The Problem with North Korea

North Korea has reached the point where they think that just to threaten to attack Guam will change the direction of US policy and get the US to apologize and perhaps end the embargo. At the same time the NK’s are saying how foolish the US is proceed on the course it is. This is a paradox, the North in the first place is expecting a rational reaction (appeasement) while saying how foolish the US is, which recognizes what the NK’s consider irrational behavior.

All the while North Korea is painting itself into a corner where you go so far with threat that even if you don’t mean it you have to do it to maintain credibility. At that point, attacking Guam, the NK’s have to wonder, will the US retaliate with conventional or nuclear weapons?

As for solving the Gordian knot, that is China’s problem. If they hadn’t supported NK in the Korean War, there wouldn’t be any NK today. And ever since the Korean War, China has used NK as a proxy to goad the US into spending it’s treasure while the Chinese just sat back and built up their treasure. It is a very old principle of how to bleed your enemy into losing without a shout being fired.

An important question for China is, will the NK’s turn on them? Russia is cozying up to NK now and undermining Chinese influence, which the Chinese cannot like. They would have Russia to the north of China and a Russian client state to the south with NK. China is very sensitive about their borders.

What can China do? A “shock and awe” attack on NK – they have been building up troops on the China/NK border – and eliminate the NK state. Then to buy goodwill with the international community, China lets the Koreas unify with the understanding that above the 38th parallel. Korea would be a de-militarized zone except for the equivalent of a “national guard” for civil order, rescue and humanitarian services.

The Chinese have to be mindful of any radioactive fallout, with prevailing winds, would blow from NK right into the heart of China. For America, that would be, in diplomatic speak, “oops”. But karma is like that

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Obama, Kerry and Kim – Kim’s winning

U.S. tells North Korea new missile launch would be “huge mistake”

“U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry warned North Korea on Friday that it would be a “huge mistake” to test launch a medium-range missile and said the United States would never accept the reclusive country as a nuclear power.”

Oh yeah, John? NK is already a nuclear power. So what ya gonna do? Call The Ghostbusters? Bore the North into submission? Iran is watching, laughing and building their own nukes without fear of being stopped

North Korea and war

Several world leaders and authoritative figures have said that North Korea would be crazy to attack. But the last time I heard someone say something like that, it was the President of Afghanistan when the Taliban ruled the country. That president said the U.S. would never attack, that the U.S. would be crazy to considering how the Russians had got chewed up.

The Russian analogy had holes in it since forcing the Russians out had in part depended on American weapons, most notably Stingers, being supplied to the Muhadajeen. The other part was the financial drain the Russia-Afghan War was on the Russians. They just couldn’t afford the ongoing cost.

Now we jump ahead to today and we see North Korea, potentially with nuclear weapons and seeing the U.S. having to cut back on military operations due to budget constraints. The U.S. is in a this-or-that position of dealing with Iran or North Korea and NK sees it as a parallel to what happened to Russia in Afghanistan where NK starts a war and the U.S. can’t stay in the fight. 

So is the leadership of North Korea crazy . . . . or crazy like a fox?

U.S. officials keep saying backdown if you want to end the isolation, but NK sees an advantage of ratcheting up the pressure because they know they are not going to do anything. What they want is a government in the South that leans towards appeasement of the North, one that would like sanctions. In the past few days NK has been telling companies and tourists to evacuate the South because of a “state of war” exists. If this were to happen, the exodus of tourists and businesses, the South would suffer a probable recession with loss of money and jobs. In a case like this voters usually elect politicians from the party not in power and the first thing, when elected, these politicians would do is reverse the policies that brought on the recession by appeasing the North.

There is also the threats that the North cannot guarantee the safety of foreign diplomats in North Korea.

The North is running a psychological warfare operation – crash the South Korean economy and weaken the political will of those that support sanctions.

For the U.S. to stay at near war conditions costs a lot of money and all the North has to do to make this so is bellicose rhetoric and moving a couple missiles around and that costs NK very little. The U.S. looks quite weak in that light as the Russians could say since they are looking to take advantage of the U.S. the same way NK is. No U.S., no international sanctions.

What does the North have to lose? back down and possibly loose control of the country or move ahead because they have nothing to loose.

But the North has spooked the Chinese and that is the most dangerous game of all – biting the hand that feeds you

North Korea and Obama

The Obama administration is somewhat taken with itself. They think that just saying something makes it so. The pen, and thus the words, is mightier then the sword is only true up to a point. At some point a person will be called on those words and then they have to stand up with the sword to defend what they said and to preserve the ideals espoused.

The top U.S. envoy on North Korea, Glyn Davies, cautioned Pyongyang not to miscalculate, saying the U.S. will take necessary steps to defend itself and its allies, including South Korea, where it bases nearly 30,000 U.S. forces.

Davies reiterated that the U.S. will not accept North Korea as a nuclear-armed state — although after conducting three nuclear tests it is already assumed to be capable of making at least a crude atomic bomb.

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Saying that North Korea will not accept North Korea as a nuclear-armed state is engaging in the finest of semantics. The U.S. doesn’t accept North Korea as a state as it stands. But what the administration wants you to hear is that the administration will prevent North Korea from having nuclear weapons, just like it is Iran. The administration comes out looking silly once again and doing what they do best – sticking their foot in their mouth

President Obama talks the talk, but doesn’t walk the walk. He just wants to be able to vacation as he sees fit on the governments dime.