. He obviously knew that Stalin was not, but nevertheless treated him in many respects as though he were. Give him the equivalent of a bridge, a road and other such goodies; then he will like us and do as we demand because that’s the way politics works in the United States. Until we learn that people around the world are not necessarily the same as we are, don’t necessarily think in the same way and don’t necessarily appreciate the same things, we will continue to muck up foreign policy terribly. Our troops and those of our allies and enemies will continue to die unnecessarily, we will continue spend money that we don’t have and continue to be impoverished in the process. Are we stupid, or just mistakenly well-meaning?We can not perceive reality in the ways that North Koreans or Islamists perceive them; the cultural and religious differences are too great. We try to compensate by engaging in the fantasy that they are just about the same as we are and will react as we would. They are not and will not.