Friday, May 21, 2010

North Korea is Probably Laughing

Somehow I doubt the North Korean leadership is shaking with fear after the administration trotted out Hillary Clinton to give a speech in response to the unprovoked sinking of a South Korean ship.

"This will not be and cannot be business as usual. There must be an international — not just a regional, but an international — response," she told a press conference in Tokyo
Wow, an "international response." That's pretty frightening.
While it was "premature" to discuss exact options or actions that will be taken, Clinton said it was "important to send a clear message to North Korea that provocative actions have consequences."
Yeah, but in Obama world, "consequences" means a mildly harsh talking-to. The spineless Obama administration, with its instinctual desire to appease, does not scare anyone -- let alone a rogue state such as North Korea. Obama & Hillary can't even summon up the courage to call an obvious act of war an act of war -- even while North Korea routinely screams threats.
U.S. officials have refused to call the North's attack on the ship an act of war or state-sponsored terror, warning that an overreaction could cause the Korean peninsula to "explode." Instead, they said they would explore diplomatic steps through the U.N. or increase Washington's unilateral sanctions against North Korea's Soviet-style state.
Projection of weakness -- it's the Obama way.

So what should be done? As I've argued before, the North Koreans respect one thing and one thing only: overwhelming force and the willingness to use it. Communications from the U.S. to North Korea should be in the form of clear, unmistakable threats -- something the communist thugs running the country will understand. At a minimum, the North should be put on notice that since their submarine force has initiated an act of war against the South, from now on any North Korean submarine detected outside its home waters will be treated as a deadly threat to navigation and sunk without warning. This edict will continue until North Korea apologizes for the sinking, pays compensation and agrees to refrain from further incidents in the future. In addition we should hold direct, private talks with North Korean leaders and make our policies clear and unambiguous in the event that they decide to start a war -- so there is no misunderstanding. The North should be told in no uncertain terms that if they initiate a war, we will use our full power to crush their state forever, including directly targeting and killing the communist leadership. Any offensive use of nuclear weapons will be answered with the utter annihilation of North Korea.

The reason North Korea can act as it does is that it feels it can get away with it -- particularly with a weak president in charge of the U.S. A state willing to starve its own population to build its military doesn't fear the type of weak & ineffective sanctions that Clinton's threatened "international response" might entail. With China as its patron, its nuclear weapons, the U.S. occupied in the Middle East, and its ability to threaten Seoul, it feels it can do whatever it wants with little serious consequence. And so far it has been proven correct. Unfortunately I have no confidence whatsoever that the Obama administration will do anything to change that equation, and is far more likely to embolden the North further.

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