Sunday, April 5, 2009

Pyongyang shot its payload

The Democratic People's Republic of Korea [DPRK] successfully launched its satellite on an long range missile today, much to the high dudgeon of the US, South Korea, and Japan. US military officials say that no satellite was launched; the firing of the rocket was a smoke screen to cover a military exercise. Pyongyang strongly disagrees.
US president Barack Obama has seized the Security Council to explore ways of sanction[n]ing North Korea for UN treaty violations. He won't have much success. China wonr't go along unless it abstains fearing the deterioration of its multi billion US$ holdings in US debt.
The US, South Korean, and Japanese press have been foaming at the mouth for weeks before the launch. They could bark like chained dogs about doing something, short of war. Washington and Seoul had battleships ready, yet they stayed any hand from shooting Tomahawk missiles to down Pyongyang's rocket.
Yet the war drums beat madly, but the general public hardly cared. And why should it? It wasn't interested say in the US to open yet another war front on the Asian continent after Iraq and Afghanistan.
Pyongyang has always tried to catch the ear of Washington, with little success. Seoul has scrapped the 'Sunshine Policy', following it up with the revival of a Cold War with the North. And Japan has dug in its heels till the DPRK is more forthcoming on the fate of the Japanese that they kidnapped. As a result, the six party talks are in limbo. Sanctions against Pyongyang will simply make matters worse.
More preceptive reporters however have pointed out that Pyongyang has been in the rocket business for a long time. So the launch of a satellite on a sophisticated long range missile is good advertising. Lest we forget, the DPRK has furnished Egypt, Syria, Iran, Pakistan, and others with rockets. For it, it is a source of hard cash, and for its clients a goodly source of advanced weaponry which the West would and could deny it.
Once again, Pyongyang has belled the US, Seoul, and Japan cat. It is time for these countries to put away Cold War thinking and get on with the business of treating the DPRK has a state not as an aberration nor a stepchild. You hadn't to like the government in Pyongyang or its political system, but you would expect correct diplomacy to prevail. It doesn't. Let's not forget, Jimmy Carter's 'visite eclaire' to the DPRK in 1993 adverted war between it and the US. He came back with a promise from Kim Jung Il on a host of issues. The Clinton administration in spurts talked with North Korea with some good results. Mr. Bush threw it all away with the sad state of affairs that we call know. And not only that, his bungling turned the DPRK into a nuclear state. And this vain and incompetent man had to backpedal to save himself.
So now suddenly we're almost back to 2002...Pyongyang is no more an 'axis of evil' that Sudan which the Obama administration is trying to make civil eyes to. Washington, Seoul, and Tokyo know how to unravel the Gordian knot they made of dealing with the DPRK. More political will and a strong backbone is called for. But will good commonsense prevail?
The DPRK in spite of being a 'failed state' never fails to surprise!

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