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Wednesday, July 5, 2017

WORTH A READ

For what it is worth, here is an apparently more knowledgeable discussion of the subject about which I blogged a little while ago.  This does not sound very hopeful, even if America were to pledge not to attack North Korea, as Chomsky has, I gather, suggested.  This is a scary world.  It is no satisfaction at all that I, along with many others, anticipated these sorts of problems more than half a century ago.  Saying "I told you so" as the bombs drop is right up there with Slim Pickens riding a nuke down in Dr. Strangelove  waving his hat like a bronco buster.

5 comments:

s. wallerstein said...

"Which leads to the next option, the one that South Korea’s new president, Moon Jae-in, talked about in Washington on Friday when he visited Mr. Trump: negotiation. It would start with a freeze on North Korea’s nuclear and missile tests in return for an American agreement to limit or suspend military exercises with South Korea. Mr. Xi has long urged that approach, and it won an endorsement on Tuesday from President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia, after he met with the Chinese leader.
That, too, carries risks. It essentially achieves the North Korean and Chinese goal of limiting American military freedom of action in the Pacific, and over time it would erode the quality of the American-South Korean military deterrent."

I don't see the problem with this option. Why not let the Russians and the Chinese handle this situation? Why does the U.S. have to control every inch of this planet? With what right does the U.S. strive to control every inch of this planet?

It seems evident that the Russians and the Chinese (which are a lot closer to Korea than the U.S.) have every interest in avoiding a nuclear war on the Korean peninsula.

G said...

David Kang has written an opinion piece in the NyTimes well worth reading: https://nyti.ms/2tNImGa. I think that Kim Jung Un is much less irrational than most American media outlets claim. While he is cavalier with his threats, N. Korea is not bent on self-destruction, but rather interested in deterrence. Until now, there methods of deterrence have been successful. Patience and diplomacy would go a long way. The first thing the US needs to do is to drop its dangerous and idiotic requirement that N. Korea needs to end its weapons development prior to any talks with the US. N. Korea has indicated that it would be open to talks about curbing its missile development only if the US would pledge to stop its ostentatious displays of military force in the region, including annual war games with South Korea. Diplomatic talks must begin this process. It is totally un-realistic to argue that a country must drop its bargaining chip prior to talks.

I also recommend reading this excellent history of the Korean conflict written by Bruce Cummings that was published in the LRB last month: https://www.lrb.co.uk/v39/n10/bruce-cumings/a-murderous-history-of-korea. It helps to clarify the stakes of the situation (and also some of the ever-pervasive myths about NK).

If Trump attacks N Korea, it would be disaster. A first strike would certainly result in devastating retaliation. Trump has indicated his willingness to talk (and even meet) with Kim Jong-Un in the past, but reading his mind is impossible. Hopefully his threats issued over the last few days are just empty saber-rattling. Otherwise, millions and millions near the Koreas will die.

LFC said...

A freeze on N Korean weapons testing in exchange for a suspension of U.S./ROK military exercises seems like a reasonable way in to negotiations. "Freeze" and "suspension" are by definition temporary and the devil would be in the proverbial details, but as a first step it seems as if it should be viable (key word being "should"). Question is whether either side has the necessary flexibility even to get to this point. The U.S. seems more interested in trying to put more financial pressure on the North via pressure on Chinese banks and orgs. through which some of the North's funds flow (and flow illicitly, i.e. contrary to existing UN sanctions). This seems rather unlikely to work, but there are some who are insisting it be tried.

Cf. this debate (D. Cohen and J. Mearsheimer) on PBS NewsHr yesterday:
http://www.pbs.org/newshour/bb/new-economic-pressure-change-north-koreas-ambitions/

LFC said...

The David Kang op-ed, linked by 'G' above, is quite good.

It's reassuring to see an expert on the region say that Kim Jong-Un is not suicidal and that deterrence will therefore continue to work "in both directions."

LFC said...

p.s. and further suggest, in effect, that the U.S. (and UN) accept NK's status as a nuclear-armed state and concentrate on other issues w/r/t the region and the country while maintaining the U.S. alliance w/ S. Korea. IOW, give up the goal of a denuclearized Korean peninsula as unachievable in any foreseeable future, and move on.