Saturday, May 2, 2009

Mrs Clinton growls at North Korea

US secretary of state Hillary Clinton has put her Prada shod foot down. She won't deal with North Korea as long as Pyongyang refuses to play her game. So, North Korea don't expect food in the amount of US$100m this year. Or next. Mrs Clinton is talking tough. She is walking the walk that George Bush trod. She has picked up the dropped stitch of a policy which is best described as 'paranoid', and which make Mr. Bush retreat with his tail between his legs. Remember, North Korea's testing a nuclear device when the Bush administration played tin horn sheriff? Well, Mrs. Clinton has put on that badge, and North Korea won't be any less pliant than it was when it became the 8 member of the world's nuclear club.
Faced with a US backed initiative calling for sanctions against Pyongyang for launching a telecommunication satellite on a long range rocket, North Korea hit back hard. It won't returned to the six power talks in Beijing; it reactivated its nuclear facility; and it threatened to go ahead with the production of more nuclear devices. It also in a burst of conflated rhetoric demanded that the UN Security Council apologise for its resolution on sanctions. It won't. So, here we're not exactly at an Hollywood style meeting at 'OK Corral', but at a 'Mexican standoff'.
'Guamdiary' has thought that the Obama administration's reading of UN resolution 1781 question[n]able, and that it had drawn too soon its gun when it called for the meeting of the UN Security Council after a rocket launch.
Scratching the surface, we find a big power throwing its weight against what it sees as a 'reprehensible regime', which in the longer run, has to ply to its will. And Mrs. Clinton's latest pronouncement is worded in that vein. You would think that after 15 years of on again off again negotiations--directly, through back channels, or in multilateral meetings--Washington would have learnt a thing or two in dealing with Pyongyang. Apparently it hasn't...more out of arrogance than lack of intelligence. Simply put, North Korea is a step child from Washington's standpoint. And like an unwanted child, it thinks that a drop of honey and a large dose of vinaigre, the child will lovingly or out of fear kiss the hem of the US. Well, experience should have taught the US otherwise. Its actions simply fly in the face of history. So here we are, once again, we've a secretary of state who has adopted the worst timing and manners of the Bush administration. In fact, she continues to surround herself with the same hardline, neocon advisors from the last administration. It would do her a world of good to read Mike Chinoy's 'Meltdown' or fit him in a busy schedule, if she is in Hong Kong. Besides Chinoy, endless former diplomats who have written books on failed US policy towards North Korea are available. Are they consulted? It seems not.
North Korea won't bend, nor will the US for the foreseeable moment. Does Mrs. Clinton really think that Beijing will do the US' dirty work? Or Russia? Probably not. The US has put itself in another bind of its own making.
Mrs. Clinton should listen to George Mitchell her envoy to the Middle East and negotiator of the Irish accords. Mitchell posits that a good negotiator should put himself in the shoes of his adversary. Sound advice since it broads perspectives and opens avenues of possible outcomes.
Well, it seems Mrs. Clinton hasn't. It also appears that the Obama administration has put the North Korea issue on a back burner whilst it wrestles with two wars in Asia and the possible collapse of a Taliban ridden Pakistan.
Instead of putting out fires, Mrs. Clinton has poured more oil on the fire. Thus, the divided Korean peninsula has returned to a state whereby it is as dangerous as before, and maybe more so, owing to the blindness of the US>

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