Monday, June 8, 2009

Kissinger on North Korea

Henry Kissinger has an article on North Korea in today's Washington Post. I read it with interest to see his take on the situation, but came away unimpressed. Kissinger correctly points out that our current & recent approaches to North Korea have been utter failures.  And he identifies the key issue,
whether the goal should be to manage North Korea's nuclear arsenal or to eliminate it.
Kissinger comes down on the side of eliminating it. But how?
A wise diplomacy will move urgently to assemble the incentives and pressures to bring about the elimination of nuclear weapons and stockpiles from North Korea. It is not enough to demand unstated pressures from other affected countries, especially China. A concept for the political evolution of Northeast Asia is urgently needed.

Could that be any more vague? "Incentives" and "pressure" are not going to remove North Korea's nuclear capability. Diplomats are never willing to admit it, but the time for diplomacy is over. It hasn't worked, and it isn't going to work. If Kissinger really believes that North Korea's nuclear capability has to be eliminated, then he should be arguing in favor of a preventative war. But Kissinger knows that's not a viable option -- especially with the weak Obama administration & Democrats in charge, the economic situation, and the ongoing wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. The U.S. isn't going to strike North Korea unless they attack us, one of our allies, or do something extreme enough to force a military response.

It would be nice to see Kissinger take a realistic approach and argue for containment and deterrence, especially since he's an expert in those areas. But it appears that he's still clinging to the diplomatic pipe-dream.

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