Friday, June 23, 2006

A Crazy Suggestion

Full disclosure: I am California-born and still have family on the West Coast.

Keeping that in mind, here's an out-of-the-box suggestion: let the North Koreans test their missile.

Of course, with the caveat that it not land on U.S. soil.

For too long, we've allowed Pyongyang the "benefit of the doubt." We talk about the DPRK having an unspecified number of nuclear warheads, for example. In essence, we have been treating North Korea as a de facto nuclear power. We've allowed them to bank on the "fear" that they might actually have working WMDs that can pose a real threat. But we've never verified that.

As we know from the India case, there are many steps to go from having the ability to create a nuclear explosion (which they did in the 1970s) and being able to produce a deliverable nuclear device.

The USSR "proved" its ICBM capabilities by sputting Sputnik into orbit in 1957. But it was also proof that their equipment would actually work. The first attempts by the United States to put up a satellite into orbit, of course, failed when the rockets exploded on the launch pad.

North Korea has gained a great deal of mileage from its ability to manipulate the rest of the world (do they have it, maybe they don't).

And perhaps a successful test will get some of the other six power states to wake up to the real threat--my sense is that Beijing and Moscow are more inclined to be doubtful of Pyongyang's actual progress.

Just a thought.

Would also be an interesting test, if there is a launch, of how well the US anti-missile systems are faring--it could be very embarrassing if under conditions of an actual DPRK launch, the system fails.
What do you think about Pritchard's op-ed in today's Washington Post about North Korea? Interesting that he resigned.
I agree. What North Korea wants is attention and leverage. Missile tests aren't inherently important unless they demonstrate/verify new capabilities, or unless they successfully work they other guy into a panic.

If the U.S.'s response is, essentially, "whatever", you call their bluff, deny them whatever additional leverage they're looking for, deny them conflict escalation. Also, sometimes it really is a bluff. I think China and Russia are right to be skeptical of NK's missile expertise. They don't seem to have the functioning state neccesary to preserve any form of infrastructure or complex technology. Use Iraq as the model...
It is hard to see what direct negotiations would accomplish, given the durability of previous agreements, but it is also hard to see what good an ad hoc military strike would do.
The long holding the line strategy is what has worked so far, not rash action. Send the patriots to Japan and work to secure South Korea and also to get China and Russia to realize that North Korea should be seen as a major threat to them and not just to the US.
US has no strategic interest in North East Asia that warrant the existence of US troops in Japan or South Korea.

US should withdraw its troops while keeping the nuclear umberella that protects Japan and South Korea.

I cannot understand all this fuss about North Korean nuclear & rocket capability. As far as I know, they do not have a nuclear device that is light enough to be delivered by their existing rocket forces.

Sometimes, in international relations, one should do nothing. This is one of those cases.
Post a Comment

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?