US North Korea policy–sanity and rationality take a vacation

The furore on the airwaves about North Korea’s approaching satellite launch in mid April as part of Kim Il Sung’s 100 birthday festivities has abated….temporarily.

The controversy, believe us, will return with renewed force and threats as mid April draws near.

Scott Synder is an example of the US North Korean clerisy’s insane wing: blast the satellite off the launch pad.

The New York based Japan Society, along with the Korea Society, is sponsoring a discussion on ‘stablilising northeast Asia: new multilateral approaches’ on 10 April.

Korea Society’s president, former ambassador Minton and Kent Calder of Harvard’s Reischauer Center for East Asian Studies will speak.

We can only expect a more moderate, but nonetheless insistent tone of warning to North Korea regarding the launch.

Hinton speaks softly, yet he faithfully carries out his orders from Washington, and Calder as a member of the Paul Nitze school of advanced studies at John Hopkins, will also put some velvet on a Cold War appraisal of what to do about boxing in North Korea.

These two do not bite the hand that feeds them, so we can expect a regurgitation of the same old, same old.

And then, there’s the aging wonder boy Victor Cha who feigns surprises at what’s going on in North Korea. Harvard has released his ‘Impossible state: North Korea, past and future’ on 2 April.

What about the present? Some might justify the full title by referring to the Korean language. Korean like Japanese, and for that matter Arabic, expresses a past action and a potential future one; so linguistically, we find that the present is the past and the present is the future which will sooner or later happen. But let’s not cavil on this point.

Why is North Korea an ‘impossible state’? Surely, from Cha’s long service to the US government and establishment, it translates into an unwillingness to tow the US line.

So in the end, US North Korea policy takes full flight into fantasy. The last thing, it seems, Washington truly wants is to sit down and talk with North Korea.

Saying this, the US strategy differs little from Israel’s approach to the Palestinian question.

It remains a chancre on a 65 year syphilitic policy which seeks no cure but the loss of sanity and rationality.

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