Sunday, June 7, 2009

Wishful non thinking--Obama's standpoint on North Korea

US president Barack Obama has flashed angry lightning blots at North Korea. At Omaha Beach he sternly warned Pyongyang that the US won't handle North Korea with kid gloves. In fact, he's cobbling together a consensus of opinion among Russia, China, Japan, and South Korea to turn the screws on Kim Jong il. Will a common front work better in lassoing Pyongyang more tightly than the six power meetings in Beijing? Hardly. Although Beijing and Moscow might go along with modest demands sanctioning North Korea, it is geopolitically not in their commun interest to twist Pyongyang's arm too tightly.
Mr. Obama's position is an example of what Guam Diary calls 'wishful non thinking'. He has a wish list of how to bell the Pyongyang cat. It is deja vu all over again. Talking the talk is not exactly walking the walk, as the US & co's dealings with North Korea have long proven.
The American president has a golden opportunity to breakout of the bind he finds himself in. Guam Diary has long thought that a reconvening of a Geneva Conference would with a full stroke of the diplomatic sword cut the Gordian knot on the matter of a divided Korea. Pyongyang cannot not agree. Furthermore such a conference could on a 2 party, 4 party, and 6 party level deal with more than a half century of outstanding problems.
It would mean savvy horse trading but in the end it would be worth the candle. It would end once and for all the Korean War; it would open direct channels with Pyongyang; and it would rapidly advance the denuclearisation of a divided Korean peninsula.
Of course, a conference in Geneva means that Washington would have to call to heel its allies in Seoul and Tokyo, quashing shortsided blockage of any progress in dealing with North Korea. Mr. Obama has the means and clout of his office to accomplish this.
For the time being, he's stuck in a quagmire of his own making. Will he exhibit the courage that he can muster on other issues? That is the big question!

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