Skip to comments.North Korea's Fatal Chess Game
Posted on 12/14/2010 11:35:18 AM PST by Kaslin
These are tense times on the world stage. Drip-drips of classified information strain already dicey relations between the U.S. and its allies. Russian spies are caught red-handed and swapped for others. Iranians negotiating with anyone bent on the destruction of Israel. And yet, the current conflict and on-again, off-again talks with North Korea make one long for the simpler days of Cold War era diplomacy.
A pattern is clearly forming with the North Koreans, and it does not favor peace-loving nations around the world, most notably the United States and South Korea.
Last month's shelling of Yeonpyeong Island was just the latest in a string of actions by the Communist regime that signals either the country's desperation, or desire to provoke its enemies, or both.
The artillery barrage comes on the heels of a shocking discovery by an American scientist who was practically handed the keys to a new, advanced uranium-enrichment facility no one knew or thought could exist inside the dark Korean border. That follows the unprovoked sinking of a South Korean warship in March, leaving 46 sailors and crew dead.
But wait, there's more!
Reports are coming out of the peninsula that the North is poised to conduct its third (yes, third) nuclear test before year's end. And yet the world has no way of monitoring the North's actions, because IAEA inspectors haven't set foot there in years.
Clearly, the time for "strategic patience" has come to an end. Six-way negotiations are proving fruitless, because there is no incentive for the North Koreans to see and appreciate the value of talks over brutality.
Former President Jimmy Carter is more optimistic on the matter, yet even he is becoming a voice of one. Writing in The Washington Post recently, Mr. Carter feebly tried to explain the North's actions following the shelling of its neighbors. He argued that now is the time to listen to the North, because the government's actions were "designed to remind the world they deserve respect in negotiations."
How does Pyongyang claim to deserve respect when it won't even begin to respect parties in the talks? If it wants to be taken seriously, then that means North Korea should begin taking seriously its own role and responsibility in these negotiations, not its shoot, ready, aim policies of the past.
Think of the precedent such behavior potentially establishes. If we succumb to the North's demands, then what do we do with the Taliban?Iran? Let them attack anything and everyone because we don't "respect" their right to negotiate better deals for their people, then we sheepishly come to the bargaining table? Such logic is rooted in naïve foreign relations.
The cycle of talks - followed by eerie silence, then naked acts of aggression, followed by the world's psychoanalysis of Kim Jong Il, then pleas for more talks - must end.
The nation suffers from punishing sanctions. And yet seemingly before its final moment of collapse, the regime flails violently with military might, crying like a baby that it is being mistreated and misunderstood, only to signal a willingness to talk like adults?
Permitting that behavior only tees up another 50 year reign of a tyrant, justifying to its people that's how they will survive in a geopolitical world where they are pariahs and the Kims are its only saviors. Such actions are brainwashing of continental proportions, and we contribute to it.
Even Mr. Carter acknowledged that "no one can completely understand the motivations of the North Koreans."
Well, if the world's diplomats can't possibly know what the North is thinking, then perhaps it's time to help them understand that actions have consequences.
Diplomacy only works with unstable regimes when there's a stick behind the carrot. Don't misunderstand, talks and compromise are the ultimate prescription for what ails the North. Yet it's increasingly clear that military retaliation through a multi-national force could help frame this debate in ways no diplomatic ping-pong has been able to achieve heretofore.
China, North Korea's greatest ally, even seems unwilling to help. When asked earlier this month for its views on what to do next, Beijing indicated that "calm and restraint are now needed to cool down the situation."
I'm sorry, but who was "hot" in this instance? Wasn't it only the North?
Conflict may well bring the Chinese to the table, since they virtually ignore the region now. In truth, China has no vested interest other than to prevent North Korean refugees from flooding its borders should the government collapse.
This is not a choice between diplomatic relations and escalated conflict. We need both. One will beget the other.
Time and again, North Korea says one thing while secretly doing what it said it wasn't. How's that diplomacy in good faith? The world can't keep living in fear of a half-cocked nuclear nation that only grows more potent - and unstable - by the month.
The absolutely last person that anyone should consult on NK or world affairs is Jimmy Carter. Meanwhile, the NK leadership has a choice... behave or die.
The absolute last person any country should consult is the peanut farmer from Georgia
Half the nation's children are malnourished, some starving. North Korea's leaders obviously don't care much about that. But if the people are starving, then the "Great Leader" Kim Jong Il and his mandarins probably don't have everything they want, either.However, the North was rebuffed. So, like a very spoiled and self destructive brat North Korea threw a tantrum.
What could North Korea do next? No one was showing respect. No one was offering aid. So the military opened fire. After that, the world did suddenly pay attention again, and at first it followed the script. Everyone urged China, North Korea's only ally, to restrain its neighbor. President Obama made his call on Monday [December 6, fourteen days after the attack on Yeonpyenong-do]. China, as usual, refused and instead invited the United States and other nations to Beijing for talks - just what North Korea had wanted.
Around the table, the North Koreans could once again demand bounteous aid in exchange for a promise of no further attacks.
Well, this time was different. The United States, Japan and South Korea refused to attend. By now, they knew the game. When a North Korean official showed up for the talks last Friday, nobody else was there. (emphasis added)I hope the United States, South Korea and Japan don't cave in. However, I'm not sure right now
I wonder if we have contingency plans to destroy all the artillery pieces before they can do much damage to the capitol city?
“I wonder if we have contingency plans to destroy all the artillery pieces before they can do much damage to the capitol city?”
I’m sure we do - via air strikes and counter-battery fire. But with the amount of artillery that North Korea is supposed to have aimed at Seoul, there’s no chance we’ll be able to put an immediate dent in their firepower.
They’ll cause quite a high degree of civilian carnage before we can stop ‘em.
Mr. Armstrong may not have noticed that we've been succumbing to NK's demands for a long time, or at least let them get away with what would be intolerable elsewhere, and yet it has not set a precedent in other parts of the world.
Any subsequent argument based on "avoiding a precedent" is fatally flawed.
I think pretty much everybody -- including the bad guys -- recognizes that the Korean Peninsula is a special case.
Obama is voting “present” on NK, just like he did during the Iranian revolt. We’re gonna pay a big price for his gutless presidency, I’m afraid.
I disagree. I think Iran is noticing the N.K. precedent.
N.K., Iran, Syria, South America... all are part of the get nuke insurance group.
The absolute only way to do that would be with nukes. No joke! I was stationed there way back in the 90’s, we practiced “X-Attack” against simulated arty emplacements like those in NK in and around the mountains just North of the border. We would have killed many, many arty pieces and their crews on every sortie, but not nearly enough.
The only solution would be nukes used quickly. The “kill rate” in Seoul would have been in the 10’s of thousands per hour of innocent civilians with all the tube and rocket arty aimed at the city. The streets would have been rivers of blood before we or the US Army and ROK Army couter-battery made a dent. That is still the case today.
The North Korean leadership caste should be crushed like insects.
That done, progress is possible.
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