Tonight once again, once again the same old discussion. The discussion being heard so many times but so little effective action being taken.
North Korea, with snowy mountains in the north and rugged ranges in the east with swift rivers flowing to the sea. A country ideal for growing rice and other crops, but being harsh in winter. A country with mud coated and thatched cottages being bleak, and black pigs lolled by barns, – and the digging of soils still being carried out by the kind of spade used by land working men.
Men and women, – like us, like everywhere.
The country where fishermen converge like seabirds in tiny fishing boats to catch a share for thousands of families to sustain the living conditions in an exploited land full of stricken poverty, – and malnutrition of far too many children.
A country once invaded by the Russians and denied free elections in history, with iron curtains dividing both the south and the north.
A country once invading the south with the US and Japan coming to the rescue of the south, – with finally the south and the north controlling each their own zone… Isolated now, close to the borders of China, – not only isolated in terms of trade and other good things with the outside world, – but foremost isolated as well as a country in terms of rational international diplomacy.
North Korea in 2001 still the country remaining communist, closely spied by its Government, cut off from almost all outside contacts and over and over armed.
One new young leader now with a massive war machinery behind him, in a way fragile and not mature as a person, – but coming forth from a family tradition of maximum power and ambition. Encapsulated in various inflated views about the world of North Korea and the real world.
Encapsulated by historic traditions within the army, a powerful army, – but the last powerful as well where it comes to keep up existing doctrines, which do not work.
Neither do they work for the many people who are poor in North Korea, the families with children and malnutrition being the events of the day, nor do they work for the outside world, – as North Korea is one of those nations enduring great difficulties to face the challenge to become civilised, and responsible, – in the way they deal with matters.
It is one of those countries who perceive in their isolation threats from the outside world, – perceive their family neighbour from the south as an enemy, – perceive the US as an enemy. And in all this are preparing for conflict, – being both irrational and pointless.
The facts are now that North Korea will conduct its third nuclear test soon, – that North Korea did sent a satellite into space in December and are preparing for both long range missiles eventually having the ability to carry nuclear and/or other weapons.
Reason does not seem to work as North Korea is perhaps the worst enemy of its own ideology, but reason never reached North Korea as isolation created fear and fear created the potential for major confrontation where nobody as head of any civilised state apart from China did visit North Korea in the eye of its Parliament.
It takes courage to prevent war and create dialogue. History showed on a few occasions that the actions of men are able to this, as once illustrated in the Israelite Parliament with the visit of a seemingly almost forgotten Egyptian President, who stood up for Peace being the last rationale argument to fight for.
Different circumstances though, the last, but the examples are there of men and women, people and Presidents taking action with a bigger interest at heart, proactive in style and determined to win their case, – as a lost case being the case of war goes at a cost of millions who are innocent and did not ask for it.
In the eyes of North Korea both the US and South Korea are earth enemies for reasons never being really clarified in face to face communication. Face to face communication with both modesty and strength, to reach both out and to try to diffuse inflated perceptions. Face to face communication – like eg happened in dialogues between Reagan and Gorbachev at a crucial time of the cold war right in the face of all hard-liners, – all hard liners being surprised of the break through being created at the time.
There is a situation now not being the place for making any threats, – as words lead to provocations and provocations lead to war and war leads to an instinct of willing to combat by every means.
It’s pointless, – pointless as it proved so many times in history!
Lets face it, we are not living any more in time of guns and bullets only, but the guns have been replaced by potential missiles and the bullets have been replaced by plain potential nukes, – either dirty or clean, but in both cases devastating in its implication once used by people who lead wars from behind their computer, – blind for the destruction of human life and culture
The new US Secretary of State John Kerry liked engaging North Korea in the past at the time he was a Massachusetts Senator and this is the only way forward. Kerry, who replaced Hillary Rodham Clinton, joined with South Korea and Japan in calling on the North to end its “provocative behaviour” or face “significant consequences from the international community” in a statement Sunday, – but he did not make endeavours to visit North Korea as yet. Being only joint by Japan and South Korea, statements of this nature have no impact on North Korea at all!
Media presented threats do not help. “There’s a reluctance in the White House to have a deal with North Korea only to have it repudiated again,” said James Acton, an expert on nuclear non-proliferation at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. However, – some risk is required as the risk of war and not being able to end the process once the last is implemented is a greater risk, and again we are not simply speaking about guns. North Korea will master a delivery system for nuclear weapons, and it will join Russia and China as the only non-U.S. allies with such capabilities, – besides Iran perhaps. Kim Jong Un seems to shrug off pressure from most of the international community, including North Korea’s main ally, China, and go ahead with a third test. Bruce Bechtol, a former Pentagon intelligence analyst, said it is really not up to the United States solely to alter the North’s behaviour. He said Kerry’s instructions from Obama will likely be to work closely with the South Koreans and have them set the tone.
However the US needs to go into a straight dialogue with North Korea and Kerry needs to visit and speak to the Communist Parliament as only a minor shift in perception may change events in history, the last being of greater impact when a delegation of South Korea would visit the North. The reasoning behind this is that North Korea wants to go nuclear as part of its military deterrent in its confrontation with the United States, which it describes as “the sworn enemy of the Korean people.”
Long range missiles are not aimed for South Korea but are on the long term aimed at the US and its citizens and the only way is working on a shift in perception, – a shift of perception delivered perhaps even by the US President in North Korea.
The new US Secretary of State John Kerry would be well able to visit first, and discuss with the North Korean leadership the issues of concern. Such a visit will have a major impact and may help the required shift in perception which enables parties to reconsider existing strategies. Besides this benefit it will create some element of goodwill, – noticed by both Russia and China, as the US goes out of his way to avoid confrontation. However one should be watchful for this oppressive regime
If no change afterwards it will help the US to get both China and Russia on the same page of the international agenda to stop North Korea with its dangerous endeavours, leading simply to an avoidable war, – now.
Leadership by providing a change of perception works stronger than sanctions as sanctions proved to be the cut corner strategy not having an impact on historic based perceptions in this case, – the last neither being changed by media delivered warnings nor by measures being perceived as provocative
North Korea is able to test two devices at the same time, one with plutonium and the other with uranium, both then with more technological information and political damage being provided, – apart from the single fact that they are not far away from testing a thermonuclear device more powerful than any of their earlier devices being used, and again, – again straight on dialogue and working on a shift in perception with coöperation being the aim is a short-term goal of eminent importance, – even if this is against Pentagon advise.
Politically the new regime of Kim Jong-Un is more defiant to U.N. dictates than his predecessors, – just by still pursuing his nation’s nuclear aims. Neither stronger sanctions, nor the likely discontent of both Russia and China with his behaviour, appears to change North Korea’s young leader from its military driven aim and it is clear that only straight on discussions on both dismantling and cooperation might be helpful to change the perception that the US is not not the number one enemy, – as this is an inflated perception not based on any realistic facts, – unless the facts do change by further provocations by North Korea.
This is what the military leadership in North Korea needs to understand or facing the implications if North Korea indeed is going to face a nuclear threat for the region, with growing pressure from both China, Russia and the US.
The UN proved to be of no value to North Korea.
The aim is to get both China, Russia and the US on the same page of the strategic agenda as by not achieving this shift in perception with the North Korean leadership, this nation becomes a vey unpredictable nation at the potential cost of millions of people inside North Korea and outside its borders.
Hence steps of courage being required at the personal level to change those possible dynamics in history, as history will judge both in retrospect and relentless, on what “we” did to prevent “the North Korean problem” from evolving into a worst case scenario.
Paul Alexander Wolf
- North Korea sends nuclear warning by fax (independent.ie)
- S. Korea moving to extend soft loans to firms with ties to N. Korea (koreaherald.com)
- No Violence or Hatred Lacks a Cause: The Example of North Korea (ososabiouk.wordpress.com)
- N. Korea recalls deputy UNESCO envoy (koreaherald.com)
- Photography From the DMZ – North and South Korea’s Border – in Winter (theepochtimes.com)
- N. Korea may stage provocation against Seoul around March: think tank (koreaherald.com)
- North Korea’s ‘people’s ski resort’ is completed (thetimes.co.uk)
- Rob’s Resolution: The Black Hole that is North Korea (robertckirk.wordpress.com)
- This photo of Kim Jong Un riding a ski lift is North Korea’s way of flipping off Europe (washingtonpost.com)
- S. Korean FM to visit U.S. to discuss N. Korea, regional issues (koreaherald.com)