Is It Time To Think And Act Differently On North Korea?

Authored by George Koo via The Strategic Culture Foundation,

North Korea’s latest test of a missile with a range capable of threatening American cities has left the Trump Administration somewhere between wishful thinking and a hard place. Too bad neither represents a realistic resolution of the conundrum.

The easy way out, for the US at least, is to “let China do it.” President Donald Trump, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, Defense Secretary James Mattis and UN Ambassador Nikki Haley have in unison chanted the same basic mantra: The problem would be solved if China would apply more pressure on North Korea.

First there is no evidence China can tell North Korea what to do with any real hope of success. The two countries are not buddies and there is no love lost between China’s President Xi Jinping and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un. They have not met since both leaders came to power in 2012 and they communicate via messengers.

China has supported a UN resolution strongly condemning North Korea. The Kim regime no more pays heed to China than it has to protests from South Korea, Japan or the United States.

Just as China cannot stop North Korea from developing nuclear weapon and intercontinental missile technology, North Korea is not developing these technologies for China’s sake. North Korea believes it needs nuclear strike capability in order to be taken seriously by the US.

To date, sanctions on North Korea have not worked. The American response has been to ask the UN Security Council to impose more sanctions. In particular, Trump does not feel China is tightening the screws hard enough.

Shutting down North Korea’s economy might bring Kim to heel from the American perspective but clearly such a move is unacceptable from China’s view. Economic collapse would trigger a massive humanitarian crisis and China would be left to deal with the refugees as they take the only viable option and migrate north into China.

There is a flip side to this approach. Even if the sanctions bring North Korea to its knees, it does not mean the Kim regime will become more conciliatory. Kim may decide he has nothing to lose and simply launch an attack on the south.

The other tough approach is to launch a Rumsfeldian shock and awe military bombardment on North Korea before the North can attack.

There is virtually no chance, however, that carpet-bombing could vaporize the array of artillery and missiles facing South Korea. The consequent damage to Seoul and other parts of South Korea from the retaliation would be significant, not to mention the danger to the 30,000 American troops stationed in the south.

There is also no assurance any precision strikes could successfully take out Kim and his inner circle nor knock out all the country’s nuclear weapons and development centers. The risks of failure are simply too great to contemplate.

There is a more sensible approach that an increasing number of commentators and foreign policy observers are suggesting the Trump Administration consider: offer talks without preconditions.

North Korea fears the US and knows Beijing cannot commit on behalf of Washington. Pyongyang wants to deal directly with Washington and does not see China as a credible intermediary. Why not begin a direct conversation?

The Clinton Administration almost reached an agreement with Pyongyang when the clock ran out on Clinton’s term. George W. Bush elected to ignore North Korea and then imposed preconditions before being willing to resume negotiations.

Pyongyang saw the Bush White House as dealing in bad faith and that the only way to gain American respect was to complete the development of a nuclear bomb. North Korea detonated its first nuclear bomb in October 2006, during Bush’s second term.

The Obama administration, unfortunately, followed the Bush line: no negotiations without preconditions. To push for North Korea’s agreement, Washington bandied the threats of sanctions and solicited Beijing for help.

In the 16 years since the end of the Clinton administration, Washington and Pyongyang have made no progress in reaching a common understanding. Each has accused the other of acting in bad faith. The US threatened more sanctions; North Korea kept testing weapons with bigger bang and missiles with longer range.

This endless cycle is not going anywhere and the threat of an American shock-and-awe style attack clearly worries Pyongyang. Why can’t Washington soften a bit and show a willingness to talk without pre-conditions? What does it have to lose?

Will the world respect us less as a fearsome hegemon because we are willing to swallow our pride, or will it applaud us for taking the first step towards peace? Donald Trump has an opportunity to accomplish an important foreign policy triumph that has eluded his two predecessors.


vato poco max2205 Fri, 07/14/2017 - 20:59 Permalink

so how does one deal with a mad dog that a) doesn't believe in live & let live b) won't stay in his own fucking backyard c) loudly and publicly threatens you and/or your interests and d) is lining up the means in which to do you serious harm?I know of *one* time-honored way .... are there any others? can't seem to find any examples in world history to help ...

In reply to by max2205

earleflorida francis scott … Fri, 07/14/2017 - 23:33 Permalink

'RSA-33 Stage LEO Rockets/Missiles/Satellite Launchers'  {(1975-77?)(South africa & Israel unholy alliance)}  and, this [is] what Isreal did once France shut them down along with the USSA saying enough is enough?!?    'Think Kissinger messaging to Golda Meir before she resigned!Note: 1973 'Yom Kippur Surprise Attack War' {(10/6-25/1973 Egypt [Sadat] and Syria [Assad])}'The Safari Club?'

In reply to by francis scott …

TheRideNeverEnds gregga777 Sat, 07/15/2017 - 05:45 Permalink

I would think the same thing. Good for them, we should leave them alone. They would never strike first, they know how that would play out for them.

Best Korea presents exactly zero threat to the USA.

Sure they are a threat to South Korea but that is not our problem. We have a fuckload of military assets in the region defending the south, how much do they pay us? We cant even defend our own border from rapists, murderers and various other third world leeches; start there. Then after our border is secure and all the illegals are deported fix the budget, after that tell me about doing charity defense of other nations on the other side of the planet and maybe I will care. Probably not, but maybe...

In reply to by gregga777

Dancing Disraeli Fri, 07/14/2017 - 20:54 Permalink

I'm no expert, but didn't Albright pay the Norks off to the tune of several billions $ to halt their program back during the Clinton tenure?  That didn't seem to do it.

Jack Oliver Fri, 07/14/2017 - 21:05 Permalink

NK is a secret US vassal - US MUST have a 'perceived' enemy - that's where NK fits in !!

China and Russia should just say " Go ahead and bomb them " - there is NO way the US would not have bombed NK by now - if they really feared them !!

The Zio/US bombs the ME and North Africa whenever they feel like it !!

The NK 'threat' is total BULLSHIT !!

'downvotes' remind me of Mark Twains famous quote !

"It is easier to FOOL someone - than to convince them that they have been FOOLED "'

All you downvoting imbeciles keep stepping on the same FUCKING RAKE !!

silverer Jack Oliver Sat, 07/15/2017 - 06:49 Permalink

The problem is that the masses in the US are kept so in the dark about what is really going on, few people have any accurate, truthful information. We are left to guess. How many people here can even talk to a single individual in NK? Even families in the south are cut off from relatives in NK. We are fed what they want us to know through a dishonest media. And that is very little, and probably very inaccurate.

In reply to by Jack Oliver

WTFUD Fri, 07/14/2017 - 21:22 Permalink

If it wasn't for those pesky kids (30k troops) and the other Dozen or so regional US Military Bases, the collateral damage might be worth it from a US standpoint/perspective. Boo fucking hoo !

rejected Fri, 07/14/2017 - 21:23 Permalink

The US went absolutely berserk when in retaliation for the US putting missiles in Turkey the Russians put missiles in Cuba. We risked a nuclear war over those few missiles.North Korea does the same when the US, Japan and South Korea play war games off the coast of North Korea. Then we fly bombers near their borders. And let's not forget the infamous Seal Team 6 training to take out Kim,,, they'll need all the training they can get as they barely made it out of Yemen alive fighting some women, one Seal was killed and a 8 year old American girl was assassinated.The US could do a lot to diffuse the situation but looking around the globe it's quite obvious the US uses it's military for diplomacy. Americans have nothing left except their military.  They produce very little other than dollars. It's so bad NASA just come out and said the US could not afford to join a joint effort for a manned mission to Mars. We're spending what's left of our treasure on wars which means a peaceful end to the North Korean problem unfortunately won't happen. 

earleflorida Fri, 07/14/2017 - 21:26 Permalink

same shit with nk every 4-5 years like clockwork...we gave israel their nukes... and a 'samson option to boot!so, china said here,... take a few of ours and give em the asiatic 'samson option` dialecture!?!

jldpc Fri, 07/14/2017 - 21:25 Permalink

This author is a passivist whimper man. The solution is easy:1. Remove all USA troops, military equipment, staff and civilians from South Korea.2. Provide South Korea with 250 short and medium range misles with nuclear warheads under their sole control. Time to grow up and be big boys.(BTW: Time to tell the JAPS "man up" and cover your own asses. The last emperor lover and kamakasi died 20 years ago. Time to join the nuclear club and protect yourselves. (Or Better for the world's most despicable people - polluting the planet big time every day and lying about it just as much - let them all drink some of that good Fukishima water they are sending our way.)3. China will go ape shit - finally has something to lose = spurs action or not. Then.....4. USA gets out from under NK threats - why attack us? We are out of the Big Brother business - we have millions of unemployed and hungary people here, and they are a damn sight more important than K's and J's. 5. We have no real reason to be supporting a mostly pacifist SK; why the hell should our guys die to protect them? Let them face the music and see what happens. If they cave-in, they have only themselves to blame. If they both turn NK & SK into glass, then good riddance. 6. Its time to face up to hard core reality, you want to live 35 miles from a monster, you run your own risks. You don't ask Big Daddy to save your ASS.7. And we tell Kimmy up front you injure one American, you and your desolate scruffy-ass country will not be habitable again until 3017. Good bye Mother fuck..r. 

assistedliving (not verified) Fri, 07/14/2017 - 21:35 Permalink

You can always count on Americans to do the right thing - after they've tried everything else. Winston Churchill

Radical Marijuana Fri, 07/14/2017 - 21:47 Permalink

"Is It Time To Think And Act Differently" regarding the international bankers, who ~99% dominate Globalized Neolithic Civilization, and intend to consolidate their hegemony by making sure that there are no countries which do not have central banks that are directed by the international bankers' systems.The existence of globalized electronic monkey money frauds, backed by the threat of force from apes with atomic bombs, has its collective criminal craziness manifested in some regions relatively more than others. At the present time, North Korea is one, while Syria is another: Making the World Safe for Banksters: Syria in the Cross-hairs. Overall, any "realistic resolution of the conundrum" amounts to realistic resolutions regarding how to operate the human murder systems after the development of weapons of mass destruction, given that those murder systems back up the money systems. 

"Why can’t Washington soften a bit and show a willingness to talk without pre-conditions?"

"Washington" has become a bizarre and misleading code word for the government of the USA, which is more than 99% under the control of the international bankers, as is painfully obvious to anyone who bothers to examine the Federal Reserve Board or the history of what the CIA, etc., have actually been doing. At the present time, the so-called NeoCons are still dominating US policies, which amounts to "Washington" supporting the pyramidion people in the globally established social pyramid systems, which are based on enforced frauds operating as symbolic robberies. 

"Will the world respect us less as a fearsome hegemon because we are willing to swallow our pride ... ?" 

The "us" in the US are almost totally dominated by the international bankers. "Is It Time To Think And Act Differently" regarding the degree to which the US President is a political puppet? One should argue that the issues with respect to North Korea are a branch of the overall political situation that "Washington" is effectively dominated by the international bankers. Any "realistic resolutions" of the North Korean threats are deeply related to the degree to which the NeoCons are effectively controlling what "Washington" does. In that context, the majority of "us," as in We the People, are increasingly behaving like incompetent political idiots, while the US ruling classes are increasingly behaving like psychotic psychopaths. Furthermore, that sociopolitical dynamic is present in its own ways inside North Korean, as it similarly is inside the US ...

Cabreado Fri, 07/14/2017 - 21:44 Permalink

Pretty wimpy, Mr. Author.Trump's desire to put pressure on China to achieve resolution is appropriate.Why isn't that working?Because China's sitting over there watching a divided, crumbling USA, with no backing of Trump's effort.Hey, speaking of... does anybody remember Congress(?)

DavidFL Fri, 07/14/2017 - 22:11 Permalink

Whoever wrote this garbage cant see reality. To believe NK is not China's bitch must also believe Iran is not Russia's bitch. The US will pay a heavy price for not dealing with these scoundrels. The world will come to understand that we are the only nation who can be trusted to use nuclear responsibly and fairly? We only nuke thoes who deserve it - we only nuked the Japs because they deserved it! So there you have it - proof!

Anteater DavidFL Fri, 07/14/2017 - 22:21 Permalink

Any country that can watch a highly fortified command center office complex free-fall for no apparent reason, and be led by the nose that a passenger plane could make a steep diving spiral turn that even an F-16 pilot could not perform before blowing up an entire section of the Pentagon, then 'vaporizing' we were told, any nation that believes in free-falling towers and vaporizing passenger planes and bailouts as usual does not deserve to hold any opinion on China, DPRK, Iran, Russia or any global pokitics.Americans lost your right to have any opinion on anything on 9/11.

In reply to by DavidFL

BlussMann Fri, 07/14/2017 - 22:20 Permalink

The USSA is plotting to take every dollar we own, seriously, and give us electronic credits to  make us Indian peasants and we’re supposed to care if Little Kim can take out scores of faggots on the West Coast. No way. 

chosen (not verified) Fri, 07/14/2017 - 22:47 Permalink

Carpet bomb the whole fucking country.  Do it when Rodman is visiting his butt buddy Wong Fat Ah-hole.