Patrick Cronin’s testimony before the House Committee on Foreign Affairs [18 April 2012] reminds us of a visit to a haunted house. Its musty odours; its unswept cobwebs; its echoes of footsteps of years gone by.
‘North Korea after Kim Jong il: still dangerous and erratic’ did he lecture the US solons on. As GuamDiary suggested in another blog [‘Sour wine…] the learned security expert brings nothing new to the table but old ideas wrapped in Wal mart gift wrap.
The bone that sticks in Cronin’s argument, though understated, is that North Korea, even as a pygmy nuclear power, does and can mate if not check mate America’s Asia Pacific hegemony. More trouble is the DPRK’s rush to develop a long range missile; that, too, stripped of ideological bluster, is but an expression of deep rooted nationalism and national survival which the US has been trying to undermine for the last 60 years at least.
Dangerous to US designs for sure, but ‘erratic’ North Korea is not. Pyongyang’s strategy is rooted in crystal clear lucidity, which is something we cannot say for the thinking of the US North Korean clerisy.
So, when it comes down to a recitation of the US confidetor, Cronin’s recites a rosary of sorrow on failures in US policy towards North Korea. His solution is a rehashing of the same old, same mantra of sanctions, more sanctions, and still more punitive sanctions which will lead towards pushing North Korea to the edge of collapse, or crying ‘Uncle!’ to US demands.
In the after Lee Myung bak presidency, any opening towards Pyongyang by the new South Korean president will not stray far from the overlapping interests of Seoul and Washington. South Korea is very much in America’s thrall as it is a US creation.
In the end, the US will have to sign a peace treaty with North Korea and China to end not only the Korean War but deal with more than six decades of unsettled issues. South Korea did not sign the Armistice Agreement, but president Eisenhower did by ignoring Syngman Rhee’s vocal objections. So it is the sufferance of Pyongyang, Beijing, and Washington that Seoul will be admitted to such negotiations.