08 April 2013

Miserable Foreign Policy Failure

I think it has to be said. The Obama administration is doing an absolutely miserable job of dealing with the North Korean diplomatic crisis. It's obvious to all Korea hands that this new leader is not crazy,* although he is inexperienced and is the hereditary monarch of a strange and difficult country that has to be dealt with carefully. The policy of "strategic patience" has obviously failed. It is now time to shift gears and talk to these people. Could anything be more obvious? The fact that Obama's national security advisers are all Iraq war hawks (and thus people proven to lack sound judgment, and I would include Hillary Clinton in that except she's not there anymore)... is far from reassuring.

North Korea is NOT a nuclear threat or a strategic threat to the US, apart from the dire consequences of escalation gotten out of control. The administration needs to get serious about a diplomatic offensive to reset this relationship now. 

* To a friend who said this reminded him of Catch-22, in that all leaders are crazed (with power), I noted: 
 ...What I was trying to say was that saying the NKs are nuts is just a cop-out. It's more accurate to say that they are a ninth century medieval absolute monarchy cloaked in the mantle of a Stalinist early 20th century totalitarian state, trying to finagle some kind of ongoing existence in a 21st century world. That poses a challenge for smart people. But going around saying "We won't stand for a nuclear North Korea," (which Kerry did last week), and having your military leaders saying we'll be ready for war if it comes, and saying your policy is to sit on your ass and hope they go away, doesn't strike me as a smart strategy; hence my comment. I give the Obama people some credit for being on the whole less belligerent than the Neocon Bushites (although his policy seems hardly different from the second term of W. to me), but this is just bad policy badly executed, and there's no way around it.  

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