Tuesday, April 27, 2010

The sinking of the 'Cheonan' is not the sinking of the 'Maine'

A quick history note: the destruction of the 'Maine' in Havana harbour [15 February 1898], provided the US with a 'causus belli' to war against Spain. This 'jolly little [but safe] war' began the growth of the US as an imperial power in the Caribbean and in the Pacific.
The sinking of the South Korean corvette the 'Cheonan' in the disputed waters of the Yellow Sea in March 2010 makes stern adversies in the ROK [Republic of Korea aka South Korea] itching for a brawl but not a war with the DRPK [Democratic People's Republic of Korea aka North Korea], whose evil hand they see in the ship's destruction.
Although South Korea's president Lee Myung bek has called for caution in blaming the DPRK, he has nonetheless taken the high road of bluster and innuendo and summer soldier in surrounding himself with the like of former president and general Chun Doo wham. a noted hardliner when it comes to North Korea.
Mr. Lee himself is no slacker in playing hardball with the North. From his very first day in office he has scuppered the 'Sunshine Policy', and eliminated or cut drastically agricultural products to North Korea; he has held a very loose leash on evangical Christian groups who are seeking not only to denigrate Kim Jong il but bring the DPRK back to Christianity. [Pyongyang was once call the 'second Jerusalem'.] Mr. Lee's policies have encourage North Korean defectors living in the South to intensify a propaganda war against the Kim regime.
If Mr. Lee had hoped for a transformation of the DPRK's mindset, he was wrong. He put his money on the wrong horse.
The sinking of the 'Cheonan', along with the loss of 40 crew, has infused and enthused Mr. Lee and his allies at home and abroad [notably in the US], to 'confront' North Korea....cautiously.
As GuamDiary noted the big British North Korea watcher Aidan Foster Carter has devised his wishful theory of pining the tail of blame on the DPRK. The 'New York Times' man in Seoul Choe Sang hun weaves in lawyerly fashion, a tale of circumstantial evidence pointing to the North in the 'Cheonan' affair. Other journalists and stringers are less caution, and stake out a claim of blame for North Korea.
The New York Korea Society in a closed door meeting [27 April 2010] will ponder what options the South Korea government can and should take.
Of course they are not dealing with an old 'failed state', as they see it, North Korea has the 'bomb', so any military action is fraught with high danger. A call for more sanctions and further isolation of the DPRK, hasn't work; in fact, the US Korea experts full well know that such egotistism and arrogance lay at the root of the DPRK's testing of a nuclear device which George Bush's mindless posturing pushed them into. If anything, it seems that they have learnt little from the lessons of the Korean war which remains a cold war today. They certainly don't want a 'hot' war, the more especially since Nixon/Kissinger left China the undisputed master in northeast Asia.
Thus, in building a case against the DPRK, all stops are being pulled out. 'Al Jazeera' [26 April 2010] mentions a culprit. It is none other than the 70 year old general Kim Myong guk. Kim is the head of North Korea's general staff. He has remained in his post in spite of South Korea's 'Joong ahn Il bo's signalling in January 2010, that he had lost a star. Photographs testify that he was now a two star general, demoted it is said for the November 2009 clash with the ROK navy in the Yellow Sea: the DRPK came off badly in that skirmish with wounded and dead and vessel damage.
Today's scenario implies that Kim to gain back his star and to avenge his 'loss of face' carried out the torpedoing of the 'Cheonan'.
To date, no one really knows. A detailled investigation of the raised 'Cheonan' is underway. It will take time to complete. The sinking of the ROK corvette is shrouded in mystery. Unlike the 'Maine', it is said that the ship's explosion was external. It is open to question whether in the ill defined area of the Yellow Sea with South Korean islands lying within North Korean 200 mile limit, housed mines or torpedo[e]s from the Korean war or the much earlier war against Japan.
The DPRK has denied any responsibility after breaking a three week silence. The ROK has beat the drums of 'revenge' at memorials, in the media local or foreign, etc.
GuamDiary will not rush to judgment, nor slip into easy morality. It is almost a foregone conclusion the North is the culprit, if we believe what we hear or read.
A renewed push for sanctions and boycotts will no doubt prove again useless. They will only stiffen DRPK resolve. And North Korea has cards of its own to play. Consider its taking over the South Korean built and financed and run Kaesong Industrial Zone. It can rattle its sabres as good as South Korea.
Contrary to the west's expectations, the DPRK has not collapsed since the death of Kim Il Sung. Nor will it now.
A quick study of the DPRK's organisational structure dismisses that idea. Its leadership and cadre won't disappear into the night as its detractors and ill wishers fanatise.
The DPRK wears its radical nationalism on its sleeve. You would think that the ROK, the US, and others would learn to deal with that given quantity. Instead for the last 65 years, through thick and thin, and certainly after a stalemated 3 year war, they might have learnt to be more flexible and intelligent in treating with the DRPK.
'No jolly little war' is on the horizon.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Gaming North Korea

In the wake of the sinking of the ROK [Republic of Korea aka South Korea] naval corvettethe 'Cheonan' in South Korea waters in the disputed offshore zone close to Seoul's Baengnyeong island, the press, western and South Korean, have pushed the envelope of blame wishing that the evil hand behind the disaster, belong to the DPRK [Democratic People's Republic of Korea aka North Korea].
Yet the jury remains out on the sinking. Even the fiercely anti DPRK South Korean president Lee Myung bek has called for caution. He won't rush to judgment until a full and thorough investigation of the ship's hulk, retrieved from the sea, is complete. He vows then a strong response.
These contested waters are full of mines and torpedo[e]s from the Korean war and perhaps from the days of the war against Japan. Mines have a way of floating free and buried torpedo[e]s surface unexpectedly. Which brings us to the reason why the ROK president is loathe to pin the blame on the DPRK. It may turn out that the mine which tore the 'Cheonon' is South Korean.
Saying this, the gassy commentaries continue in the press offering up scenarios on the devious North Korea's avenging the bloodied naval spat in November 2009 with the ROK navy; the damaged DPRK vessels limped home with its dead; the ROK suffered no casulties. Thus the logic follows as a stroke of vengeance by torpedo.
The British North Korean watch Aidan Foster Carter has put his two pennies of speculation into the fray: Pyongyang did it.
'The New York Times' with its correspondent in Seoul's article, dug up a picture of a Japanese torpedo from the Second World War. The reader has little choice to infer that the DPRK has a reserve arsenal of Japanes weapons which it used to sink the ROK corvette. And then the story disappears. It either served its purpose or it made long fire.
Then another story appeared in the 'grey old lady' of US journalism, on breaking the bamboo curtain so tightly drawn in the North. Broadcasts by North Korean defectors living in South Korea, who broadcast to the citizens in the DPRK who've not chosen freedom in the ROK. How effective are these broadcasts? If the more than half century of broadcasts by the US CIA funded 'Radio Liberty' and 'Radio Free Europe' are a guide, very little. Nor have the evangelical Christian crusaders propaganda to reclaim Pyongyang again as the once second Jerusalem of Korea, worked well.
And now the mysterious successor to Kim Jong il, his youngest son Kim Jong un, according to a South Korea researcher, has been identified by his father's side in one of the endless 'inspections' Kim Jong il makes to take the pulse of what's happening in his own country. Something the North Korean watchers tend to pooh pooh at their own peril, which in many cases lead them astray in their assessments as to what's happening in the North.
On the other hand, we find photos of empty 'free markets' in the DPRK since the disasterous currency reform in November 2009. Yet markets do flourish dispute the rescinded North Korean won revaluation.
The graduate student and North Korean watcher Curtis Milton has a wonderful website, using Google maps, which is studded with very valuable data about the so called opaque DPRK. His website for all to see, is an example of citizen journalism which captures images of interest not only to outsiders but you would think to North Korean officials themselves.
Milton's data make us wonder as to the value of some western and South Korean commentators, who peddle a line of rotting fish about North Korea.
And now the 'prestigious' US government vetted New York Korea Society is sponsoring a closed meeting on 'weighing Korean options after the Cheonan sinking', in the last Tuesday of April 2010.
The panel is composed of the usual suspects: former US ambassador Thomas Hubbard, newly named CEO of the Korea Society; the outgoing president and former senior State Department officier, Evans Revere; John Delury associate director of the centre on US Chian relations; and David Strau, director of Korean studies and Shorenstein APARC [Shorestein Asia Pacific Research Centre] at Stanford, and former State Department officier. [Nota bene: since the panel is dealing with Korean options, no Korean from the ROK and DPRK are invited guests.] Are we to infer that this initiative is either an exercise of US arrogance or a goodwill gesture?
Will the guests make off guarded remarks only for the ears of the select few on Korea Society's A list of bankers, think tankers, former heavy hitters of the American government? Korea Society makes the caveat that an audio podcast will be made available after the meeting. But you can be assured, it will be heavily 'blue pencilled'!
And rest assured, the 'high powered panel' will speak for the two Koreas!
So as the old comic Jimmy Durante used to say, 'everyone's trying to bus into the act!' And the DPRK case is left unheard.
To be fare, Pyongyang waited a good 21 days before issuing a denial of anything to do with the 'Cheonan' sinking. It waited until the hulk was lifted from the sea. And then, silence.
As noted above, the jury is out on the sinking. That, however, has not stopped the tongues of blame and speculation, from wagging.
Gaming North Korea we say. Why? It is eays to blame the DPRK for a multitude of sins. A recent article in the 'Asia Pacific Journal' by the Russian academician and director of the Korean programme at the Institute of Economy at Russia's Academy of Science, calls for patience and discussions with the DPRK. The US and South Korea have engaged too long in vituperation and threats and much arm twisting have proven less than effective. China counsels Washington to patience, but wiser heads think otherwise, and we know the stalemate that has led to.
For the US and ROK buying time is the name of the game. It is a twist on the old drip drip conceit...you know if the water drips long and over time on a rock, it will wear a hole in it. But they are too optimistic since this strategy has not worked well, and if you look at from another standpoint, it is Washington and Seoul who give or gave in. Time is also on the DPRK's side, too.
After the death of Kim Il Sung and the great famine of the 1990's, eventhe Clinton administration which opened talks with North Korea--and in no small measure to the good offices of Jimmy Carter and Kim Il Sung--bankrolled its strategy on the collapse of the DPRK. It didn't happen. George W. Bush thought by rubbing Kim Jong il's nose in righteousness and playing hardball, the DPRK would cave in. That, too, didn't work. Bush had to back peddle the more especially since his policy turned North Korea into a nuclear power. And now under Barack Obama, the standoff remains. Bluster and posturing and nothing getting down.
South Korea's Lee Myung bek thought himself clever by half: he scotched the 'Sunshine Policy', cut off fertilizer deliveries, and food aid, thinking he could stave the DPRK into submission. Wrong!
You would have thought with the 'best and brightest' in the US and ROK, something would have worked. Wrong. Ultimately instead of 'gaming North Korea', everyone has to sit down and discuss the issues, and that means a peace treaty, diplomatic recognition, a modus vivendi on the nuclear issue, and positive moves towards stablising peace in northeast Asia. Otherwise, it's business as usual which has not proven small beer!

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Leading US Jewish elite panics

Israel is using a panicked US Jewish community, to plead its case in full page ads in the 'Washington Post', the 'Wall Street Journal', and the 'New York Times', among other American newspapers of note. Let's recapituale the story as to the why of the matter, before commenting on the full page ads themselves.
US president Barak Obama's [BHO] new riff on Israel has sent the Israeli lobby into a panic. As GuamDiary has observed, the intransigeance of the right wing Netenyahu Likud led government is to blame. Israel's prime minister is playing a game of chicken with BHO, and in the end, he's bound to lose. To put it rudely and crudely, Israel is an American protectorate, economically, politically, and militarily.
Netenyahu's delaying tactics on discussions indirectly with the Palestinian Authority, to kick start talks on a two state solution, is well known. More importantly, he rubbed vice president Joe Biden's nose in diplomatic pooh, during his visit to Israel, to announce the building of 1600 housing units in East Jerusalem. A move which is not recognised and condemned as illegal by the international community.
BHO had a last word of sorts after Netenyahu's stellar and insulting rebuke to the Obama administration, during his appearance at the March 2010 annual meeting of the American Israeli PAC [AIPAC]. He in private dressed down the Israeli prime minister; he kept him cooling his heels during discussions at the White House, whilst BHO ate dinner quietly with his family. After the dessert and coffee, the American president returned to the Roosevelt room to resume the very tightly argued and angry words.
To pour more salt in Netenyahu's wounds, he denied him a photo op, a joint news conference with the press, and pictures which would have made the next day's front pages.
Shamed Netenyahu at the last minute backed out of going to the 47 country nuclear confab in Washington, called by BHO. Replaying his shtick, Netenyau pleaded a bureaucratic excuse. He feared that two Muslim allies of Israel--Turkey and Egypt--might have raised Israel's nuclear arsenal and programme, to embarras him. Eyewash. The plain truth is that he was smarting still from the arctic freeze he was getting from the Obama administration, owing to his inflexiblity on the Israel Palestine talks, or more like it, the absence of more than a year of discussions.
BHO's new tack, supported by his generals who are talking of the untrustworthiness of Israel as an ally in America's objectives in the Middle East and Central and South Asia, has sent tremours up and down the spine of America's Jewish elite. Isreal has written BHO off too easily and early, as a 'wuss' and at the same time as a closeted Muslim who supports the Arab and Muslim positions. Ergo, a viper in Israel's busom and long unattenuated uspport of Israel.
AIPAC nervously reported that 333 members of the lower House of Congress and 77 senators have signed on to support Israel come what may! [Is that support unconditional? Politics has a way of hitting Achilles' heel, thereby rendering an impregnable fortress, a sand castle as the tide moves in.]
And then Steven Lauder, philanthropist, head of the World Jewish Congress, and heir to the Estee Lauder fortune, signed a full page ad that appeared in the 15 and 16 April 2010 pages of the 'Washington Post' and the 'Wall Street Journal'. The WJC threw full support behind Israel's illegal seizure of land in East Jerusalem, and by extension the land grab that Israel has been carry out of Palestinian territory in its now 43 year occupation of the West Bank. It gives the impression that the US Jewish community and with world in its proclamation of the Jewish communities in the diaspora. But the Jewish voice is not unanimous, to say the least. But let's go on.
A small paragraph in the US press and on online blogs makes mention of the fact that Benjamin Netenyahu okayed the text of Lauder's open letter 'ubi et orbi' in these two prominent US dailies.
Such political coaching of a foreign government in the internal affairs of basically an American run non governmental organisation, raises serious questions. Which alas no one is willing to challenge. So, the obvious conclusion to draw, noting the spiritual ties which bind Jewery in the diaspora to Israel, is that Israel is using such ngo's as a smokescreen to further its propaganda objectives, and challenging the Obama administration's minor variation in US policy towards Israel.
If this was not enough. In the 17 April 2010 issue of the 'Wall Street Journal' and the 18 April Sunday edition of the 'New York Times' appeared yet another full page ad. This one bearing the signature of the Nobelist Elie Wiesel. It, too, support Israel's move to ethnically cleanse and seize land in Arab East Jerusalem.
Wiesel straightway says he is above politics. But is he? Hardly. He proceeds to dive head first into the illegal seizure of land and the forced removal of Palestinians from homes in East Jerusalem.
Why? Jerusalem is dear to the heart of Judaism. It is its soul. In the 'Torah' and other books of the old Testament, it is mentioned more than 600 times. He points out that it bears not a single menetion in the Koran. He brings up King David, the founding of the Temples, so on and on, to justify Israel's illegal expansion.
He falls back on rabbinical authority, scholars, and the like, but his case is spurious.
No one disputes the spiritual value of Jerusalem for the Jews, but the illegal seizure of land there simply uses that as an excuse to justify 'manu militari' force in ethnic cleansing and the theft of property.
And so Eli Weisel has put his pen to Israel's propaganda war, to support the Netenyahu government.
Has he forgotten that on the Temple Mount looking down on the Wailing Wail, stands after the Qabbah in Mecca, the Rock of the Dome the very holy Muslim shrine? To Muslim Jerusalem or el Quds in Arabic is sacred. Has Weisel not heard of the prophet Muhammed flight on horse to Jerusalem? Metaphorical or not, this journey plays an important part in Islam, in the same way, Jerusalem does theologically for the Jews.
We have not heard the last of the ongrowing war of words and the 24 hour 7 day a week churning of Israel's propaganda mills.
They have frightened US Jewish ngos to join the battle. But the outcome is uncertain and fraught with unseen consequences. The question might arise of double loyalty of US citizens, once a strong weapon of anti Semites, which alas still has life.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Lebensraum Israeli style

The Nazis practised Lebensraum [living space], notably in Central and Eastern Europe. They sought through ethnic cleansing to remove, enslave, and ultimately kill inhabitants of this 'space', for one purpose: to populate it with a race of Arayans [read Germans] with approved racial characteristics, which fit the definition of 'uebermenschen' or supermen]. As a result the a systematic genocide...millions fell victim, mostly Jews but also the Roma [gypsies], the lame and mentally handicapped, homosexuals, Socialists, and Communists, Poles, Ukranians, etc.
Today Israel, too, exercises a politics of 'Lebensraum'. It is cleansing through illegal implantation of colonists, rabid Zionists, many nourished by religious zeal, in the Palestinian west bank. The west bank is Israel's booty from the Six Day War of 1967; it has held conquered territory for the last 43 years. Overtime, especially with the rise of religious Zionism, illegal colonies have put down roots on Palestinian land. Land which the Israeli establishment call 'Judea and Samaria', the rationale of which is found in the 'Pentatuch' or 'Torah'. Although the impulse is religious, many secular Jews, especially those living close to Jerusalem, have also taken part in this land grab.
Israel has perfected 'Lebensraum', the more especially since it has legally armed its bureaucrats, military and civil, with the weapons to seize Palestinian land, remove its inhabitants, and force them into 'ghettos', in restricted camps or towns, resembling old style South African 'bantustans'.
The Jewish settlers are armed with weapons and the righteous might of a vengeful god, in reclaming land which does not belong to them, including East Jerusalem.
Zionist ideology fuels this land grab and ethnic cleansing; its mindset resembles in many ways the Nazis or the South African apartheid government thought of 'people less than human', be they Jews or gypsies, the blind, the lame, or the insane or physically impaired, homosexuals, or blacks or brown or Arab.
Recent newly proclaimed orders to the Israeli military allow the 'Tsahal' or Israeli Defence Force, to uproot, remove, and expel Palestinians from their land at will. The orders are so broadly defined that anyone, including sympathetic Israelis to the plight of Palestinians, face draconian and arbitrary measures, including prison.
The right wing Netenyahu government, feed on revisionist and ordinary Zionist ideology, have one idea in mind: a Jewish state from the Mediterrean to the Jordan River. A Jewish state, period. As such, as GuamDiary has often noted such a political and physical entity in itself is a negation of the Zionist dream, the more especially since within its borders is a majority Arab population with little or no rights, tied hand and fist to ghettos or 'bantustans'.
Ultimately Israel will suffer the same fate as South Africa. Israel will lose its 'soul', its reason for being, and as a slap in the face, its name.
Such is the mad path Israel's leaders have chosen. A drive to destruction of an ill conceived temple.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Israel is learning a hard lesson

Israeli prime minister Benjamin 'Bibi' Netenyahu won't be among those at US president Barach Obama's nuclear roundtable in Washington. He's sending a lower grade bureaucrat in his place.
Israel is beginning to learn that as an American protectorate, the US' strategic interests do not align with those of Jerusalem.
Israel has at least 120 nuclear warheads but as part of an agreement with the Nixon administration promised not to publicise its active nuclear programme. Everyone knows about it, in spite of Israel's silence.
You can blame the French for sharing nuclear know how with Israel. The Socialist government of Guy Mollet opened that Pandora's box during the 1956 Suez aggression against Nasser's Egypt. Charles deGaulle put an end to such cooperation after he came to power in 1958. But the harm was done.
Netenyahu not wishing to confront his own Muslim allies--Turkey and Egypt--chose to hide behind the walls Israel has raised from the outside world. Its propaganda machine is churning full time to pin blame on Muslim countries wanting to shame and isolate "weak, innocent" Israel.
How does that shopworn excuse square with the facts that it is Israel's own Muslim friends in Anakara and Cairo, that are raising the issues of Israel's nuclear programme and ongoing research?
Relations between Turkey and Cairo are to varying degrees strained. GuamDiary has commented on Turkey's disenchantment at Israel's arrogance and its murderous, preemptive war om Gaza. Its worries with Cairo stem from Israel's illegal swallowing up of the occupied West Bank, effectively denying Palestinians of creating a state of their own.
As for the US, Netenyahu's insult of vice president Biden and his mocking president Obama in the American president's endeavour to resurrect a moribund peace process leading to the creation of an independent Palestine, the Israeli prime minister can no longer be sure of 'total, complete, unmitigated' US support.
Washington acknowledges but won't pick a fight in public with Jerusalem. It full well knows that after Mr. Obama's Cairo speech, the Israeli street looks upon him as a closet Muslim and an 'enemy' of Israel. It is not for nothing that in Jerusalem, east and west, posters are pasted on walls with the American president, head bowed, accepted a medal from the Saudi[?] or Trucail state emir, with the large headline in Hebrew, which in translation reads 'Beware a PLO spy in the White House'. In other words, Mr. Obama is not a friend of Israel, and what's more has taken its enemies [Arab and Muslims] side. A panaroid reading of the current administration's agenda.
Sly and foolish Netenyahu is betting on the US Congress, right wing evangelical Christians, and the American public to back him up. He is also counting on his ability to outlast Mr. Obama in fighting the creation of a Palestinian state.
Wrong. Israel is in a state of crisis. Its 'democracy' is being undermined by corruption and malfeasance in the highest levels of government, including the prime minister's office. A president has been found guilty of sexual impropriety.
Israel is on the defencive following the publishing of the UN Human Rights Commission's 'Goldstone Report'. It documented Israeli 'crimes of war' against the ciivlian population in Gaza during its month long offensive against the democratically elected Hamas government.
Israel feels like an international pariah thanks to the report, which it fought, refused to cooperate with the UN, and has slandered since it was made public. But the damage was done, and Israel was exposed for its contravention of the laws of war.
Not only that, it has begun cicling its wagons against its own citizens who one way or the other have opposed Israel's oppressive of the captive Palestinian population on the West Bank, and the tight noose it keeps on Gaza, allowing just enough food and material to pass the Israeli Gaza frontier to keep skin and bones on Palestinians in Gaza.
The Obama administration has a guilty hand in attacking the Goldstone report as biased, but for how long will it continue spitting in the face of the truth?
Netenyahu's absence from the nuclear confab in Washington won't diminist attendee states from raising the issue of Israel's nuclear arsenal and programme. In fact, this very issue will detract from Mr. Obama's purpose for calling the meeting: to isolate Iran and North Korea in the context of his new nuclear strategy.
Israel is now becoming a millstone around Washington's neck, and in its darker recesses formulation of political, economic, and military policies are being formulated. These policies are taking for working principle that Israel is a hinderance to America's broader aims in west and central Asia. They are diminishing the importance of Israel in the future, but won't relinquish a strong hand to stay Israel's itchy finger on the trigger to bomb Iran.
Israel is ignorning the hard lesson of recent turn of events at the bottom of which it shares complete blame. Time is no longer on its side. The balance of weight is shifting from its favour.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

A Mongolian wind sweeps over New York based Korea Society

As GuamDiary has noted, the New York based Korea Society is the carrot of US diplomacy toward dealing with the Democratic People's Republic of Korea [DPRK aka North Korea]. It is staffed by vetted CIA, former ambassadors, military, and senior State Department types.
The Society has [co]sponsored university programmes which have brought North Koreans for a brief period of study. Its senior vice presidents and presidents have eased the way for investment bankers, industrialists, business leaders,and the like, to visit North Korea. It had a ready and helpful hand in the visit of the New York Philharmonic in 2008. It has frequent meetings with members of the DRPK permanent mission in New York, and acts as a go between visiting North Koreans and American power brokers such as Kissinger.
The Society has weathered the fair and bad weather of US foreign policy towards Pyongyang.
Now something new is happening at the Korea Society. In previous incarnations, its former presidents have come directly out of high ranking posts in the American universe of diplomacy and spooks. As of 1 May, the new president, with a strong background in Korean affairs, is former ambassador Mark C. Minton, with a 32 year career as a senior foreign officer.
Here, however, is the new twist in his appointment: until 2009, he was US ambassador to Mongolia. Months before the Society appointed Stephen Noerpe, a Korean expert with strong ties to Mongolia, as a senior vice president.
Not only that, in Februrary 2010, Korea Society hosted a breakfast meeting with Damdan Tsogbaatar, state secretary of the ministry of foreign affairs and trade.
He spoke of the ties that bind: facilitating peace on the Korean peninsula.
Mongolia has relatively good ties with the DPRK and ROK [Republic of Korea aka South Korea]. It is not a strain to see that in Mongolia's capital Ulan Bator, high ranking US officials and scholars, say, like Noerpe, have had contact with North Koreans.
Mongolia offers a good cover for such 'prises de contacte'. They remain out of the public eye, and on the lee side of any storm arising in Washington, condemning any such moves.
So GuamDiary asks with Minton and Noerpe, is this a hint that the Obama administration, which remains strong in bursts and fits of threats against the DPRK [see, Mr. Obama's new nuclear strategy], is playing a different tune in channels to Kim Jong il?
Mongolia is more neutral ground for a change in tone and tactics, since it is not Beijing, and we stress again, away from the klieg lights of journalists and North Korea watchers. Ulan Bator is a sea of tranquillity in the tempest of US North Korea relations. It is much better suited to the DPRK's temperment: Mongolia is a small country with no axe to grind, and has maintained through thick and thin relations with Pyongyang.
GuamDiary will keep an alert eye on how the appointment of two 'Mongolian' experts in key posts at the Korea Society develop. At present, it looks as though US diplomacy is taking a different tack in trying to bring the DPRK back to six party talks in Beijing. Saying this, Ulan Bator offers a more serene climate to approach such matters as an end to the Korean war and other outstanding and vital issues in US DPRK relations for the last 60 years.
A work about South Korea. It is not the least bit unawares of the attractiveness of Mongolia. For it, too, offers Seoul quiet corners to meeting Koreans from the north.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Bully Israel thumps its chest once more

Israeli prime minister 'Bibi' Netenyahu is putting all his eggs in one basket in the crisis he created with the United States. He's betting that he can wear down the Obama administration's insistance that the building of the 1600 housing units in East Jerusalem be put a brake on, and is counting on the US Congress and American public opinion, to back him up.
He may be barking up the wrong tree. President Obama [BHO] spoke the hard truth to Mr. Netenyahu during his 2 day star turn in Washington to address the powerful American Israeli Political Action Committe [AIPAC]. BHO didn't mince words, but they were wasted on Mr. Netenyahu who has the 'Torah' and God on his side!
The announcement of expanded building of housing in East Jerusalem, which Israel claims as a birthright, but international begs to differ 'de facto' and 'de jure', came immediately on the heels of vice president Joseph Biden's clear, strong words of support of the Zionist state. Biden, as we call, came to Israel to give CRP to the limp, dying body of negotiations between Israel and the Palestinian Authority. He is one of the most stauch and housebroken cheer leaders of Israel in the American government. His 'devotion' got him nothing but a slap in the face, and the press release coming out of the Israeli prime minister's office following Biden's speech effectively poured cold war on the American initiative for indirect talks.
It was quite clear that Israel has no intention in allowing the birth of a Palestinian state unless it's an emasculated satrap, or if it has enough time to gobble up Palestinian territory illegally by implanting settlements.
Mr. Netenyahu has misread BHO. His insult to the US has stirred quiescent currents in the Pentagon and the State Department. General Petreus, with the approval of his boss Admiral Mullen, appeared before the Senate Armed Services committe. He spoke of the unreliability of Israel as an ally in the Middle East and Central and South Asia, as it pertains to US goals. Remarkably in his 'tour de horizon' of west Asia, he included Hamas.
In another underreported bit of news in the US media, at a conference in Doha, a US representative had talks with Hamas in the corridors. Now that's an important development, one which should put Israel on notice.
But Israel is threatening again invading Gaza, to forestall and scotch any moves towards a Palestinian state.
The Obama administration, it appears, is dusting off a ploy George HW Bush used 20 years ago. It is sending mild but readable signals that it might not extend uncritical, complete support in the UN. Such a move would surely bring a condemnation of Israel. The Obama administration may even go the extra step in abstaining the next time the UN Human Rights Commission has a resolution condemning Israel for not implementing the recommendations of the Goldstone Report on investigating the crimes of war committed against the civilian population of Gaza by the 'Tsahal' or Israel Defence Force [IDF].
Mr. Netenyahu is tone deaf to these signals. He is banking on the Israeli street lack of trust of Mr. Obama, especially after the US president's speech in Cairo which was well received in the Arab and Muslim world.
Such a reaction is proof positive that a strong current of Israeli public feeling consider Palestinians inferior and unworthy as a partner in negotiations. Such attitudes simply mirror the anti Semitism rife in Europe a century ago. Mr. Netenyahu & co., to sustain such opinion, can do no better than the poster on the walls of Jerusalem. We see a photo of Mr. Obama head bowed receiving a medal from the Saudi king or a Trucial state emir, with a big print warning in Hebrew: 'Beware of a PLO spy in the White House'.
Mr. Netenyahu & co. are playing with fire and will surely get their fingers burnt. They forget Israel is an American protectorate and the only friend they have in the Middle East is America. Without US backing, it will be left to its own devices, suffer diplomatic, economic, and deep psychological damages.