Sunday, October 22, 2006
Rice's Trip; More on "Lack of an Alternative"
I'm not privy to the Secretary's deliberations. I hope that she did not engage in the usual "a threat to us is an equal threat to you" rhetoric in Beijing and Moscow (with regard to North Korea and Iran). This is time for what George W. Bush might call a "humble" moment. You say to China--we know that North Korea doesn't threaten you, plan to use a nuclear weapon against you or transfer it to Taiwan or Uighur separatists. But you have a great deal invested in the economic prosperity of the United States and in the maintenance of the international trading system--and so we ask you to take this threat to our security seriously.
To continue the thread of earlier discussions, I listened to a Democratic candidate yesterday outline her "alternative vision" for Iraq: fire Donald Rumsfeld, spend more money on the troops, and withdraw from Iraq after benchmarks have been met by the Iraqi government. Firing Rumsfeld is a personnel decision, spending funds is a budgetary one. Neither represents a radically new direction. And the last one leaves unanswered what is the critical question. What happens if the Iraqis can't or won't measure up? Stay the course? Or leave?
Why is Japan concerned about North Korean nukes?
Japan is a semi-sovereign state like South Korea and Germany: it is protected by US.
So where is the heart-burn in this for Japan?
Also this: if I were you I would not take the prospect of nuclear South Korea lightly - there is enormous hostility to Japan in South Korea: it is there just under the surface.
Democratic leaders are largely sticking with domestic issues in part because they have yet to come up with a coherent plan for the biggest problem of all: articulating a clear way out of Iraq. On the campaign trail, Democrats have been content to bash Republican failures and say they'd do better. The Democrats' official line is to promise a "new direction," and to urge, vaguely, "redeployment." If they win, they'll be forced to say what, if anything, that means.