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October 10, 2006

Is North Korea The Wrong Focus?

Topics: North Korea
... since we're inevitably going to hear the Democrats and their media allies lionizing the Clinton approach, that what we're seeing here is directly Clinton's fault. By signing an agreement that everyone knew would be cheated on by North Korea as a substitute for taking action, he, personally, left any successor no viable options and made this day a 100% certainty.
Joe Katzman had a piece up yesterday at Winds of Change that offers sound advice for the Bush administration, except for the not-so-little matter of North Korea's role as a weapons proliferator to countries like Iran and Syria, and also to terrorist groups with cash in hand.

However, Katzman's points regarding China and the Korea(s), and how best to influence events there, is worth considering; his basic premise is that we should forget North Korea, that dog ain't ever goin to hunt, it never has before, and it isn't about to start now:

... No proposal involving their government, from idiotic talk of sanctions (what, we're going to cut Kim out of the movie remake?) to even dumber and more craven responses around "rewards" (read: appeasement and a license to keep cheating) is worth even 10 seconds of your time. Search and boarding activities for ships from North Korea may be helpful, and preparations for that have been underway for a while, but ultimately this doesn't solve the problem and raises risks whenever used.

.. if this turns out to be a nuclear test, ignore North Korea. Sanctions et. al are a total waste of time. Target China indirectly, with consequences it can easily understand as horribly bad from their perspective but which appear to be perfectly reasonable responses to North Korea.

... In other words, make it clear to the Chinese via back-channel diplomacy that anything Taiwan chooses to do re: acquiring nuclear technology is no longer of any interest to the USA until Kim's regime is gone - and that the Taiwanese are being briefed to that effect (the US had stopped a Taiwanese nuclear effort by threatening a cutoff of all military aid). Be clear also, and make public statements that "other states in the region" now have a viable reason to respond in kind. One could also drop hints about and then refuse to deny to the Chinese that back-channel discussions have begun with South Korea and Japan that involve America offering them a set number of working nuclear weapons from US stocks as a counterweight. They can also be told more directly via diplomatic channels that the USA will also support either or both countries if they choose to pursue their own programs, meanwhile floating diplomatic "trial balloons" re: a system that gives these countries their own deterrents as a better option, because it does not produce the capacity for further manufacture and so is "less destabilizing to the region."

... How China chooses to fix the North Korea problem after that and thus stop all of these intiatives is, of course, up to them. Welcome to the big leagues, and have a nice day.

... Nothing short of that kind of response is going to change anything.

... since we're inevitably going to hear the Democrats and their media allies lionizing the Clinton approach, that what we're seeing here is directly Clinton's fault. By signing an agreement that everyone knew would be cheated on by North Korea as a substitute for taking action, he, personally, left any successor no viable options and made this day a 100% certainty.

... And that day is a 100% certainty, whether or not this particular event is borne out as a nuke. The only question now is when, and that was true the day after Clinton/Carter's "peace in our time (subtext: and war in someone else's)" agreement was signed. That transparently phony agreement, and not his negligence in pursuing al-Qaeda, has always been the #1 screw-up of Clinton's Presidency. It may yet surpass his #2 screw-up in terms of the American lives it costs before all is said and done.

... If the GOP has 2 brain cells left, they'll hit that point with everything they have. Which means, of course, even odds at best.

Be sure to read the entire post, including the linked to 2005 post, "China's Stresses, Goals, Military Buildups... and Futures." As I mentioned in my introduction, for the most part Katzman's piece appears to be a good analysis of the situation(s) involving the Korea(s) and the importance of China in solving present and future difficulties there. However, his suggestions don't really address the critical issue of weapons proliferation to terrorist states and groups, of which N. Korea itself should actually be considered to also be member, albeit one not having anything to do with Islam. These matters are far to critical to U.S. and Western security to leave in the hands of "promises to behave" from North Korea, or any promises from China to restrain them.

Posted by Richard at October 10, 2006 8:06 AM



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