"None so blind as those who will not see'.
Since assuming the powers of president of South Korea in 2008, Lee Myung bak baldly proclaimed that he was going to teach North Korea a lesson it wouldn't forget. He has held true to his promise. His friends and allies in the US, Europe, and Asia looked elsewhere and found the mote of blame in the eye of North Korea for trying to trip the wire of war on a tense divided Korean peninsula. The speck of dirt in the South's eye is, however, passed over in almost complete silence since it suited Seoul's US handler, to enrage Kim Jong il & co. Let's now look at the maddingly wild course that the South Korea president has embarked on. He began by abandoning the 'Sunshine Policy', followed by severe economic sanctions, a renewed propaganda war against the North, and increasing military exerices in an arrogant display of feckless courage which would meet no challenge. Confident that the world would turn a blind eye to his risky, aggressive course of action towards the North, Lee's inflated ego knew no bounds.
According to the diplomatic cables in the 'Guardian's' excellent database,the US embassy cable 'Trying to crack the North Korean nut', well captures the essence of Lee's lunatic course of confrontation with the North. ['Guardian, 29 November 2010]. In it, Lee is determined to seize in the current moment 'a genuine opportunity to push and further weaken the North, even if this might involve considerable brinkmanship'. And the cable further added that 'favoring the Lee administration stance, which calm to the point of apathy about the inter-Korean situation'.
GuamDiary has over time commented on the escalating sabre rattling policy of Lee Myung bek. He has reached a delusional stage in which he fancies himself as the reunifier of a divided Korean peninsula. Seated in the Blue House in Seoul, as he surveys the increasing number of military drills on what he figures is the North's underbelly along the NLL [Northern Limit Line] along North Korea's territorial waters; with each new exercises, aided and abetted by US forces -- stationed in South Korea since the Korean War -- Lee, with the flair of an amateur chess player, positions his pieces to antagonise to the utmost, and without serious consequences, taunts his nemesis Kim Jong il in Pyongyang.
North Korea called his bluff in November 2010 by riposting to the South's naval drills with live fire in and around the island of Yeonpyeong which is the home of a serious military installation, hardly 10 km from North Korea's territorial waters. Pyongyang had alerted Seoul that should any of the South's shells hit its territory, it would react, and react it did.
For the first time in 47 years since the signing of the 1953 Armistice North and South Korea traded shots which aroused fear of renewed fighting in the divided Korean peninsula. Any sane leader might have considered a change in policy, but not Lee Myung bak. He was hell bent in brazenly recreating the same November scenario which led to North Korea's shelling. Lucky for him, the American governor of New Mexico was in Pyongyang trying to calm very troubled waters. Bill Richardson's presence in the North offered the South Korean president, with the instincts of a coward, to thumb his nose at Pyongyang. Still, an American in Pyongyang abbreviated Lee's display of braggadocio to a mere 90 minutes.
Still, the South Korean president refused to lighten up on his dangerous game of trying to bell the North Korean cat. As a result, in a huge hall, with row after row of high and middle and lower ranking North Korean military officers, vice chairman of the military commission Kim Yong chun issued a warning to the South. If it continued on punishing to a dangerous warlike situation to the very limits of sanity, Pyongyang was, in other words, 'ready for a holy war, using its nuclear deterrent' to defend the motherland.
His very words got instant global media coverage. They confirmed in the US and western mind, among others, that North Korea was irrational and a maverick threatening nuclear holocaust. Yet, even general Kim's rhetoric could not deter Lee Myung bak from his offensive designs against the North. Upping the ante, the South Korean president heated up his own fiery unreasonable brand of sabre rattling in Tokyo. He 'vowed a fearless retaliation against North Korea', reported the 'NYT's' Martin Fackler from Tokyo. And as can be expected, the world media ignored the import of Lee's unflappable march to the brink of war. What is good for Seoul's goose is 'verboten' for Pyongyang's goose.
In the midst of this heated exchange of words, the US has remained curiously quiet, if not supportive of Lee Myung bak. Since a transition of power is going on in North Korea, especially since the stroke Kim Jong il suffered 2 years ago, Washington has smelt an opportunity to see not only the weakening of Pyongyang but the fall of North Korea. Subjectively, if not objectively, the US' policy towards North Korea is the glove into which fits Lee Myung bek's plan of action towards weakening, if not provoking the North towards recklessness.
As readers of GuamDiary long know, we have not skipped an occasion to bring up the CFR [Council on Foreign Relations] report of US policy towards Korea. In its 60 pages, it reflects the same thinking that Lee Myung bek proclaims aloud. Simply put, it is the failed policy of 'roll back', of crushing North Korea by any means possible short of all out of war so far. Even the North's shelling of Yeonpyeong has deflected the Obama administration -- which has toughened up the Bush administration's go for broke approach towards North Korea -- from its anointed rounds of regime change in Pyongyang.
It is in this vein that the arrival in Seoul of US secretary of defence Robert Gates takes on significane. He is coming to show Washington's unqualified support of its ally Lee Myung bak. And it is in this same vein, too, that we are witnessing delusions of grandeur of Lee Myung bak and his handler the Obama administration, in open display of their feelings of omnipotence and grandeur.
It is little wonder, as GuamDiary observed, that Bill Richardson in an interview on American public television, appeared ill at ease. He sees the dangerous road of miscalculation that Lee Myung bak and Barack Obama are confidentally marching towards war. And his edginess simply affirms that the world remains blind to the megalomania of Lee Myung bak and the utter fatuousness and foolishness and failure of US policy towards North Korea.