Monday, January 30, 2012

Here we go again in the battle of territorial claims and name changing

Yep, here we go again. Japan has 'dibs' on East China Sea islands they call 'Senkaku'. China and Taiwan claim them as their own, and to them, they are the 'Diaoyu islands'.
These three countries are not only talking of national pride and of course, appeal to history to justify claims of theirs. There, however, is an overarching economic reach in pinning names on maps to these islands. We're talking of fishing rights as the fishing wars grow sharper owing to overfishing and depletion of fish that make up everyday diets. And of course, the potential pot of gold of oil and gas deposits that lie, it is said, under the sea floor.
Somewhere or the other, South Korea will enter the territorial fray as both China and Japan lay claim to offshore islands Seoul says that it has right and title to.

US, Philippines reenforce military ties

It seems as though it were yesterday that the Filipino government refused to renew a basing agreement with the US. Actually it was 20 years ago when America abandoned Clark Air Force base and Subic Bay naval base, hang ons from US colonial occupation of the Philippines and the Cold War in Asia.
The evacuation of bases did not signify abandonment of military consultation and cooperation, only at a diminished degree.
China's claims to the South China Sea, with its rich oil and gas deposits, infringes on Filipino claims to a portion of the Sea which falls in its territorial waters. For an poor country like the Philippines revenue from oil and gas would go a long way in lightening the heavy economic baggage it carries.
Beijing has bold as brass pushed its claims to territorial waters that Taiwan, Vietnam, Malaysia, and the Philippines lay claim. To make the point clear, China has not only uses threats but sent its naval into the SCS to stress its determination to have its way either through intimidation or brief naval encounters, as it has done with Vietnam.
The US has not stood idly by as China's star has risen higher and higher in the Asian firmament challenging America's hegemony in the Asia Pacific theatre.
Already the Bush administration had given Manila strong words of support. But it is the Obama White House that has come designed at forward military dogma for the Asia Pacific area, with a single goal in mind: thwart and tame China's territorial ambitions.
As such, the Filipino government has been willing to hold joint combat drills at oil rigs in Filipino waters in the SCS as well as undisclosed sensitive areas. The return of open military presence in the Philippines has injected new blood into a 'keep America out' movement which is always close to the surface in that country's history.
Here, it is useful to recall that the US has been active in Manila's fight against the Moro insurgents in Mindanao as well as in the long war against the Communist New People's Army in the Visayas.
Consequently the Philippines has a role to play in Obama's forward military and political policy in Asia. And the stakes are high since it involves oil and gas hidden riches in the SCS.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Israel's hand in American politics

GuamDiary has always contended that Israel was an internal American problem. In the last few weeks, two events underscore this assertion.son injected us$5 million into Newt Gingrich super PAC, which worked wonders to upset Mitt Romney's applecart in South Carolina, and a week later, Penny Adelson pumped $5 million more into that super PAC as Gingrich geared up to deny Romney the nod from Florida in his run for the Republican party's nomination for the presidency.
Now, a wag may point out that Gingrich and the casino owner Adelson know each other for a long time. No dispute there, but the money tap was turned on when 'historian' Newt boldly declared that there was no such thing as a Palestinian people. Translation, Israel has every right to occupy and extend its border to the Jordan river in what it calls 'Sumaria and Judea', but which is poaching on the legally recognised land of what would be a Palestinian state, no longer under the jackboot of Israel occupation for the last 45 years.
And then there's the 'Third Jihad' scandal rocking New York City's police department. 'Third Jihad' is a malicious piece of propaganda that was showing in loop fashion to high ranking police officers: funded by the Clarion Fund which is a front for the right wing Israeli organisation Aish Ha'Torah which favours illegal land grabs and illegal Jewish settlement in the West Bank, which it claims to be the God given land to the Jews as Sumaria and Judea. Raymond Kelly the chief of police actively cooperated in the making of film that claims that all American Muslims are a Fifth Column of potential, if not actual, terrorists.
This idea is in agreement with not only the New York police's policing of racial profiling Muslims but is an echo of what is happening among law enforcement across America.
GuamDiary has already blogged on the potentially disloyal behaviour of Eric Cantor, the House of Representative leader of the Republicans, who openly swore fealty to Israel's prime minister Netenyahu, and who arranged for him to speak to a joint session of Congress where he heaped scorn of president Obama's plan to bring a two state solution to the Israeli einian problem.
And then, there the Hebron Fund which already claims Hebron is already a part and parcel of the Zionist state, even though it is recognised as part of Palestinian although under 45 years of Israeli occupation. The US look the other way as the Fund raises money for an organisation which favours occupation and terrorism against Arabs. And yet whereas the US finds no pangs of heart at listening Muslim charitable organisations in the US as 'terrorists', it remains blind to Israeli organisations which are fundamentally terrorist.
As we say, Israel is an American problem, and potentially a headache and has always to pull Israel's chestnuts out of the fire diplomatically, politically, and, yes, militarily.

Israel itching to bomb Iran?

In the Sunday 29 January 'New York Times Magazine', veteran Israeli investigative reporter Ronen Bergman's 'Israel vs. Iran' is featured.
Bergman is no stranger when it comes to Iran and the Mossud. His 'Secret war with Iran' came out in an English translation in 2008, and is now available on the web for the lowly price of US$0,99 plus shipping fees.
You have to wonder whether Bergman's article saw it way into print through the good offices of a public relations firm. On one hand, it weightily tilts towards Israel attacking Iran in 2012 around the time the Republican and Democrat conventions meet, as a means to force the US, once more, to do Israel's bidding. Bergman is firmly convinced that the right wing Likud led government of 'Bibi' Netenyahu will attack Iran, and he ably supports his arguments through interviews of Ehud Barak, the Zionist's state defence minister and Moshe Ya'alon, vice prime minister and minister of strategic affairs; the views of these two men reflect perfectly the thinking of Netenyahu.
Israel has been banging pots and pans for bombing Iran more loudly and more often of late: its intelligence establishment sees the 'window of opportunity' narrowing fast before Tehran has developed a nuclear weapon. These 'wise' old men of the Israeli establishment see a striking parallel between Nassar's closing of the Straits of Tiran in 1967 and Ahmadinejad's threat to close the Straits of Hormuz. In 1967, Israel attacked, and in 2012, it may very well drag the US into war with Iran and setting off a firestorm of war that will threat the Zionist's state's own existence. Is Israel willing to use its nuclear arsenal? No one can rule that option out.
Baruch willingly talks of narrowing identity of views with Washington, but can we be so sure? The Obama administration is not in the mood for yet another war in west Asia after the mess it made in Iraq, yet the Israelis, come hell and high water, are intent in making the White House pull Israel's chestnuts out of the fire after it bombs Iran.
Yet, according to CIA estimates Iran is not developing nuclear weapons; the spy agency has often quoted its own findings. Bergman does give an opposing Israeli standpoint which bolsters the CIA reports by citing the former head of the Mossad as well as retired senior Israeli officers and cabinet holders. These 'realists' think that the 'impending' attack on Iran is shortsighted if not reckless since it would expose the Israeli civil population to heavy rocket attacks, to destruction of infrastructure, and in a curious way, to the devastation that Israeli 'tsahal' [defence forces] visited on Gaza during 'Operation Cast Lead' in December 2007.
And then there are the tactical problems which aerial warfare brings: noteworthy is that the long distance from Israeli bases to Iran requires refueling in air, thereby leaving the Zionist air force vulnerable to Irani aeroplanes. More, an Israeli 'manu militari' thrust would give the green light to Israel's hostile neighbours to attack it.
And yet, owing to the media blitz of Netenyahu & co., the Israelis live in growing and constant fear of rockets from Iran descending on their heads. And as such, the 'realist's' argument has lost more and more of an audience.
Bergman concludes that he does feel Israel will bomb Iraq. What he doesn't say: given the logistical difficulties the Zionist's military will have, it would surprise anyone were Netenyahu's hawkish government give the 'go ahead' to use Israel's atomic weapons.
Washington has grown more ill at ease at Israel's propaganda war. It dispatched the current chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Martin Dempsey to talk sense and turkey with Netenyahu & co. Obama is fingering his worry beads for the US can never be certain Israel will not carry out its aggression against Iraq and drag the US screaming and kicking into an unwinnable war that would guarantee the collapse of the US and European economies which remain after the 2008 global recession in the doldrums.
Israel, if we believe Bergman' is hellbent on self destruction and doesn't give a royal fart it it takes everyone down with it. The example of Samson comes to mind here.
And yet, can we trust the 'wisdom' of Ehud Barak and the other other hawks--Netenyahu and Ya'alon? It is important to point out that Barak sent Israel into Lebanon, and that invasion forced the Zionist state to retreat with its tail between its legs. There is little reason to give a failed prime minister and general a reasonable doubt. There is more to fear from the warmongering they preach and the willingness to send young men and women to death and in a holocaust of their own making destroy the state of Israel

Friday, January 27, 2012

New York's mayor Bloomberg likes spy stories

Billionaire mayor Mike Bloomberg likes John LeCarre. He said as much whilst visiting a Bronx high school English class. As self styled 'education mayor', the man who spent more than $100m for a third term in office and with a narrow margin of 4 percent got to stay mayor. [So much for the power of money when the electorate does not think highly of you!]
The object of Bloomberg's pitch is to encourage students to read more since reading scores of New York's public and charter [read private] and parochial schools remain disappointingly low.
Of course, the mayor eats up financial publications, he has a business to run as a financier, as well as biographies, non fiction best sellers with a history slant.
His admission that enjoys a rattling spy novel, particularly LeCarre's 'Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy' sought to send a message to 'underachieving' young readers to read more. A laudable goal. Bloomberg had also gone with his squeeze to see the film based on the LeCarre book which is currently playing in New York to a good gate. Saying this, it makes you wonder whether a high school student would rather plonk down $13 to see Gary Oldman as George Smiley, LeCarrer's relentless hero than sloughing through more than 400 pages of prose?
You have to hand it to Bloomberg wanting to pitch the value of reading books. And yet, fiction takes last place among the books he reads. 'Johnny Tremain', a 1943 patriotic children's story about the American revolution, is the only other book the mayor endorses.
Has Bloomberg made a 'Freudian slip' in his choice of reading matter? Maybe. The no nonsense mayor likes to think of himself as fair minded and running a ship of the city on even keel. He is and can be moralistic, as he has a big ego for running a police department with ties to the FBI and CIA, and backing up his police chief Raymond Kelly who is under fire for racial profiling, massaging the truth until he is caught in the act and forced to admit the truth and apologise, and other questionable practices. Consider his participation in the Israeli financed 'Third Jihad' which questioned the loyalty of all law abiding American Muslims.
Bloomberg, intoxicated as he is with LeCarre, fancies himself as head of New York's combined equivalent of Britain's MI-5 [read, FBI] and MI-6 [CIA], as well as general of commando attacks in full riot gear against 'Occupy Wall Street'.
Is old Mike New York's George Smiley, the mild manner, savvy bureaucrat who nabs the bad guys? You better believe it: his actions speak louder than his quiet words: he has tasted the power of male fantasy and may even think under the cover of a gentle, reasonable mien, he's really James Bond.

Bill Mardo sportswriter dead at 88

Bill Mardo is not a household name. And certainly a forgotten figure in the fight for racial equality. He was a sports writer for 'The Daily Worker', the organ of the Communist Party USA. That alone should make him forgettable or infamous. And yet, from 1942 until the closing of the paper in 1968 he wrote a much read sports column. He joined Lester Rodney who broke ground as sports writer and editor in 1936.
Say what you will about the sins of CPUSA but you cannot deny that pioneering sports journalists like Rodney and Mardo fought racism in American sports, particularly baseball. They both championed integration of all white National and American League teams. And followed the career of Jackie Robinson.
After Robinson joined the Brooklyn Dodgers, Mardo and Rodney publicly called on the owners of the 15 other teams in the two Leagues to sign up black players.
CPUSA has been accused of many things, some true, some not, but one thing is certain: it was in many respects in the vanguard for racial equality in Jim Crow America.
Consider the Scottsboro Boys case. A recent Broadway revival of Kander & Ebb's musical, opened to excellent reviews, and once more brought to the broad public's attention of the framing of nine black boys and young men accused of rape in 1931 Alabama by two white women, even though the women recanted. It was the involvement of the International Labor Defense that hired the left wing lawyer Samuel Leibowitz to defend them, at a time when the more mainstream civil rights organization hesitated. Only after ILD and Leibowitz managed to draw national and international attention to this miscarriage of justice, did the ACLU and NAACP join the battle. And yet in spite of it all, it wasn't until 1976 was the last Scottsboro Boy released from prison. The case shone the light of even the Supreme Court's upholding segregation in a ruling on whether the rights of the nine 'Boys' had been violated. It also, despite the snipping at the CPUSA, made more lustrous the party's unrelenting policy and struggle for racial justice and against the oppression of America's minorities.
No one has written a book about Mardo, but the late Irwin Silber wrote 'Press Box Red' about Lester Rodney.
GuamDiary encourages the reading of Silber's book, so that a little known but important slice of the fight for racial justice and equality by CPUSA and its newspaper wont be entirely forgotten.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

The rise of Neo-knownothingism in America

This years slate of Republican presidential candidates are living proof of the rise of 'know nothings' in American politics.
Quickly many might object to this characterisation: Romney is a Harvard man with an MBA and law degree; Gingrich holds a ph.d. in history; Ron Paul is a medical doctor, and Rick Santorum is a University of Pittsburgh MBA. Put all the learning together does not make for smartness. In fact, what all these men of politics and influence peddling and business exploit is the masses popular fears of a US in serious economic trouble in a world which challenges America's ideal of itself as a swaggering superpower with the right of a seigneur to deflower [read regime change] any country that goes against its will.
Romney, Gingrich, Paul, and Santorum play all too willing, by any and all means necessary, on xenophobia, anti Muslim sentiment, and the popular fear that undocumented Spanish speaking immigrants will overwhelm, if not drown, the once predominantly white USA in a sea of brown. In this they pick up the dropped stitches of the largely middle-class Tea Party, financed by the super wealthy, who see in foreigners, American Muslims, and Hispanics hostile elements to American values as they see them.
And eager to defeat a black president, all the candidates will embrace ideas which are more or less patently questionable if not false. So out of the window goes any learning worth a damn in favour of appealing to the basest popular sentiment of the growing immiseration of the middle classes who standard of living is greatly challenged by the 2008 global recession brought about by Wall Street bankers; of stirring the fires of fear that children and grandchildren of Baby Boomers will not live the 'good life' of their parents born in the luxury and comfort of post world war two America.
The endless debates among the Republican candidates vying for their party's nomination for the presidency in 2012 have given rise to dimness and dumbness in ideas as though these very men, very comfortable if not very much, had been seized by madness. In their pursuit of power, they have dusted off the much discredited notions 'nativism'.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Obama's State of the Union

Well Toto, Obama's no longer in Kansas. His 'ubi et orbi' address in the well of Congress shows him in fighting spirit. He has no other choice in this presidential election year.
Obama's record is so so at best, big ticket items like health care and tepid financial regulation notwithstanding.
His language, calling for fairness, reinforces solid Yankee virtues of hard work, self-reliance, and fair play.
He put a moss back Republican dominated Congress on notice in rebuilding an economically wounded economy: jobs, jobs, jobs are needed to rescue the shrinking middle classes and hard working poor from the return of robber barons who pay little for their wealth, and for whom the Republicans, in the main, protection their privileges and sybaritic life style.
Yet nowhere did Obama utter the word 'poverty'. Mitch Daniels the Republican governor of Indiana, a state where he is leading the charge to crush unions, did when he referred to Obama's decision to not approve the Keystone project which would bring dirty Canadian oil from tar sands across the length of the US to refineries in Texas; there this sludge would be refined then shipped abroad. The shooting down of Keystone denied 10.000 or more jobs to unemployed Americans, so the hype goes.
Obama's language reflects how much the 'Occupy Wall Street' movement has shifted the political winds. The American president spoke of the '98 percent' who should the tax burden of the rich, very rich, and super rich. In this, the publication of Mitt Romney's tax returns for 2010 and 2011 proved a clinching argument for Obama's indictment. The dim and dumb slate of Republican candidates vying for the Republican nominee for the White House has give Obama more breathing space and put more arrows in his quiver for reelection.
'I will work with any member of Congress who will work with me', says he, 'but if Congress doesn't cooperate, Obama will use executive powers to do what he says he wants to do'. And the line is neatly drawn, as the Republicans sat on their hands knowing full well any booing and shouting will drive their 9 percent public approval rate even lower.
The American president talks a good talk even though he zigzags in his walk. Nonetheless, his metaphor of the military as an institution where all American gather regardless of race, creed, colour, or political convictions, brought the Houses of Congress up on their feet to rousing cheers. It is further proof that the US is the embodiment of the 'garrison state', it is the triumph of the military industrial complex. If anything under Obama the US is pursuing a more seemingly efficient hard nosed foreign cum military policy, and thus reclaiming its right to rule the world as it sees fit.
'Uncle Sam needs you' cries out a recruiting poster, say, from world war two, and that is the message and the prescription for job creation and pumping more blood in the US economy and checkmating unrest from below.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Bombs bursting in Nigeria

'Boko Haram' has come out explosively in Nigeria. The rigid Muslim group deals in terrorism with a single goal in mind: the establish sharia'h law as the guiding principle in ruling Nigeria.
The name itself tells all: 'no Western learning'. Reject everything coming from the 'West', rely on strict Muslim tradition and law. In that, BH is not a trend setter; an immediate example of the disastrous rule of the Taliban in Afghanistan comes to mind, and although in another tradition the genocidal rule of the Khmer Rouge.
Fight the West [read, the modern world] is not something from today. In Korea, China, and Japan such movements arose and ultimately failed.
Some may ask how could such a phenomenon like BH arise in Nigeria of all places? A country awash in oil wealth, one of the largest countries in Africa, a nation that promised much at the time of independence in 1960?
Well the promise of a bright future was quickly dashed. Within a handful of years, a breakaway Biafra challenged the unity of the country. The rule of law was scuppered in favour of a coalition of the North and the West, ably assisted by the military against the mineral rich East.
Military rule bred corruption and unrest, so much so that the central government in an attempt to control if not checkmate the breakdown of the state, agreed to rely on Sharia'h law in an unruly North.
As such, the can of worms was cut open and we see its poisonous fruit in BH.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Korean war film: 'The front line'

Among the films vying for this year's Oscar for best foreign film is Jang Hun's Korean War film 'The front line'. The story line is straightforward: on the eve of the signing of the 1953 Armistice Agreement, effectively freezing the lines of the then three year old war in place, a South Korean unit is sent to hold a piece of land which in the last 18 months of the war had changed hands 30 times. In other words, strategically speaking, it had little military value other than a 'baroud d'honneur' or a desperate fight, perhaps lost before it happened, carried out to save the honour of the army or the ROK. ['Hamburger Hill' should come easily to mind for film buffs.]
What strikes the eye of the non Korean viewer is at least two things: a nuanced view of the North Koreans and the fact, often hidden or denied in the US narrative of the war, the 'front line' is a last ditch battle in a 'civil war'.

1965: Year of living dangerously in Indonesia

Almost 50 years ago, a group calling itself the September 30 [1965] movement, with strong man Suharto, initiated a coup against the Communist Party of Indonesia, which, they claimed had orchestrated a putsch against Bung Sukarno, then president.
A bloodbath ensued: more than a quarter million and perhaps more Indonesians, especially those of Chinese ancestry, fell under the fire of G30S, who had already killed six top generals and seized control of the army. As such, Suharto & co. rounded up and mostly did away with anyone suspected of being Communist or at least sympathetic to the PKI.
Chinese indonianised their names, to avoid suspicions of ties to Mao's China. Sukarno, the father of Indonesian independence, and host of the 1956 Bandung Conference of non aligned nations who chose neither Washington nor Moscow, fell since he had long fallen out of favour with the American government and its falling dominos policy in southeast Asia.
Should GuamDiary readers forget, in the background was the falling US undeclared war in Vietnam. Sukarno was lucky he escaped the assassin's bullet which fell South Vietnam's Diem, the US handpicked president.
The CIA was particularly active in Indonesia at that time, and of course, the Americans courted Suharto who replaced Sukarno. American influence increased in that island republic and with US corporate and military aid, Suharto remained in power for 30 years or more until he was turned out of office for corruption.
As the G30S 'putsch' of 1965 a veil of enforced silence reigned until now when publicly some discussion is being heard. Will the true story ever be told? That remains to be seen. Not many are the studies of what happened in the 'year of living dangerously'. The more critical appraisals got ignored, for they indicted the military and the US government.
Hollywood, under the skillful hand of Peter Weir, made a film of Christopher Koch's 'Year of living dangerous', which catapulted a young actor Mel Gibson to stardom and won Linda Hunt an Oscar for best supporting actress in 1982. The book and film are worth reading and seeing, for Koch got the story right until he fudged the end.
Enough time has passed for the Indonesians to come clean about the G30S coup, the massacre of 250.000 or more Indonesians, and for the US to open its archives so that the light of day can expose its encouragement and hand behind the G30S.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Israel's attack on Iran is not for tomorrow?

Knuckling under pressure from Washington and other capitols, mainly in Europe, Israel is running around trying to mend fences: it is not going to bomb Tehran's nuclear facilities today or tomorrow maybe the day after, we cannot say for sure.
Instead, bully Israel is bombing Gaza, the home of Hamas, a weaker target which can and does play its cards well since the Zionist state, despite a preemptive war 'Cast Lead', assassination squads, and the killing and maiming of civilians in Gaza, trumps successive Israeli governments by not only surviving but growing support abroad.
Israel's ability to construct the narrative of the 44 year occupation of Palestinian lands and history and aspirations has shown wide cracks: two examples will suffice--UNESCO granting full membership to the state of Palestine even though it is occupied, and the attendance of a Hamas official at a recent meeting, in Switzerland, of the International Parliamentary Union.
Even though officially the Zionist state is denying that it is going to bomb Iran, Israel will continue the use of assassination squads to kill Irani nuclear scientists through Pakistani Sunni proxies, or under the cover of fake American passports, will use Mossad agents for black tasks implicating its ally the US who may very well be unaware of what its 'perfidious' ally is doing in its name. So vigilance is much called for and calling Israel to account for its illegal actions a must.

North & South Korea 'detente' in Cambodia

On the online version of 'The New York Times', Thomas Fuller filed his story: 'Where Koreans go to reunify [hint: it's not the Koreas].
In a way, it's not a 'new' story since the heart of the reporting described a North Korean venture in restaurants appropriately called 'Pyongyang', with waitress who sing, dance, and play drums, the accordion, synthesiser, and the like. The food is prepared by North Korean professional cooks.
The restaurant is part of a chain which extends to Bangladesh, Dubai, Laos, and Nepal.
North Koreans are nothing but 'entrepreneurial', a quality which the US, South Korean, and western press overlook at their own peril since they are more engaged in a propaganda war against the DPRK. Of course,
'Pyongyang' is a means to earn hard currency that onerous and mean spirited sanctions deny North Korea.
What Fuller does tell us: Cambodia, more specifically Siem Reap, the home of the famous temples of Angkor Wat, is a pole of attraction for South Koreans. 'Pyongyang' allows them to rub shoulders with fellow Koreans from the North, something which, under the 'revanchist' regime of Lee Myung bak is denied them. Like the 'forbidden fruit', the North intrigues the Southerners who are not only curious about the North, but cherish the hope that one day North and South will be finally reunited. If anything, the 'fraternisation', no matter how superficial, indicates a desire for a thaw on a 'person to person' basis on the part of the South Koreans.
'Pyongyang' does not engage in heavy handed propaganda but appeals to common Korean identity ethnically and historically between the two Koreas. As such, it might not come as a surprise that a modified 'Sunshine Policy' could be restored after the 2012 presidential elections if the GNP loses which it very well might.
Westerners might blink at the thought of a North Korean restaurant, say, in Cambodia. Why Cambodia? Well, if the western media had been on their toes, they would have found out that the Kingdom of Cambodia and the DPRK have long standing good relations. A son of Norodom Sinhanouk studied there; Kim Il Sung offered refuge to the former prince and king during the American and Vietnam invasions of his kingdom, when he was much vilified by the US and afterwards by the Vietnamese in Hanoi.
In spite of sanctions and threats of war, it may come as a surprise to Americans in particular, North Korea is not unwelcome in Asia and Africa and spottily in Latin America, as well as in some countries in Europe.
Fuller's article does not dwell on these details since they do not add colour to his story of South Koreans thoroughly enjoying themselves at a North Korean owned and run 'Pyongyang' in Cambodia.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

US strategy towards Iran and North Korea

The Bush and the Obama administrations hyperventilate when it comes to Iran and North Korea, two 'axis of evil' states, so defined by Condi Rice.
Is the US sniffing 'pixie dust'? Is it like Peter Pan, the boy who never wanted to grow up?
Grandiose is a policy towards Tehran and Pongyang that is doomed to failure. The big policy guns, civil and military, believe in the myth that bluster, saber rattling, and invasion will bend the leaders of these two countries to Washington's will?
In the real world, it doesn't work like that: consider Bush 43's war in Iraq. It may have toppled Saddam Hussein but it left the country in shambles, and now what's more humiliating, the hand picked prime minister is doing everything to humiliate his American masters who put in power. And even more bruising to Washington's ego, Bush's war strengthened Iran's presence in the region, like it or not; t'was a notion that was blithely ignored by the 'tough minded' advisors who gave no thought of what is the US going to do when Saddam was chased from power. And boy, do we know: the body count, Iraqi and US and the corpses of the coalition of the willing speak powerfully from the grave.
The US is like the big bad wolf of the Grimm fairy tale: he huffs, he buffs, he blows the house down but he does get to eat his prey. They outwit him.
Somehow the occupiers of the White House think like hucksters; they can get away with Madison Avenue hype. In this life, as good capitalists that they are, you have to pay, and pay is a word that apparently doesn't exist in their vocabulary.
As such, the US is always threatening war or sanctions or boycotts to bring Iran and North Korea to their knees. And that flimflam rarely works.
The words of the late leader of Guinee Sekou Toure make no impression on the self satisfied policymakers in Washington: 'better to be a free man standing on his own two feet than a slave on his knees'. Toure utters these words when he refused Degaulle's offer to defer independence for a union of French controlled countries more than a half century ago. His refusal cost the country dearly, for the French stripped the independent country of Guinee of everything they could before leaving, including the light bulbs. But Guinee was decolonised, free, and stood up on its own two feet.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Israel: America's loose cannon ally

Israeli foreign minister Avigdor Lieberman has announced the long awaited joint military manoeuvres with the US has been postponed. Originally conceived as a massive display of naval, air, and army might to frighten Iran in giving up its nuclear programme, the Obama administration, learning that the right wing Netenyahu Likud dominated government might speed up the timetable to go it alone in attacking Tehran's deep earth nuclear facilities, has sent stern messages of warning to it trigger happy Zionist ally, to scotch any such plans.
Hence the quashing of the joint military exercises.
President Obama is not interesting in another war in west Asia, certainly not one in an election year. Israel knows this but wild poker player that it is, it is willing to play 'chicken'.
It now turns out that Israel's Mossad agents have been posing as CIA agents in Pakistan, recruiting 'Taliban like' elements to sabotage Irani nuclear plans by any means necessary. With this nugget of information, Iran's claim that Israel cum America has had a hand in the assassination of its nuclear scientists. Wily Mossad is playing on the Sunni Shia hostility to achieve its ends.
Curiously enough by pushing for a hit on Iran, the Zionist state has stirred a feeling of great discomfort among its own citizenry. A recent poll showed that a growing number of Israelis think that Israel should give up its own nuclear weapons if that will induce Iran to cease its 'rush' to developing nuclear weapons. The turn in public opinion reveals a realisation inside Israeli that a war with Iran can 'destroy' Israel as we know it for aggressive political and military symmetries which more oft than not turn out to be based on false presumptions.
In a way, Israel as an ally is America's worst nightmare. The Zionist state can and has played the world's only 'superpower' for a chump when it can get away with it. It did attack the USS Ashland, killing 34 and wounding 171; it got off with a slap on the wrist. It spies on the US, playing on American Jews religious identity: Jonathan Pollard is languishing in prison for more than 20 years.
America tends to forget Israel does not share views up and down the column of state interests with the US. An incident involving North Korea has been conveniently swept under the carpet: to buy off Pyongyong from supplying DPRK scud missiles to Iran, no other friend of the US Shimon Peres was willing to pay more than a billion dollars, as well as help the North develop its mineral industry, at a time the US was yet once more threatening the DPRK with attack. In the end, Washington slapped the Israel hand so hard Peres dropped the deal.
Iran's threat of closing the Straits of Hormuz sent Israelis back to its nostalgic hope chest of plans to 'destroy' it enemies one way or the other. And what do we find, the Zionists dusted off a plan that they tried and failed at a time Nasser's Egypt closed the access to Eilat by sea in the 1950s. Egypt's move sparked the 1956 invasion of the Suez Canal by Israel, England, and France which ended in failure and threats both from Eisenhower and Nikita Khrushchev. Israel's mad design brought the Soviet Union into the Middle East, and gave the push to bury the British and French colonial influence in the regional. Israel got away with the occupation of the Sinai peninsula, though.
What did not work in 1956, will not do in 2012. Nevertheless, the Obama administration has to tread lightly since as GuamDiary has posited, Israel is a domestic issue in US elections.
By refusing to handle more roughly and rudely Israel, the US is perceived in some quarters as helpless in stopping Israel. Its inability to stop illegal seizure of Palestinian land and implantation of Jewish settlements in the West Bank is an excellent case in point.
Among America's many worries, the US should show little tolerance for an ally that has run amok and may in the end bring the pillars of the temple down on its own head, and perhaps justifiably so.

Associated Press opens fully accredited bureau in Pyongyang

The American News Agency, The Associated Press, has opened a full bureau in Pyongyang. A welcome development. Yet, AP’s British based video news arm has operated in North Korea since 2006, a detail long kept under wraps in the US media. Forgotten or simply lost between the cracks is the equally ignored presence of a British embassy in the North Korean capital.

A fully accredited American agency in the DPRK, a country where the US is not the flavour of day, does raise eyebrows, a month after the death of Kim Jong il.

Much will not doubt be made of this: it signals a new initiative of a new leader possibly. Surely, Kim Jong eun has given it his caution. Still, North Korea does not make decisions rashly. The US and South Korean press will see this move as conformation of Washington’s and Seoul’s hardnosed policy. But, that is a self serving assessment, the establishment of a US, if not a western, news agency in Pyongyang has been in the works for a while, subject to much negotiation, as well as benign neglect on the part of the Obama administration. Kim Jong il’s stamp is on the deal even if no one is willing to admit it.

As GuamDiary has long insisted, the late ‘Dear Leader’ had never lost an opportunity to talk to the US on an even playing field without preconditions. And 2012 is year 100 of Kim Il Sung’s birth: an excellent moment of reporting for the North.

Not to be downplayed is AP’s presence will provide Pyongyang with an opening to the wider world so that its story can be told from the horse’s mouth without the usual spin the US and South Korea put on it for their own ideological and political purposes.

In a way, North Korea has assailed the Cold War propaganda machine that has functioned with a never ending of treacle. Of course, AP will not quiet that war, but now the field is clearer and the advantage is no longer the preserve of Washington and Seoul, even though ironically the AP bureau in Seoul will compete with its sister bureau in Pyongyang

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Bain is Romney's bane

Willard Mitt Romney cannot escape his past, try as he might. His time at Bain Capital is his bane, a spoiler in his race for the Republican Party's candidate for president in 2012.
The former governor from Massachusetts is tone deaf in campaigning. He is ham fisted in dealing with people and thought in what he says. 'I like to fire people' is not a slogan in a campaign when the US is suffering from a high rate of unemployment. His offer of a 'us$10.000 bet' with fellow rival Rich Perry who has a long track record of selling Texas' public offices to private high rollers, signmatises Romney as an elitist and a unthinking member of the 'one percent' that 'Occupy Wall Street' has skillfully branded the very rich who buy politicians, the media, and pull the strings behind the scene, for their own greedy interests.
And yet, Romney goes merrily along, creating a scenario that is easily disproved by the facts. Obama infused American automakers with capital so that they wouldn't go bankrupt nor fail. Romney's dad ran American Motors Corporation and was a three term governor of Michigan, the home of the auto industry. And yet, his son preached the gospel of letting the American automakers fail. And he says, he's a businessman. No, he's a vulture capitalist who lives off the carrion of companies Bain bought, loaded with debt, sucked out high fees, and left to rot or perchance they survived, fend for themselves. So much for his acumen; he never ran a company; he advised and like Newt Gingrich left with his pocket filled for advice worth not very much.
Romney's record this there for all to see. It makes his deep pockets supporters queasy because finance capitalists like vampires do their worst in the dark and behind the scenes. The light of transparency, like Count Dracula fear of garlic or a crucifix, exposed them to public scrutiny, and like Dorothy's dog Toto pulling the green velvet curtain hiding the Wizard of Oz, it reveals that the game is up and the Wizard is a fraud using blue smoke and mirrors.
So, Mitt has to wear the bane of his tenure at Bain Capital like a Hester Prynne wore her Scarlet letter. He has little else to fall back on since he has lied or repudiated any position he espoused as governor or a moderate in his mad desire to become president.

North Korea tests rockets

North Korean watchers in Washington and Seoul exhibit uninterested concern in the DPRK's testing of short range missiles. They dismiss it without much fanfare when before they would be ringing the tocsin that Pyongyang might very well be preparing a rain of terror something not short of Nazi V-2 rockets falling on London.
Why this display of unconcern when hardly 10 days ago Washington and Seoul were banging pots and pans of warning that the rise of Kim Jong eun was a prescription for regional instability and possibly war?
These nervous nellies have come to the conclusion that, one, the transition to power has gone on without a hitch; two, there is hardly cause for crying wolf since the only ones who through the sky was falling were the US and its ally and client South Korea; and three, short range rockets do not make for a war now.
Of course, context is missing, for, unlike US media, we, the audience, do not hear the other side of the argument. It may come as a surprise that North Korea is a leader in advanced rocketry. In the past, even America's 'trusted' ally the Egyptian military upon whom us$3 billion in taxpayer contribution is lavished on it, has bought advanced DPRK rockets. How could this happen without the knowledge, if not the tacit consent of Washington?
Nonetheless, we do hear that Pyongyang has sold rockets to another 'axis of evil' state Iran. GuamDiary has no need to flesh out the fodder that this accusation feeds the propaganda mills.
An interesting question comes up: if North Korea is consolidating gains inside the country a month after the death of Kim Jong il, why aren't Washington and Seoul coming up with a policy which nurtures a new direction in North Korean affairs?
On another front in the propaganda war, North Korean refugees in South Korea are floating rumours that the North is ferreting out and punishing North Koreans who showed insincerity in their display of sorrow for the passing of Kim Jong il. Looking at the footage shown worldwide on television, how can you discern in a sea of tearful mourners the real mourners from the false?

'Self inflicted wounds'--US military

Editorials lament the black mark the video of four Marines urinating on the bodies of Taliban in Afghanistan that 'stained yellow' the honour of the US military.
Now a general will now conduct an inquiry of this sordid affair. War is hell, we all know, but an army with low moral, questionable superiority in fighting skills, and a military which allows, if not encourages, dehumanisation of the enemy so that he is no longer human but a feral animal ripe for killing, spell disaster and criminal activity.
US troops in war in Afghanistan or Iraq vent their spleen not only on the enemy but even on fellow Americans. The death of private Danny Chen is instructive. A Chinese American who enlisted right out of high school, he was sent to Afghanistan. There, he suffered the slings of blatant racism and humiliating behaviour which drove him to take his own life.
Seven soldiers and one junior officer are under investigation for manslaughter and willfully engaging in conduct worthy of barbarians.
My Lai, Abu Gharib, Guantanamo...names and places which dredge up heinous conduct of US misconduct and, yes, crimes, in wars undeclared.
Punishment in the case of the Marines and Chen's tormentors will be quick, but the problem is one which hang like an albatross around the US high command.
The US has an all volunteer army. Saying this, it should have in place a rigorous programme of training and instruction in the dos and don'ts of war. Superficially, it probably does; fundamentally, it does little to foster a fighting force with high morale and excellent fighting skills. The Marines are a proud lot and boast of such virtues, but the four Marines who 'pissed' on dead Afghans are symptomatic that the 'esprit de corps' or 'semper fidelis' has broken down.
Two cases are indicative of behaviour exhibited by mercenaries.

Friday, January 13, 2012

'Why do we fight?'

'Why do we fight' is the title of a series of propaganda films from the US war department during world war two. The famous Hollywood director Frank Capra was 'enlisted' to direct this effort which was aimed solely at the men and women in the US military to fight the country's enemies in Europe and the Asia Pacific. The Roosevelt administration realised that broadly speaking the American public had little or no idea why they were waging war, the attack on Pearl Harbour notwithstanding.
Capra's series had many faults: the segment on Japan played heavily on racial stereotypes and prejudices.
Why does GuamDiary bring up Capra's 'why do we fight?' Look at today's headlines in the US and foreign press: a photo of four marine urinating on the bodies of dead Taliban fighters.
The horror and the endless discussions which either, one way or another, excuse the soldiers although everyone agrees they should be punished, or simply sidestepping an endemic problem that has plagued the US military and any administration occupying the White House.
During Vietnam, we had 'My Lai', in Iraq, Abu Gharib and Guantanamo, and in Afghanistan, well ...
The US military in no way has an adequate programme to 'educate', some say 'indoctrinate' its troops in 'why do we fight?', other than a raw gut appeal to the meanest instincts of stereotypes, skimming the edges of racialism, which has but one goal--total dehumanisation of the enemy. Since the 'enemy' is no longer human, well, anything goes, and boy does it. And when the YouTube exposes the results of US pride the Marines engage in acts stripped of any human qualities, well, the whole bandwagon of excuses and inadequate explanations pump up the hype that deserves no further explanation.
Yep, the four Marines will be disciplined, but not the officer corps going all the way to the top for condoning, perhaps encouraging, this 'way we fight'. And in the end, the question 'why do we fight?' is no clear than Capra's attempt 70 years ago to give cogent reasons why.

Bradley Manning: on the way to jail

GuamDiary cannot think of anyone who thought the military tribunal that heard evidence against Bradley Manning wouldn't recommend a general court martial. And that's exactly what the military commission did recommend. The verdict is a foregone conclusion: long years, or maybe life, in prison under the strictest of conditions. If anyone thinks that military justice mirrors civilian justice, well, we recommend the reading of Robert Sherrill's 'Military justice is to justice as military music is to music', if he can still find a loanable copy in a public library or take his chances on ordering it on the web for a reasonable price. ['MJJMMM's origin is found in the Vietnam War, but Sherrill's argument obtain even today.]
Bradley Manning is 'alleged' to have supplied a quarter million diplomatic cables to 'Wikileaks' Julian Assange. The full publication of these documents, many declassified and others of a low order of classification, greatly embarrassed the US government. Yet, in spite of getting egg on its face and bruising an inflated ego, little harm was done. In fact, the public got a good whiff of commonsense of behind the scenes assessment by US diplomats of the countries to which they were accredited, even when, for reasons of state, the US looked the other way on violations of human rights, corruption, and the like, so long as these less than 'kosher' governments marched to the tune of US foreign and military policy.
Since the Obama administration cannot get its hands on Assange who is fighting extradition to Sweden from England, Bradley Manning is a convenient surrogate. And the White House intends to take full advantage in prosecuting him and then locking him up and throwing the key away.
To many, the 24 year old intelligence analyst is a 'hero', and in his name a lot of small donations have flowed in to defray his court costs. He doesn't stand a tinker's chance: consider that the military tribunal who recommended a general court martial denied Manning's defence team to call 48 witnesses, allowing only two. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to see that the cards are stacked against Manning.
There is a slightly bright note in this affair: Obama had signed the NDAA before Manning's arrest. Otherwise, he wouldn't even get a court martial, only sequestration for an undetermined period without recourse to the rights of an American citizen. The NDAA is yet another step in America's quick march to an American form of 'gleichschaltung' which the Nazis used to silence dissent and trample on the rights accorded under the Constitution. Money and military power, not honour or honestry, rule the American Republic, it seems.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Kim Jong eun wants to talk

Whilst the main street media in the US and ROK and elsewhere harp on the threat a 'nuclear' North Korea poses for the world as Kim Jong eun assumes leadership, it blithely downplays his willingness to pick up his father's moves to talk to the US.
North Korea's desire to talk should quiet the nervous nellies in the US and ROK, but it doesn't, the more especially as GuamDiary has long documented these two allies with a single minded purpose to topple the rulers of North Korea press unreasonable demands.
The Obama administration and the revanchist South Korean regime, headed by the lame duck Lee Myung bak have tied food aid to political demands. Translation, they are pressing an 'advantage' to stare North Korea into submission through sanctions and bad faith in negotiations limited as they are. Not only that, the US pledged us$900 million in food aid which it dropped on hearing the news of Kim Jong il's death. Instead of honouring it, the US announced that new talks are needed with the new North Korean leaders? Why? In order to take advantage of a situation where Washington thought it could bully the new kid on the block as US North Korean clerics call Kim Jong eun. If such is the thinking of those who advise Obama & co., they misread the will of the North Korean leaders and people. And they always have. Instead of living up to its promises of food aid, as a gesture to a change in leadership in Pyongyang, and thus signal a willingness towards a new tack, the Obama administration reverted to its old tricks of going back on its word.
As GuamDiary has never stopped saying, Kim Il Sung, Kim Jong il, and now Kim Jong eun wants to negotiate with the US, but the US has mulishly resisted reversing engines and sailing in fresher channels.
Still, North Korea has not stopped trying to talk to the US. And by resisting, the US has not moved from A to A prime in dealing with the DPRK.
And the loser is not so much North Korea but the US and its 'client' South Korea.

Class in America

Maybe in universities Richard Sennett and Jonathan Cobb's 1973 'Hidden injuries of class' is still be read and discussed, but until 'Occupy Wall Street' came along the issue of class in America was conveniently swept under the carpet.
Fed on the pap that America is the land of opportunity and by the dint of hard labour, you could spring up the social ladder is no more than dregs in a bottle of wine that has turned sour.
Today, if anything that myth rings hollow. You know it; I know it; everyone knows it.
Recent studies, governmental or private, document the growing economic and social inequality existing in today's America, still the richest country in the world. Social mobility is stagnant as the 'middle classes' lose traction and find that the worst fears are realised: they're being forced down into the rungs of the hardworking poor and the impoverished. A fertile ground for the growing anger and cheap change for the right wing demagogues to pick up.
Today's young---the country's future--will live less well than their parents unless they come from wealth or marry into it [highly unlikely].
It is astounding to note that Americans know little of the world outside and care less, so brainwashed are they.
Corporate America rules supreme, it seems. Take media. It's all glamour and glitz and the life style of the rich and famous. PBS' second installment of 'Downtown Abby' has stimulated the appetite for books by maids and footmen and butlers who worked for the titled, parasitic British titled class. And the sales soar. Kaching, kaching, kaching sings the cash register!
Public radio and television shine the shoes of the capitalists with programmes on finance, the market, stocks and bonds, and the like. But, pray tell, where are the shows devoted to labour or to the working classes? Unimportant! Why devote time and money to a class of wage slaves who have to sell their sweat for the ruling classes? Tis better to shock and awe them with celebrity and life styles as though they were visions of sugar plums and fairies that they will never hope to live, unless by a fluke of nature. Let them eat 'pie in the sky', by and by, as the Woody Guthrie song goes.
Yet the immiserisation of America's working classes are there to see in every town and hamlet, in every city large or small. You taste it in the bitterness of your morning coffee.
And if the Republican battlefield for the party's nominee in 2012 presidential election is an indicator: jobs are 'hors de sujet', but not social issues or belief in a god or hollow boasts of returning the US to the mighty past. The candidates are rich men and even the lone woman who dropped out of the race is hardly one of the 'hoi polloi'. The watch word is not the nation's honour or its promise, but money, money, money. The programme is reactionary up and down the line, and yet the Republican party has attracted into its fold, the angry white men and women who are more ordinary working stiffs and remember an America which was predominantly white and had digested and assimilated millions of eastern and southern Europeans, once considered 'children of the dust'. And these very people want jobs for their children whom the plutocrats who hold the purse strings of the party do not give a tinker's damn for. The mixture is explosive in the medium run and it is little wonder that the party has embraced an Dixiecrat mentality.
GuamDiary uses the Grand Old Party or the moss backed Republicans as a bellwether, for it is the more revealing of a country that has turned its back on the commonweal and bribed by the finance capitalists who brought us the 2008 global recession, defend resolutely a class that would abandon them in a thunder storm.
Thanks to 'Occupy Wall Street' class has risen from the muck and mire of a concerted campaign to push the old pieties which today sound as hollow as a drum. OWS shifted the political course back to the working class. And rightly so. Class is a 'hidden injury' to the workers but not the rich. It is time for the working class to boldly organise and proclaim their due for it is they who create the wealth.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Occupy Wall Street returns to Zuccotti Park

New York's mayor Michael Bloomberg may deny it: he and his praetorian guard the New York City Police have suffered a stinging setback.
In November in the first hours of the morning the police used stormtrooper tactics to evict OWS from Liberty Plaza or Zuccotti Park. The cleansing of the park clearly violated the law and raised constitutional issues such as freedom of assembly and speech.
With much satisfaction the billionaire mayor and his plutocratic friends on Wall Street smile and winked, for had they not crushed OWS? Wrong.
OWS did not take the ousting sitting down, even though cities throughout the land employed police in riot gear to shut down peace protest.
Now, Bloomberg and the police will have to think twice: the courts have ruled in favour of OWS to 'occupy' Zuccotti Park; thus, once again the very presence of protesters in Wall Street, an open indictment of the rule of finance capitalism which brought the world to the brink of economic ruin; the presence of OWS on Wall Street's very threshold will cause ill ease in the stock exchange and the boardroom of the big bracket banks and venture capital firms, because the call for economic justice and jobs will redound when they thought that the police had done their work for them. Wrong again, old darlings!
Now that the spot light is on Romney as a finance capitalist, the laser beam of searing disclosure will singe hot firms like Bain and McKinsey and the like. And although Romney & co. talk of the economy, they hardly mention jobs, and the record shows venture capitalists and the Wall Street financiers thrive on throwing people out of work.
So welcome back OWS to Wall Street!

Mitt Romney: vampire capitalist

Goldman Sachs can never escape Matt Taibbi's labeling them 'a great vampire squid wrapped around the face of humanity'.
Will Bain Capital share the same opprobrium? Mitt Romney spent a goodly amount of time at Bain, a venture capital company, using little of its own money to buy and sell and like vultures pick apart until the bones are exposed to the winds the companies they bought and cannabilised.
Romney, like it or not, will probably be the Republican Party's standard bearer in the upcoming 2012 elections. He talks a good talk about how he, honed in business, can save the US economy from itself.
Now his rivals for the nod of the GOP spot for presidency have brought up Romney's business experience and his lackluster track record as a 'jobs creator'. Four words suffice to brand him as a vulture capitalist: 'American Pad and Paper', a company Romney trashed but walked away with millions for Bain whilst leaving hundreds out of work. Not only that, the man hungering for the White House is no businessman in the true sense of the word. He's never run a company, built anything, only found money to buy, ravage, and sell the wreck he and Bain made of it. More, he is now taking credit for companies like Staples who are thriving even though he left Bain long ago when the retailer was floundering.
So, Romney is one and the same time a vampire squid and a vulture capitalist.
More damaging are the attack ads against Romney and the exposure to the public of the inner workings of venture capitalists like Bain Capital. Already there is much unease among its partners and in its boardroom. Like vampires, Bain cannot thrive in the light of day.
God bless the 'New York Times' long investigative piece on Romney's payoff from Bain which until today and seemingly to the day he dies, his personal wealth increases by millions a year from proceeds of Bain's funds. And the 'Wall Street Journal' has also stepped into the fray by its coverage of the workings of Bain.
The superfund tied to Romney's campaign trashed Newt Gingrich in the Iowa causes, killing his chances to come out top dog instead of number 4 in the polls. Gingrich has denounced Romney's dirty money but that hasn't stopped him from using funds in attack ads in South Carolina to strip Romney of his pure white toga of ethical business practices. In fact, both in its short and long version, Gingrich's ad is a denunciation of Bain and its ilk and the corruption finance capital have brought on the US financial and global stage.
Like Banquo's ghost, Romney cannot escape his cannibal business past!

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

'Amnesty' in North Korea

Kim Jong eun is hitting the ground as he begins exercising leadership. 2012 offers him a golden opportunity: it is year 100 birthday of the DPRK's founder Kim Il Sung and year 70 of what would have been Kim Jong il's . And so, to mark the occasions a general prisoner amnesty will take place, although the North Korean news agency did not spell out details.
Had Kim Jong il not died, it is probable that a general amnesty would be in the cards to mark the centenary of his father.
Saying this, the announcement marks a promising new direction in the DPRK. The foreign press will seize on this news with a good dollop of cynicism and comic relief befitting 'doubting Thomases'. Already the Pyongyang watchers have already picked up hints of slight movement of the economy towards embracing a market orientation but at a pace and a degree of comfort that the North Koreans themselves desire. [This trend is hardly new: Rudiger Frank, early on in the 1990s, pointed to the existence of savvy economists who were slowly encouraging the North Korean economy towards reform, and that at a time when everyone in the US, South Korea, and Europe were waiting for the crumbling of the DPRK. Didn't happen though to their general disappointment.]
North Korean watchers have been quick to stress that Kim Jong eun's physical appearance has been altered to resemble his grandfather, a man much revered 16 years after his death. Be that as it may, the 'young general' has a winning smile and appears to fit easily into his new role as a hand fits into a glove.
And at the beginning of his 'reign', he has the advantage of bringing new wine to old bottles. However, he also has to defend his country against the hostile intentions of the US and South Korea who want nothing better than regime change in the North. He is a general of an a million man army or more who is on the 'qui vive' since it is in a state of war in Korea which has never been formerly ended by a peace treaty but only frozen in time by a 1953 armistice. He is the leader of a country hit by the vagaries of global warming: floods, heavy rains, bad weather that have ruined North Korea's agriculture, and at the same time, that has seen the malicious tying of denial of food aid by the US, the EU, Australia, and South Korea to unacceptable political demands, a coordinated policy whose ultimate aim is to starve North Korea into submission.
Yet, like his father, Kim Jong eun will nonetheless seek talks with the US with no preconditions which for ideological reasons is an anathema to the White House.
Still, the announcement of a general prisoner amnesty is a welcome sign. It should alert Washington and Seoul and Tokyo and Canberra and other western nations that business is not going to be conducted in old ways. And these capitols no longer have an excuse in taking refuge in wooden language that they had not seen change coming, reinforcing the stereotype that North Korea is unpredictable, they only have themselves to blame for their own blindness and deafness to change.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Kim Jung eun's birthday

9 January 2012 North Korea celebrated its new leader Kim Jung eun's 28 or 29 or 30 birthday hardly a week after the entombment of his father Kim Jung il.
The celebration was more a manifestation of the seamless transition of power than an explosive demonstration of the popular will.
Kim's birthday gave his critics in the west another opportunity to 'belittle' North Korea, the extravagant stories of the 'Young General's' mental and physical prowess notwithstanding, which leave him open to ridicule.
Surprisingly BR Myers, author of the 'Cleanest Race: how North Koreans themselves--and why it matters', in an opinion piece in Sunday's 'New York Times' took the 'West' to taks for 'continu[ing] paying ... little attention to North Korean ideology' like he does. In fact, Myers spent eight years reading anything he could lay his hands on coming out in the DPRK. After close and diligent examination of text, he differs radically from the 'comic relief' the birthday offers his colleagues in the press and in scholarly circles.
For the director of the international studies department at Busan's Dongsoo University, the germ of North Korea's dynastic succession lies not in Korean history but a slavish knockoff of aggressive Imperial Japanese pre world war two militarism and colonialism exemplified in the figure of Hirohito.
Such an interpretation is patently absurd in the light of the DPRK's 80 year struggle against Japanese militarism and mating of US UN led and South Korean forces during the 1950 Korean War. North Korea is a hyper nationalist state which prefers its own way and independence before submitting to foreign domination.
In the 'subdued' blaze of pageantry of Kim Jung eun's birthday, we see not only cultural misunderstanding but a misreading of Korean history. The birthday fanfare is understandable in the North Korean context, so that leadership would not be made or unmade by disputing cliques in the party backed up by factions in the army. Instead, in the Asiatic mode, the leader was set apart, made 'holy' in the eyes of his people by awe inspiring rituals, thereby reducing the temptation of factions within the party and the army to treat the 'Dear Leader' with facile contempt. Little wonder, the 'loss at sea' and the simplistic and crude mockery. How else could they explain the awe in the faces of the North Koreans or the Max Reinhardt like theatricality of the event?
Furthermore, since his choice of his third son to succeed him, Kim Jong il did impose his will on the party and the army and the core cadre to support Kim Jung eun. Consequently, the easy succession on Kim's death that so stunned the US and the ROK.
Washington and Seoul are fingering worry beads that Kim Jung eun will engage in military adventurism to firmly secure his leadership. Is that the right question to ask? Maybe. Yet the record shows that North Korea responds defensively to threats from joint US ROK military exercises on the edge of its territorial waters.
2012 is year 20 of ROK China recognition. Lee Myung bak is in Beijing on an official business, the Chinese wont lift a finger to box in North Korea, its neighbour and ally, unless Lee is willing to compromise: which is unlikely. Timothy Geithner will shortly land in the Chinese capital for the same reason; he will get absolutely nowhere, the more especially in the light of the new Obama military doctrine which draws a bead on China itself.
Again, the making fun of Kim Jung eun's birthday is yet another example of the US North Korean clerisy shortsightedness--they take the tree for the forest. As such, they have to go back to school to relearn history.

South Korea's less than a free press

A logical outcome of South Korea's Lee Myung bak militarily and economically hardline policy towards North Korea is the fear of invasion of spies and body snatchers as well as unKorean elements in the media who wittingly aid and abet the North.
Like the Red Scare in the US, the public libraries and bookshops have become targets for vetting of books deemed 'subversive' or 'unKorean'. Now, the Lee regime is threatening with prison journalists and political cartoonists. In other words, it is engaging in a war against freedom of expression and dissenting standpoints.
A case in point is the government's intent in indicting, as the 'New York Times' put it, 'a man who parodied a North Korean propaganda poster' for aiding the enemy. What holds the regime's purpose up to ridicule is that, instead of brandishing a weapon, the artist substituted his own face and in his own hands, he's ostentatiously displaying a bottle of high end Scotch whisky.
The death of Kim Jong il has unhinged and upended Lee's revanchist 'Drang nach Norden' policy, which he has closely coordinated with the Obama administration, to 'rollback' the DPRK to the point of collapse. It hasn't happened and wont anytime soon, it seems.
So, the Lee regime has beefed up its campaign of finding a 'Red Korean' under any bed. Yet, something else is happening in South Korea: a growing and important segment of the public is aching for relaxation of tensions with North Korea, and this is event in the books and articles and in the playful banter found on television shows by younger performers who openly make fun of Lee's attack on freedom of expression. Not only that, as the 2012 presidential election looms larger on the horizon, there are signs that Lee's GNP will not capture the Blue House, and in the case they do, the new government, through popular pressure, will have to fall back on a revived, but modified, Sunshine Policy which Lee killed upon assuming the presidency in 2008.
Meanwhile, in 'democratic' South Korea, the press and freedom of expression are under attack.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Obama's military doctrine

Obama's military doctrine, focussing on the Asia Pacific theatre, is bound to cause unease in the Chinese, Russians, North Koreans, Iranians, Syrians, and Pakistani and off shots of Islamic terrorist groups. It, however, will be welcomed in southeast Asia, the Indian subcontinent, and various client Arab states.
Despite the soothing noise emanating from the White House, the target all sublime for the moment is less Iran than China. It isn't for nothing that a high ranking Chinese naval officer, in an official publication, denounced the 44 American president's 'military adventurism'.
And in a way, at first blush, it is a reworking of the 'Open Door Policy', this time stretching from west to east Asia and the islands in the Pacific.
No excuses can mask the Obama doctrine's intent towards a rival nation like China that just got in America's way, huge infusions of venture capital and outsourcing factories and jobs that would accelerate China's short march to capitalism notwithstanding.
Of course the US scholars, policy makers, and chattering classes overlooked one thing: Chinese nationalism and the not so guarded humiliation of the years this middle country suffered under the heavy hand of foreign powers, including America's.
With the rise of a powerful Chinese economy pulling the world's economic train, it is unsurprising that Beijing began flexing its muscles and reasserting Imperial Chinese claims to neighbouring states as well as poaching in carved out areas the US thought as its own natural reserve.
This 'new' doctrine has the potential for making much mischief, it goes without saying. And from the get go, it has set China's teeth on edge. The Obama administration requires China's help and assistance financially, and geopolitically when it comes to 'dealing' with North Korea. Little wonder, then, Beijing will play hard ball and remain inscrutably coy.
We should all be prepared for a bumpy ride.

Friday, January 6, 2012

US North Korea policy: don't send a boy to do a man's job

In less than a fortnight, president Obama, South Korea's president Lee Myung bak, and Japan's prime minister Noda Yoshihiko will put heads together to figure out how to deal with Kim Jung eun.
Already, Lee is off to Beijing, hat in hand, to ask China's leaders to pressure North Korea for engaging in 'adventurism' in northeast Asia.
The US has sent an assistant secretary of state Kurt Campbell to Beijing with the very same mission: twist your ally in Pyongyang's arm to avoid destablising the region during the transition to power in North Korea.
Well, they could have same themselves much shoe leather for the very idea of instability in northeast Asia exists in the coordinated 'patient restraint' policy Washington and Seoul have been conducting for the last three years.
From GuamDiary perspective, Lee's visit and Campbell's mission, to put it bluntly, and in plain idiomatic English, is 'sending a boy to do a man's job'.
Obama or his secretary of state Hillary Clinton has to step up to the plate and face and deal with the new North Korean leader and his team on equal footing. America's use of surrogates, read China, simply won't wash, for it is shortsighted and founded on false arguments.
The Bush administration did everything it could not to talk to North Korea, finding a face saving solution in the six party talks in Beijing which were from day one set to fail; they did, and although Washington is willing to go back to the green negotiating cloth, it has thrown up a wall of conditions that have sent the talks to limbo for the last two years. GuamDiary suggests its readers to look at Mike Chinoy's 'Meltdown', for a good account of US sleight of hand diplomacy.
Seoul's and Washington's assumption that China has a 'controlling' hand in North Korea does not pan in reality. It is true that, as North Korea's neighbour and ally, China supports the DPRK, but its influence is at best not as great as the US and the ROK think. Another reason Beijing may not be willing to 'help' Obama lies in his move to challenge diplomatically and militarily China's dominance in the north and southeast Asia.
So whilst Washington and Beijing may bow and smile at each other, China has little incentive to play 'suitor' to Pyongyang for the US. Let's not forget, China holds a huge swarth of US debt and almost in many instances dominates sales of its products in America, with the eager assistance of finance capitalists and US corporations always on the prowl for quick and growing returns on a US dollar invested.
Beijing may go through the motions, but it certainly will not nor cannot pull America's North Korean chestnuts out of the fire for it. Washington, in sum, has to talk directly to Pyongyang, and there is no other way out for them.
Dealing face to face discussions with North Korea is no insoluble riddle, let alone a mystery. They are the key to ending the seemingly never ending 61 year old Korean War by concluding a peace treaty, which would involve China but not South Korea that refused to sign the 1953 Armistice Agreement; a peace treaty would immediately reduce tensions in the divided Korean peninsula, allowing for steps leading towards denuclearisation.
However, that is not the way the US sees it: if you listen to the podcast of the US North Korean clerisy at the New York Korea Society, you wonder in what universe they are living. The media in the US and South Korea talk about the transition of power and the rise of Kim Jung eun as supreme leader as though it were unsettled, and what's more, they wonder with childlike naivety who planned it. Dah! Kim Jong il is the immediate and obvious answer.
It may churlish to say, Obama and Lee are the victims of their own wishes. The two allies rewrite minute by minute North Korea's history to hide the blemishes of their ignorance thereby compounding self confessions of their own country's intelligence failures.
More likely than not, as the Obama military doctrine shifts to northeast Asia, it will exacerbate tensions since the logic of the newly advocate policy require beefing up military forces on the ground [28.000 US military are already stationed in South Korea and the US is indirectly funding a naval base in Jeju islands for giant and perhaps nuclear warships, which China and even Japan consider a threat to territorial waters of theirs and the mineral rights under the sea].
So, in a way, the US and South Korea put forth circular arguments that have hardly varied yea these last seven decades. It would take bold leadership to cut this Gordian knot, and there is not. Consequently the US will continue to send boys to do the job only a MAN can do!

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Why didn't David Gregory correct Rick Santorum?

The rising star among the Republican slate of dim lights vying for the GOP's nomination for the presidency, Rick Santorum waxed threatening on the 'influential' during an interview with 'Meet the Press' moderator David Gregory.
Bold as brass he promised, that if elected president, he would 'bomb' Tehran if Iran refused to allow UN inspection of its nuclear sites. You would think the former senator would have his facts straight. He doesn't. UN monitors do inspect Iran's nuclear sites!
More troubling, though: media star Gregory didn't challenge Santorum on misstating the truth. This omission speaks volumes over the fecklessness of the US media; they are there to be handmaidens of the power elite, not the derring dos who speak truth to power.

Oil Embargo on Iran: a version of old fashioned gunboat diplomacy

As the European Union follows into lockstep with the US on inching towards an embargo on Iran oil, we are witnessing a dusted off version of old fashioned gunboat diplomacy.
An EU embargo is a serious step to take: the consequences of such a move could and would threaten fragile economies of its members, already in deep debt. An embargo would shoot up the price of a barrel or oil, some say to a benchmark price of us$150 or more, thereby not only exacerbating social tensions but encouraging strikes and possibly serious attacks on property and the government itself in member countries.
So, it is not a move to be taken lightly. Moreover, an embargo increases the chances of missteps which could lead to military action in the Straits of Hormuz, threatening friend and foe alike. Even the reactionary monarchy in Saudi Arabia shies away from such a manoeuvre.
We are witnessing the blind pursuit of a policy that could bring down the economic house of cards of the US and the EU as it would challenge China's surging economy.
It is obvious the tack in the winds of political taken by the US and the EU is the triumph of ideological stupidity over commonsense.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

'New York Times' suggested North Korea reading list

Two days after the death of Kim Jong il [17 December 2011], John Williams' 'Toward a North Korea Reading List' appeared in the 19 December edition of the 'New York Times'.
'Looking for insight into North Korea', he offered the same old same old list of books which hardly break new ground; the list conforms to the official line of how horrible the DPRK is.
Well, that's hardly new: it is a refrain that the US has sung for the last 60 years.
North Korea is not an earthly paradise, yet the list offers no historical understanding of its history or the intense nationalism North Korea espouses.
Most titles Williams selected tell of the hidden daily life of North Koreans, much documented by refugees who have suffered economic hardship and some years spent in gulags. The accounts are moving, yet they are devoid of historical context.
Bruce Cumings, a Korean scholar, is an exception. But since his award winning writings are critical of North Korea and, say, Kim Jong il, he fleshes out Korean history--north and south--which depart from the pieties of the US North Korean clerisy. Although Williams doffs his hat at Cumings' 'Korea's place in the sun' [1997], he significantly omits his 'North Korea: another country' [2004], as well as Random House's Modern Library's edition 'Korean War' [2010].
In fact, missing from Williams' bird's eye view on 'insights into North Korea' is any mention of the Korean War which has never ended but is frozen in time by a 1953 armistice awaiting a peace treaty. In other words, the US and North Korea remain at war. This omission may help explain why North Korea remains a country armed to the teeth, and will remain so until the US enters into negotiations without preconditions for a peace treaty and an end to stated US policy, coordinated with Seoul' of 'rolling back' the North to the point of collapse.
On the contrary, the scholarly and popular critical works of Cumings is an occasion by the usual suspects like BR Myers who read every imaginable North Korea publication for eight year and came up with the naive conclusion Kim Il Sung was a second rate copy of the militarist Japanese emperor Hirohito whom the US transformed into a mild manner constitutional monarch. And the more gentle Nicolas Kristof who reviewed Cumings' 1997 book who nonetheless, whilst disagreeing with the Korean scholar's conclusions found his arguments 'engaging'.
Cumings is the whipping post of the US North Korean clerisy simply because he begs to walk a different path in studying North Korea, and has drawn his own conclusions through visits and yes interviews with 'defectors', the source of most of the books on Williams' list. Since Cumings adheres to an 'independent' standpoint, he is game in an never ending open season. Rarely do you see him on the mainstream media! Best ignored seems common wisdom.
For the detective reading public there are the four books in the Inspector O series, written by James Church [an nom de plume of an intelligence agent who regularly visits North Korea]. Some rare gems of insight, for sure, but one must never lose sight of the glaring fact that the US and the ROK intelligence services have miserably failed in cracking the 'mystery' of North Korea.
Finally, an ironic mention of two books by Kim Jong il on the art of cinema and the art of opera, the cheapest copy on Amazon is us$128.45 plus handling charges! Williams' dig simply conforms to the laughter that the West shows on the notion that Kim Jong il has any brains.
Well, the old darling, left out the chapter in Madeleine Albright's meeting with the 'Dear Leader', and why not, since her appreciation might set off alarm bells in minds which threaten simple minded stereotypes.

Lee Myung bak goes to Beijing

South Korea's hang dog president Lee Myung bak is packing his bags for a trip to Beijing. Weeks ago, he announced it at the time of Kim Jong il's death. There is no mystery as to Lee's motives: he like his partner in squeezing North Korea to the point of surrender to their aims or to the edge of collapse US president Barack Obama, is to persuade China to pressure Kim Jung eun indirectly to heed the joint US ROK demands.
In fact, after North Korea's rebuff of Lee, he sort of made nice although the thrust of his reply could hardly be interpreted as 'friendly'. Somehow, the 'revanchist' South Korean lame duck president is under the impression his promises of lessening tensions with the North came wash away four years of a pointed policy of trying to overthrow it through denial of food aid, fertilisers, sanctions, so on.
As Lee prepares his trip to China, Beijing has thrown it full support behind Kim Jung eun, and has invited him for a state visit, one hears. What, then, GuamDiary wonders will Lee have to offer the Chinese?
Already in South Korea the winds of 'glasnost' have stirred a growing sector of South Koreans calling for a return of sorts to the 'Sunshine Policy' that Lee scuppered the moment he took office in 2008 in favour of confrontation with the DPRK. The record of his tack has proven disastrously dangerous, and almost sparked a renewal of the frozen Korean War in November 2010.
So the question remains: what does Lee want? Does he wish Beijing to act as an intermediary in negotiations with the North to talks with Seoul? Is his visit a smokescreen for a meeting with Kim Jung eun's representatives, even though the DPRK has publicly declared that it has no intention of dealing with him. In brief, what gift of concessions, if any, is the ROK president offering? And then there the possibility, he is playing for time so that he can defer on past pledges of food aid to the North and easing tensions?
One way or the other, China has to look with a jaundice eye at Lee's intentions. By building a naval base on Jeju island to accommodate US war [atomic?] ships is an open threat to China's territorial waters in the Yellow Sea, as well as Beijing's claims to undersea oil & gas and mineral deposits. Of course, Lee's trip may be a self promotion tour: you see, I tried, but no one is willing to give me a chance type of excuse when he returns empty handed to South Korea.
Still, Lee has to quiet his own citizens lack of support for returning his party to power in the 2012 presidential elections, in spite of the growing odds they wont. Already, public grumbling over his policy towards North Korea and his 'unKorean' response to allowing people to offer condolence to Kim Jong il has branded him, sotto voce, a 'traitor' to the goal and cherished hope of reunification.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Lee Myung bak: will the cowardly leopard change his spots?

Responding to North Korea's military authoritative December announcement [30 December 2011] that the DPRK will not deal with the Lee Myung bak regime in Seoul, ROK's 'revanchist' president tried to smooth the sharp elbow reply with 'vanilla' observations that a new leader in the North offers the South opportunities in 'talking to' a Kim Jung eun & co.

Harvard's John Park read into Lee's word a 'high road ' appeal to reducing tensions in the divided Korean peninsula. GuamDiary questions Park's assertion. We look at Lee's openly broadside attack against Kim Jong il from day one of his ascension to the Blue House, beginning with the suppression of the 'Sunshine Policy', followed by denying fertilisers and food aid, and a propaganda war the person of the 'Dear Leader'; the South Korean president's assault, closely coordinated with the Obama administration, had revived the harsh winds of the Cold War which Lee's two predecessors Kim Dae Jung and Roh Moo hyun tamed and quieted. Not only that, he pushed the envelope so that either the North would implode or it would commit a warlike action that the ROK and US could take advantage of. Unfortunately for 'revanchist' Lee, the DPRK called joint US ROK's bluff during joint military exercises along the Northern Limit Line within a spittle of DPRK territorial waters in November 2010. Obama took fright that it would have to engage America in a third war in Asia; to his South Korean ally, the US president stayed Lee's hand, settling for 'rollinb back' the Northern regime through 'patient constraint'

Broadly speaking, GuamDiary has to restate the known history that the US and South Korea media conviently ignore in favour of the mystical veneration of hoary slogans from the last 60 years at least.

So we ask can the lame leopard as president of the ROK change his spots? Possibly, but we wont hold out breath.

Lee like Obama lost a golden opportunity to engage Kim Jung eun by sending food aid to the North. He did not; he only offered hollow buzzwords of 'new opportunities'.

2012 is an election year in South Korea. And there is a general dissatisfaction with Lee and his party. They lost the import post of mayor of Seoul Lee used as a springboard to win the Blue House in October 2011. His aggressive policy towards the DPRK has galvanised a broad swath of opinion in South Korea that considers Lee 'a national traitor' for abandoning the 'Sunns, shine Policy'.

Lee dropped another stitch by severely restricting an unofficial delegation of 18 South Koreans, headed by the widows of Kim Dae Jung and Hyundai's founder, to venture to Pyongyong to convey their condolence at Kim Jong il's bier. Were Lee 'sincere' in reducing enmity with the North, he could have easily allowed ordinary citizens in the South to do the same. Yet, he dare not! The feet that would have wended their way to the North would have been a referendum of the failure of his hostile policy towards Kim Jong il & co.

So, the cover the egg on his face, Lee peppered a hardline response to the North with empty pious hopes of opportunities to turn a new page on inter Korean relations. Will he? That is the question! Is he a leader who can and does grow? Judging by his record, prospects are indeed dim.

'Patient Restraint': US' narrow and naive policy towards 'rolling back' North Korea

Streaming PR's 'News Hour', GuamDiary, at last, a strong expression of why the death of Kim Jong il provided an opportunity to depart from the disingenuousness of 'patient contraint', otherwise known as 'rolling back' North Korea.

Every idea behind 'rollback' is masked in larger consideration which is dishonest in a framework of 'realism' that tend to stave North Korea into submission to the non negotiable aims of the US and aided and abetted by a revanchist Lee Myung bak regime in South Korea.

Donald Gregg, chairman emeritus of the New York Korea Society, former ambassador to Seoul, former national security advisor to George WH Bush, and a 30 year veteran of the CIA, is a voice of reason in a level of discussion, thought, and implementation of 'pattient restraint' that is a willing acceptance of failure in the corridors of power in Seoul and Washington.

With a minimum of words, Gregg suggested that the death of the 'Dear Leader' is an occasion to lump the sinking of the 'Cheonan', the shelling of 'Yeongpyeong' military base, and the second nuclear test into the legacy of Kim Jong il. The advent of his son Kim Jong eun, furthermore, offers the US the opportunity to show maturity by making a gesture to the DPRK to lessen the tensions in the divided Korean peninsula.

A new opening! Sound advice you would think? Hardly. The US North Korean clerisy, as well as the Obama administration and the revanchist Lee Myung bak regime, view it as a weakening of the two countries' spirit. It was as though Gregg, who in some policy making quarters may be seen as a 'heretic'. Gregg's reputation and long government service do protect him from the direct criticism, if not condemnation, yet the failure of 'patient constraint' lies in US Korean history. More, Gregg put it bluntly, he is against holding a starving population hostage to the denial of promised food aid, a comment which Bobolina Hwang, now professor at Georgetown, former advisor in the Bush fils White House, and before that wrote policy on Korea at the right wing think tank, the American Enterprise Institute. She disagrred mostly with Gregg in that polite but sharp elbow difference of opinion. A hard liner she embraced 'rollback' forcefully, praising president Obama. Her standpoint is hardly surprising, since any opening to the North, would bring down the temple of orthodoxy that the past 60 years had thrown up against talking to the DPRK, even though Kim Jong il never tired signaling to Washington for talks with no preconditions which he transmitted through two former US president and any number of Americans and westerners visiting North Korea.

A thaw in relations would cut the ground from under a cottage industry of US North Korean clerics, thereby threatening jobs and fat salaries and overheated reputations. Unlike Gregg, Hwang, like her cohorts, is no risk taker, embroiled as they are in the byzantine politics and reflexes learnt and perpetuated during the heady days of the Cold War against the Soviet empire.
By steadfastly holding on the past, they got the answer they wanted by Kim Jong eun. No opening, no changes in DPeRK policy.

Tis a pity, Gregg is preaching to the deaf and dumb and dumber.

Obama & Lee renege on food aid to North Korea

Kim Jung il's sudden death on 17 December 2011 allowed president Obama and his sidekick in Seoul the revanchist Lee Myung bak to wiggle out of pledges of hundreds of millions of dollars of food aid to North Korea.

These two defenders of 'democracy' and deep believers in the teachings of their professed saviour Jesus Christ took coward's courage in the gnomic formula first ennuciated by Donald Rumsford: 'unknown knowns', as well as the long cherished fear of the bogeyman they created in the image of the DPRK. In ordinary English, 'unknown knowns' means the truth is as plain as the nose on your face, yet Obama and Lee chose to ignore to ignore or not know it.

The demise of the 'Dear Leader' called for stability at home so that the passing of the baton of power to Kim's anointed successor the young Kim Jong eun could and would proceed without the slightest burp; which did happened to the distaste of the clerics and advisors in Washington and Seoul whose silly

predictions of collapse and doom proved manifestly wrong. Another black mark in the poverty of

their 'scholarship' that the poor taxpayer's pence pays for.

The 'young general' Kim Jong eun put the US and the ROK on warning as the two countries raised the tone of Cold War rhetoric and pursued the coordinated policy of 'patient constraint' to topple the DPRK.

What Obama and Lee did not expect, and what Kim Jung eun did was to announce the need for food aid

to tide a deeply undernourished North Korea.

Kim's appeal was an indictment of the Obama Lee policy, and showed the egg on the US and ROK's face for

not living up to pledges of food aid.

As former US ambassador to Seoul strongly suggested that the ascension to the supreme posts of power in North Korea offered an excellent opportunity to open lines of communications to the new regime, and that food aid should never be tied to food.

Obama and Lee dropped the stitch. GuamDiary finds it doubtful whether they ever had the foresight to seize the moment to offer food aid to North Korea, and thus live up to their hollow promises of better relations at the beginning of Kim Jong eun's reign, thereby easing the DPRK's resistance to rejoin the six party talks in Beijing to denuclearise the divided Korean peninsula.

Instead Obama and Lee head of two strong economies and military industrial complexes, feigned weakness. Consequently, they turned themselves into Pyongyang's cat's paw, for as the weaker , North Korea used its strength to stymie the US and ROK who are too cleaver by half . Sooner than later, Obama and Lee will have to put their money where their mouth is and supply food relief to the people of the DPRK. But before that, these two 'powerful' men had to show the world what fools they aure when an extended hand to Kim Jung eun would and could have perced the abcess of heightened tension.