Thursday, March 14, 2013

North Korea and the price of patience

Mr. Ignatius gives us his Sun Tzu conclusion (don't assume the enemy will not attack [or not collapse], make yourself invincible):

Counting on North Korean restraint has been a bad bet. It may be wiser to assume the worst and plan accordingly.

The worst case is the implosion/explosion paradox in my opinion.

North Korea and the price of patience
The Obama administration’s approach toward North Korea has been described as “strategic patience.” A more accurate evaluation of U.S. policy would be “failure.” The administration has alternately wooed and threatened North Korea for four years, with no discernible effect.

Here’s what failure looks like: Since President Obama took office, Pyongyang has conductedseveral missile tests and two nuclear weapons tests, the most recent on Feb. 12. When the international community has tried to hold Pyongyang accountable, the regime has become even more erratic.

North Korea’s latest reckless action came this week, when it nullified the 60-year-old armistice that ended the Korean War and cut its hotline with U.S. forces in the South. This was Pyongyang’s way of protesting the U.N. Secu rity Council’s unanimous decision to impose new sanctions after last month’s nuclear test. Perhaps it was also a way ofhazing South Korea’s President Park Geun-hye, who took office two weeks ago.

What’s next? Unfortunately, the only thing that’s predictable about North Korea is its belligerence. Pyongyang has taken violent actions in the first months after the inauguration of each South Korean president since 1992, according to Victor Cha, a Korea expert at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

What happens when diplomacy fails? This is the most disturbing problem in international relations, and it’s posed now by North Korea: How should the international community respond when a nation consistently ignores red lines? What policy options exist when patience finally runs out?
(Continued at the link below)

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