Thursday, April 16, 2015

Reading for Thursday April 16, 2015





LEAD) USFK commander voices need for THAAD deployment to S. Korea

Excerpt:

Scaparrotti is the one who brought up the need for a THAAD battery in South Korea for the first time in June. The proposal has since become one of the most sensitive defense and political issues in Seoul as China and Russia have expressed strong opposition to such a deployment.
Supporters say the advanced missile defense unit is necessary to meet ever-growing missile and nuclear threats from North Korea, while opponents claim mid- and lower-altitude missile interceptors are enough as the North is unlikely to attack the South with such high-altitude missiles.
Regarding North Korea's nuclear and missile capabilities, Scaparrotti said he assumes the communist nation has the capability to deliver a ballistic missile with a nuclear warhead.
"They claim to have a capability to deliver a nuclear-tipped ballistic missile. They paraded it and they've shown it to us. But they haven't tested it," he said."But I, as a commander, I have to be prudent and assume that they can deliver one and act on that basis."
What he did not say is that a good commander has to be prudent and ask for what he needs to accomplish the mission and defend his forces.  There should be no criticism of him or his requests to deploy THAAD.


Study pans use of '360-degree reviews'


Excerpt:

Some military officials said identifying toxic leaders is not the challenge at hand.
"Most people have worked for a toxic leader at some point, and it wasn't a secret. Everybody knew who was a jerk. The question is: What was done about it?" an unnamed official told Rand researchers. "You could find them; then what? What did we do about it? Doesn't the culture determine what happens at that point? Do we need 360 or do we know?"

A Nuclear Turning Point

Excerpt:

But on closer inspection, what is truly puzzling is that anyone supports the agreement at all. In striking this deal, the Obama administration abandoned a decades-old mainstay of U.S. nonproliferation policy, and opponents are right to reject it. The United States has always opposed the spread of sensitive nuclear technologies—uranium enrichment and plutonium reprocessing—to all states, including its own allies, and it is a mistake to make an exception for Iran.

Conclusion:
Defenders of the accord have argued that there was no viable alternative short of war. But this is not true. If the United States had given Iran a choice between, on the one hand, continued international isolation, increased economic sanctions, and, all else failing, military strikes on its nuclear facilities and, on the other hand, a zero-enrichment deal that lifted sanctions and provided other face-saving goodies, including nonsensitive nuclear technologies, Iran would have eventually chosen the latter.
Instead, we gave up the game. Iran out-negotiated us. We abandoned a clear international standard we had established in order to meet Iran halfway in its unreasonable demands. What we have to show for it is not a historic deal, but the death of a 70-year-old bipartisan pillar of American foreign policy.

The longstanding, bipartisan nonproliferation standard is dead.

Matthew Kroenig

April 20, 2015, Vol. 20, No. 30


So who are today's Adams and Mahan?

Four years later, in Realities of American Foreign Policy, Kennan wrote that the chief threat to the security of the United States was “the association of the dominant portion of the physical resources of Europe and Asia with a political power hostile to ourselves.” Such a threat to U.S. interests, he noted, could only emanate from certain regions of the globe “where major industrial power, enjoying adequate access to raw materials, is combined with large reserves of educated and technically skilled man-power.”
Such geopolitical reasoning, Kennan wrote in American Diplomacy, was scarce among Americans in 1898 when the U.S. went to war with Spain and as a result acquired the Philippine Islands. He credited two Americans of that time with understanding international realities: Brooks Adams and Alfred Thayer Mahan. Adams, Kennan noted, “sensed the ultimate importance of the distinction between sea power and land power” and grasped “the danger of political collaboration between Russia, Germany and China,” while Mahan, “was charting new paths . . . which led in the direction of a more profound appraisal of the sources of American security.” He called their efforts in this regard “an isolated spurt of intellectual activity against a background of general torpor and smugness in American thinking about foreign affairs.”
George Kennan’s Geopolitics of the Far East
U.S. Marines fighting in Seoul
Image Credit: U.S. Navy

George Kennan’s Geopolitics of the Far East

A worldview based on “unsentimental calculations of the balance of power” and an understanding of human nature.
By Francis P. Sempa
April 15, 2015


Top diplomats from S. Korea, U.S., Japan hold cooperation talks

Excerpt:

The meeting appears to reflect the urgency the U.S. sees in the need for improvement in Korea-Japan ties, which have been badly strained for years, due mainly to Tokyo's attempts to whitewash its wartime atrocities and colonial occupation, especially its sexual enslavement of women for its troops during World War II.


PACOM House of Representatives Armed Services Committee, Prepared Statement
Extensive overview of the situation and threats in PACOM.


Lippert doubts North’s sincerity

But what he could not diplomatically say is that he is not at all surprised by the regime's insincerity.

Also note his comments on Korea-Japan historical issues and the US "role."


The Politics of Rebalance: The Future of US Leadership In Asia


With the recent survey by the GOP that national security issues eclipse economic issues does that mean Asian issues will become an election issue?  Having some "contextual intelligence" would be a good thing for the next president.  But I wonder if we will ever hear the phrase contextual intelligence during the campaign - even if national security issues dominate I doubt contextual intelligence will resonate on a bumper sticker or in sound bites - e.g.,  "I have more contextual intelligence that candidate X"

Excerpt:

In crafting policy on Asia, the next U.S. president – Democrat or Republican – will require “contextual intelligence,” an essential presidential leadership skill Joseph Nye defines as “an intuitive diagnostic skill that helps a leader understand change, interpret the outside world, set objectives, and align strategies and tactics with objectives to create smart policies in a new situation.” Candidates’ level of contextual intelligence on four critical areas – Asian security, trade and investment, civil society, and China – as we previously posited in these pages may serve as a bellwether of whether pragmatic or ideological politics will drive the future of U.S. Asia policy.



How will U.S. presidential candidates frame the future of U.S. policy towards Asia?


The Iran Pact Is Not A Model For Dealing With Reclusive North Korea

Excerpts:

However, this is not the case. North Korea is very different from Iran, and is unlikely to fit in with such a plan.
The major difference is to be found in Iran’s political structure. Iran is clearly not a democracy in a strict sense, but it is still a country in which popular opinion actually matters. The Iranians can vote and their elections are generally free and fair, though participants have to act within certain established restrictions. There are competing political parties in Iran, and Iranians can protest against government policy at rallies, as well as creating political and social associations.
...
Unfortunately, the situation in North Korea is very different. To start with, North Korea is not a country in which popular opinions have any real significance. The country is run by a small group of hereditary elites. This elite group would probably not mind if its people were better off, but its ability to hold on to power does not depend on popular support. North Koreans do not vote, or rather vote in elections where the sole candidate always wins 100% of all votes. No independent political organizations exist. The media’s only interest is in the alleged greatness of the current government and its current policies. Participation in anti-government rallies is suicidal.




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Beyond Nuclear Diplomacy: A Regime Insider's Look at North Korea (Video of talk by Thae, Yong-ho)

I attended this event today.  Thae Yong-ho makes some very good points.  I am about to go participate in a dinner with him this evening so ...