We had a great panel today at "The Live Desk": Bob Strang, a great voice of reason on terrorism; Bob Barr, former congressman from Georgia; Julie Roginsky, whom we discovered came here from Russia as a child and learned English just by being in an American classroom, and our own Page Hopkins. We're thrilled that Page made a return appearance on the panel!
I talked to Paul Kengor. He has written at least two books on President Reagan. This new one deals with Reagan's life-long fight against communism. So I asked him, "What would Reagan have done, if faced with the North Korea threat?" Kengor pointed out that Kim Jong-Il's father — Kim Il-Sung — was not a big fan of the former president. In fact, the elder Kim had it out for Reagan when he was still governor of California. Kim accurately assessed that Reagan understood the threat North Korea posed and that he would endeavor to do whatever it took to protect the United States.
Reagan's Strategic Defense Initiative sought to protect us from rogue nations with nuclear capability. Kengor believes that the North Korea threat may inspire current and future U.S. leadership to expand and improve our SDI program. The book is called, "The Crusader: Ronald Reagan and the Fall of Communism." May be worth a read.
That discussion brought me to the question that is the elephant in the room these days: What if we were hit by a small or large-scale nuclear weapon? There are a number of books and TV shows right now that are looking at what life would be like after such a horrible event. There is the possibility that a nuclear event could happen on our soil in our lifetime. Many terrorism experts say it is very likely. With more and more nuclear material finding its way around the world — thanks in part to Pakistan's A.Q. Khan — that may be the case. No one wants to think about it, but that is the underlying fear that employs a good portion of our intelligence agencies. It is what sends our secretary of state around the globe — to sure up relationships and apply diplomatic pressure.
As a fan of "24," I find myself wishing that someone could assure me that there is indeed a "Jack Bauer" in the world — a federal agent with a direct link to the president. A man who can save us in the nick of time from any impending attack.
I shudder to think about living through a nuclear attack or the alternative, of course. But I think the recent interest in shows and books that focus on that possibility means that it's is something that is permeating the American conscience. Who can protect us? It's a good question and one that may be on the minds of many voters on November 7th.
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