Don’t cry for US North Korea policy

Your story sad to tell,
Most mixed up foreign policy
Your future’s so unclear now,
What’s left of it now?

(Our apologies to the high school musicale ‘Grease’!)

As GuamDiary quoted Leon Sigal’s plain as dried paint remark on the failure of US North Korea policy, it may serve a purpose to quote the Harvard trained DPRK watcher: “Whenever the United States fails to keep its side of the bargain, North Korea is quick to retaliate.”

Sigal’s observation rings true when you open read Mark Landler’s article in the Saturday 21 April 2012 edition of the ‘New York Times’, filed in Washington–“Suspected sale by China stirs White House concern’.

Why concern? The Obama administration jumped for joy when the DPRK’s Unha 3 missile carrying a satellite disintegrated within minutes of its launch last week. On the other hand, it could not but express admiration for South Korea’s deployment of a mid range missile capable of reaching Pyongyang and China, as well as India’s long range Agni V ICBM which can hit Russia and China.

Washington applauds allies and friends, but condemns its enemies, it goes without saying.

Now, North Korea is giving the US more worried wool to thread. Analysts worry that China has furnished Pyongyang ‘with the chassis and other parts for a missile transport vehicle displayed during a military parade’, in the closing moments of the DPRK’s gala celebrations of its founder Kim Il Sung’s 100 birthday.

Imagine the brow knitting concern of this observation which any school child could have seen the day that vehicle carried a replica of Unha 3! A revelation that North Korea, despite its present inability of launching a long range missile, is further advanced in its rocket programme than Washington imagined. Not only that, but its wall of sanctions that it managed to impose through the UN Security Council is easily breached!

Now, too, the Obama administration is criticising China for ‘violating’ the UN resolutions.

Quickly let’s review US North Korea policy: on one hand, it has allowed South Korea’s revanchist president Lee Myung bak to lead it; on the other, unwilling to engage North Korea directly, it has allowed China to dominate the playing field as Washington’s intermediary with the DPRK.

Are these decisions, a sign of a healthy North Korean policy? Hardly. It’s a recipe for failure and humiliation.

One, China is an ally of North Korea. It is pursuing policies in Syria and Iran that are antithetical to the Obama administration’s Mideast and nuclear objectives. For its part, Washington has elaborated a Pacific military policy that zeroes in on Beijing as a potential spoiler in the region.

Washington’s reliance on the Lee Myung bak regime to further its objectives of ‘rolling back’ North Korea to the verge of collapse or regime change has achieved nothing but a poor track record. In other words, it is a no win policy strategy.

So where is US North Korea policy now? At an impasse. China is enjoying Washington’s embarrassment, even though, according to its own analysts, Beijing does not exercise that degree of influence on Pyongyang as the US says it has.

How does Landler explain the story the Pentagon wants the ‘NYT’ to write? Corruption and dislocation of China’s leadership. Had the Chinese leadership its act together, it would heed UN resolutions condemning North Korea, so on and on and on and on…

Silly US North Korean clerisy. What a sad and sorry waste of hundreds of millions of tax dollars on US intelligence, with such paltry and lamentable results.

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