Saturday, June 13, 2009

Obama's folly

US president Barack Obama & co. can crow. They succeeded in forcing through the UN Security Council Resolution 1847 with 'strong sanctions' against the Democratic People's Republic of Korea [DPRK or North Korea]. Mr. Obama's critics on his right cry foul. For them, a tighter squeeze on access to global capital markets, encouraging the world community to board DPRK vessels in ports and on the high sea on the shakiest of suspicions that they are carrying or concealing nuclear technology or other weapons of mass destruction [WMD], is a weak response to what they consider the nuclear pretensions of a rouge if not failed state which deserves invasion. Mr. Obama managed to 'persuade' China and Russia to follow his lead in the hope that Beijing and Moscow will pressure Pyongyang to back off. How little does the American president know North Korea. He like other presidents before him, is tone deaf and blind to the reality on the divided Korean peninsula. He like his predecessors, are ignorant as cabbages when it comes to history. Consequently he like other occupants of the Oval office, will repeat ad nauseum the mistakes of the past. Call it 'arrogance'? Call it 'inertia'? Call it anything you like, for the US is unwilling to take that much hated step: deal directly with Kim Jong il, to resolve long standing issues and grievances going back to the Korean war and before.
Mr. Obama has opened a can of worms which he cannot hope to dominate. Beijing and Moscow may have wanted to send Pyongyang a stern warning about its behaviour, but will they back up words with force? Hardly. So Mr. Obama's wing flapping at the UN Security Council is an exercise taming the seas and the winds.
As a savvy scholar in Seoul observed: the DPRK is so used to weathering the high dudgeon and threats of and threats from the US and the west for 60 over years, it won't fold nor collapse nor quietly disappear into the network.
What Mr Obama's latest folly will do is set teeth on edge in northeast Asia and foster a noxious atmosphere where the slightest spark may ignite war. Smart!

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