Saturday, June 6, 2009

Another US diplomat shows lack of cluefulness

"How to Deal with a Dictator" by Robert Joseph in the Wall St Journal. Author comes on strong for bearing down hard on North Korea, often referred to as the Kim Family Regime. He decries past US policy for first bearing down and then backing off. Then he gets around to one of the keys to the matter, Chinese support for North Korea.
"China must know there are costs and risks for not acting to end the North's nuclear programs. Some of those costs we can impose if we are willing to pay an economic price."
Right. Just what is the economic price to us for China dumping her $700 billion worth of T-bills on the international market? What cost can we impose on China greater those Great Depression II has already laid upon them? We have here an ex State Dept. weenie with no idea about economics, business, finance, and economic power. Like Thomas Jefferson's embargo against the British, which ruined American traders and helped the British by taking a competitor out of play. Before you pull the trigger, make sure the gun isn't pointed at your own feet. In actual fact the US lacks any means of pressuring China other than talking to them.
Robert Joseph completely ignores another key fact about the situation. North Korea is in such bad shape that the communist government may collapse at any moment. The only thing keeping the current government in power is the perception that the army will shoot North Korea civilians to maintain order, and keep the Kim family in power. Should that perception wane, all hell will break loose. A single platoon refusing to fire upon civilians might unleash chaos.
When the regime falls, a tidal wave of refugees will slosh into South Korea. China will be under great pressure to send troops to maintain order. So will South Korea. A second Korean war could be touched off by a single firefight between the People's Liberation Army and the South Korean army.
Only modest diplomatic and economic pressure on the Kim Family Regime might touch off the revolution. Robert Joseph doesn't discuss the existence or the solution to these problems at all. For the sake of the US I sincerely hope we have some more clueful diplomats, somewhere.

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