Monday, October 14, 2013

NightWatch For the night of 13 October 2013:: north Korea, China, US, Afghanistan, Syria

Some excellent analysis of the north Korean statement rejecting Secretary Kerry's call for a non-aggression pact as well as the joint ROK-Japan-US exercises. Note especially Mr. McCreary's commentary on concessions contributing to the perception of negotiating weakness which certainly applies to north Korea.  I wonder if there are other political elements who take the same view on concessions and negotiations as north Korea somewhere else in the world (such as both Republicans and Democrats).

A significant signed commentary in Xinhua on "Pax Americana" excerpted below.

US forces in Afghanistan captured a senior Pakistan Taliban leader allegedly take from an Afghan Government convoy.  Such allegations certainly cannot help the negotiations for the post-2014 US presence.

Interesting message from Al Qaida leader Ayman al-Zawahri resulting from the infighting among jihadist groups in Syria.

For the night of 13 October 2013
North Korea: On 12 October, The Korean Central News Agencypublished an article that threatens to return security conditions to those at the end of North Korea's winter training cycle in March. In commenting on a two-day exercise by forces from the US, Republic of Korea and Japan, a spokesman for the North's National Defense Commission said,
"Reckless provocative acts would meet our retaliatory strikes and lead to an all-out war of justice for a final showdown with the United States."

"The United States must bear it in mind that reckless provocative acts would meet our retaliatory strikes and lead to an all-out war of justice for a final showdown with the United States."

"We emphasize again that the United States must withdraw various measures aimed to isolate and strangulate us. Dependent upon this are peace and security, not only on the Korean peninsula but the U.S. mainland as well."
The National Defense Commission published a clarification of what it described as its principled statement. The clarification did not threaten all out war, but rejected the US Secretary of State's offer of a non-aggression pact. The clarification contains three major points.
"1. If the U.S. truly wants to improve the relations with the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK, North Korea) , it has to properly understand the DPRK and behave as befitting a big power."
"2. The U.S. should discard the old way of thinking and outdated stand and abandon the threadbare hostile policy toward the DPRK, before it is too late."
"3. The U.S. should clearly understand the meaning of the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula and lift all steps for isolating and stifling the DPRK."

The statement concluded as follows:

"What we would like to emphasize is that the U.S. should take a bold decision to halt at once all the provocations against the DPRK including war exercises which aim at bringing down its social system and territorial invasion."

"Explicitly speaking, the U.S. should make a policy switchover by withdrawing all the measures it has taken to isolate and stifle the DPRK as part of its greedy pivot to Asia-Pacific strategy."

"Herein lies the way for improving the DPRK-U.S. relations and guaranteeing peace and security not only on the Korean Peninsula but in the U.S. mainland."

Comment: The US Secretary of State promised a non-aggression pact in exchange for North Korean action that shows it has made a start to "denuclearize," whatever that means. What is clear is that the US Secretary of State diluted all past US position on North Korean denuclearization and that North rejected it.

The formulation that Secretary Kerry offered the North - and which it rejected - is a significant dilution of prior US positions which required the North to make good on past promises. Confronted with a US concession, the North automatically demanded more. That is always how the North behaves. Kerry should know better.

At some point, leaders need to understand the concept of weakness as US enemies interpret it. Concessions always signify weakness and always lead to escalatory demands by the enemy. The idea of compromise is a western civilized notion of statecraft. It is not a universal principle.

As for the North's "principled statement", what the North finds most offensive is not the threat of a US nuclear attack, but the threat of overthrowing the regime, arranged by the Allies. Thus, the best tactics for obtaining concessions from North Korea involve continued hints that the Allied aim is the overthrow of the Kim family and Allied advocacy of the unification of all Koreans through liberation by the democratic forces of the Republic of Korea.
North Korean leaders are much more afraid the regime will collapse than they are of a US nuclear attack.

China-US: The official Chinese news agency Xinhua published today a signed commentary about the failure of "Pax Americana." Excerpts follow.
(Continued at the link below)

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