Monday, October 09, 2006

8 is Too Much

North Korea has become the eighth and clearly most unstable (sorry Pakistan) member of the nuclear club. Or so it seems--for now. [There are still some doubts, so 8 with an * next to it, pending further proof].

Economic sanctions seem unlikely to take down the regime. Stalinist armies have always fallen immediately in battle (Gulf War I). But now with a nuke, the protection. The US could take out their army and destroy the regime. But if we can't hold Iraq, the refugee crisis of a post-North Korean fallout is unimaginable. Not to mention possible (likely?) nuclear fallout, and even perhaps an armed open-source insurgency (although less likely). The only answer increasinngly is for China to decapitate Kim Jong Il and install some committee of generals/bureaucrats to try and ease some transition.

But I just don't know frankly. North Korea's religion, it's mythos (its red/blue meme) is Kim Jong Il and his father. The entire world has been shaped by the presence and continual incarnation of the Jong gods among the "Chosen People" of North Korea.

Rather than spend, as inevitably will, time blaming Clinton and the Democrats or Bush and the Republicans--or should we be blaming Truman, Eisenhower, and MacArthur?--Bush needs to get on his horse and get the Chinese on board with this.

There is a difference with authoritarian and totalitarian regimes. Authoritarians can more often than not, be made to play ball. Totalitarians less so. And in Kim Il's case, very much less so. He only knows blackmail and this is his biggest gamble yet. I think this was a massive blunder on his part and has perhaps?, i hope, finally woke China up to the fact that it needs North Korea about as much as a vd.

It is China's moment to see where its future lies. How badly does it want in on the future global economic order--enough even to flex some military-reconstruction muscle?

Minus that scenario, Japan perhaps pushes for a nuke, maybe even South Korea too. Asia has to police Asia. It is time for the US to be out of the peninsula. That much is clear from this recent episode.

Then we can move towards withdrawal in Iraq. James Baker, one of the wisest men on the subject matter, is heaidng up a commission to describe new ways forward in Iraq. His strongest argument will be to bring Syria, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Turkey to the table to work on a negotiated settlement for those countries to handle the security in Iraq. Baker won't go as far as Biden and seek the splitting of the country into three.

It will be, if Bush follows it, the way forward for a honorable exit from that "Fiasco." That as first step towards the inevitable grand bargain with Iran. Leading to the real deployment, strategic thinking to come--sub-Saharan Africa. A piece from NyTimes on child labor in Zambia (scroll down, bottom right corner). Child labor is up in ssah Africa, the only place in the world--a prelude to market infiltration and the resulting cultural upheaval and memetic backlash (subsah Africa as real future breeding ground for Salafi jihadism).

Oh and to Ban Ki Moon, welcome to your first day on the job.


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