Weird and Contradictory In Korea

28 Feb

Dennis Rodman in NkWeird: Dennis Rodman in Pyongyang – no further comment needed.

Contradiction: The United States and South Korea held their biannual Korea-U.S. Integrated Defense Dialogue on February 21-22, 2013.

The two sides agreed that the North Korean nuclear test was a highly provocative act that, following its December 2012 missile launch, undermines regional stability, violates North Korea’s obligations under numerous United Nations Security Council resolutions, contravenes its commitments under the Sept. 19, 2005 Joint Statement of the Six-Party Talks, and increases the risk of proliferation.

In addition, the two sides affirmed the view, expressed at the January 2013 United States-Republic of Korea-Japan Defense Trilateral Talks in Tokyo, that if North Korea carries out any further provocations, it will bear responsibility for the consequences it will face for disregarding the overwhelming views of the international community.

Finally, the two sides addressed immediate, coordinated actions and agreed to continue the close collaboration within the alliance in response to the recent North Korean provocations and the North’s unacceptable pursuit of nuclear and missile capabilities.

The two sides discussed ways to strengthen the combined defense posture to defend the Republic of Korea and to deter North Korean aggression and provocations, including planning for the transition to a ROK-led combined defense, continuing combined exercises, and enhancing combined alliance capabilities. The two sides also reaffirmed U.S. defense commitments to provide and strengthen extended deterrence for the ROK, including the full range of military capabilities: the U.S. nuclear umbrella, conventional strike, and missile defense. Through the Extended Deterrence Policy Committee, the two countries will continue to develop a bilateral tailored deterrence strategy that refines alliance response measures for North Korean nuclear and WMD threat scenarios.
The two sides also addressed various areas of alliance cooperation, including cyber and space cooperation, regional and global cooperation, missile defense, and C4I interoperability. As the two nations celebrate the 60thanniversary of the U.S.-ROK alliance this year, they committed to developing a future-oriented strategic alliance that meets the challenges of the 21stcentury.

The U.S. and the ROK reaffirmed their comprehensive strategy to strengthen the alliance for years to come, including achieving the transition of wartime operational control and USFK base relocation by their planned timeline. In addition, the two sides will maintain close cooperation in developing the future command structure and combined operational plans, and ensuring ROK critical military capabilities and U.S. bridging and enduring capabilities.
Two other related problems:
1. Sequester: How much sequestration will affect these issues discussed at the KIDD is unknown. But, let’s just say, the sequester undermines whatever robust threat the U.S. and South Korea wish to convey to North Korea.
2. South Korea’s conservatives just don’t seem to understand, that deterrence isn’t a license for invasion and regime change.
Bilateral consultations to come up with a strengthened nuclear deterrence plan have been underway since last year, but Pyongyang’s Feb. 12 nuclear test has brought new urgency to prepare a tailored strategy to counter the defiant communist state under its young leader Kim Jong-un.

South Korean military leaders have said they considered destroying the North’s nuclear facilities in advance in case of an imminent nuclear attack against South Korea.

The military option, however, is still controversial as some question whether such actions would be able to denuclearize the communist country, which is believed to have built clandestine nuclear reactors in several other places that are guarded by mobile missile launchers.

This is the fine line both China and the U.S. walk: both responsible partners have to deal with junior partners that act as if the outside or their own populations matter when it comes to their elite pissing match.

North Korea is still the unalloyed master of both silly and agitprop bluster. It was only a matter of time before it trumpeted its successful nuke test on February 12 by warning the U.S. it has the ability to break the Americans’ deterrent stranglehold on it – not likely.

North Korea also isn’t content to play the silent victim. Using the latest in gaming technology, North Korea’s Department of Psyschological Warfare Against South Korea in its Unification ministry produces video games that incite support for North Korea and stoke anti-American opinion – in South Korea with South Korean millennials doing some of the code work.

America and China – enablers of two Korean bullies (via OFK).

Nicholas Kristof at the New York Times thinks the Obama administration and every American administration before it has failed to resolve this problem because they’ve had the wrong approach. “Isolating N Korea doesn’t help,” he wrote on Twitter. “China has a plausible strategy for N Korea: use investment, exchanges to encourage opening and reform.”

Sorry, Nick. While it’s true that isolation and sanctions haven’t normalized North Korea’s politics or behavior, China’s strategy hasn’t worked any better.


It didn’t even occur to some Russians that Americans had no interest whatsoever in conquering Moscow. During the Soviet days, communist imperialists really did want to take over the world. Many assumed we did, as well. Cognitive egocentrism.

This is what Kristof is doing when he says China is engaging North Korea in order to encourage opening and reform. But that’s not what’s happening. That’s what America would do if we engaged North Korea, but Beijing isn’t Washington.

There’s not much we can do to prevent foreign people from projecting their psychology onto us, but we should at least resist doing to the same thing to them.

Both Beijing and Washington support regimes which do want to take each other down, whatever their own respective goals. Deterring North Korea has worked. South Korea has survived. It hasn’t always been a pretty place, and it still has an ugly side – National Security Law. North Korea stinks even worse. But, one half (one-third) is better tn none, and hoping for the rest is most likely to ruin an entire region, not just the Korean peninsula. And, it’s doubtful the U.S. can survive such a meltdown, not in terms of existential destruction, but as a matter of moral and economic health. Another hot war in a place Americans do not regard as integral to their security in a society that is already weary might just spark protest in the U.S. Fiscal prudence means inflicting prudence on America’s understudy regardless of what Beijing does. The issue is a mistake that sparks a war, not that the tinder is dry.

Park Soon-sung makes some interesting proposals.

The first one he mentioned was that in spite of efforts to engage both Washington and Beijing through trilateral strategic dialogue, the administration still focusing too heavily on the alliance with the US.

The second was the large number of people with military and US-related backgrounds filling foreign policy and security positions for the administration. Park also said that the administration’s governance tasks were focused too much on military and security matters while neglecting diplomacy and reunification efforts.

The third was the administration’s underestimation of its own capabilities with regard to inter-Korean relations and failure to integrate domestic capabilities. In this regard, Park stressed the need for a “governance” approach to harness the capabilities of civil society.

Well, not all South Koreans fit so easily into the two-camp mentality.

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One Response to “Weird and Contradictory In Korea”


  1. The Realistic Threat Of North Korea: a different approach | We dream of things that never were and say: "Why not?" - 1 March 2013

    […] Weird and Contradictory In Korea ( […]

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