North Korea’s announcement of a satellite launch during the giant celebrations in mid April commemorating its founder Kim Il Sung’s 100 birthday, has unhinged the American North Korea watcher Scott Synder.
Synder, director of the Center for US Korea Policy, is also a senior associate of the US Institute of Peace, as well as acting direct of the Asia Society’s Contemporary Affairs Department. In 1999, he co authored ‘Negotiating on the Edge: North Korean Negotiating Behavior’. Not only that he was the rapporteur of the Council of Foreign Relations publication on Korea. which calls for ‘rollback[ing]’ North Korea; in other words, advocating a forward policy of regime change or total collapse of the DPRK.
The satellite issue has pushed Synder to the edge: he is now arguing for the Obama administration to bomb the North Korean missile launch site, if Pyongyang goes ahead with putting a satellite into space.
And in his Orwellian view of the world, this USIP fellow is turning peace into a handmaiden of war.
Synder’s view of North Korea is symptomatic of the majority of US North Korea clerisy. These ‘scholarly clerics’, by pushing reality and logic to the edge of the surreal, are jockeying for attention by an administration that is being lead by the nose by the revanchist policy of South Korea’s president Lee Myung bak. Simply put: to crush North Korea.
Not only is Synder sensationalising the satellite launch but his ideas are making it more and more difficult for sanity in US foreign policy to claim its rightful place.
Synder adds a fanciful touch to his blowing up the North’s launch pad, send an envoy to Pyongyang to deliver Washington’s ultamatum of cease and desist or face destruction. Is he tailoring this role for himself? Is he having his John Wayne moment? What makes he think that this emissary would not be held hostage? What makes him think that China will stand idly by? [Has he no sense of why Chinese volunteers fought alongside North Korean troops during the Korean War?]
Unhinged, Synder’s thinking is symptomatic of how diseased US thinking on North Korea has become. Its rashness indicates that by entertaining an end of the world scenario make good entertainment for the policy making class.
By suggesting bombing the launch pad, Synder’s thinking is far off the pier of sanity. In a way, it is his Herman Kahn moment?