Sunday, September 3, 2017

Doesn't Kim Jong Un Understand 'Suicidal'?

If Kim wants to play gamesmanship, I think the U.S. should show him who's boss.

At the Asia Times, "North Korea: Doesn’t Kim Jong Un understand ‘suicidal’?":
American officials and commentators often say it will be “suicide” if Kim Jong Un tries something. That something is usually unclear but at the rate Kim is launching missiles he appears to think he’s got plenty of leeway before he does something suicidal.

The North Koreans wouldn’t be the first to miscalculate what suicidal is.

It was suicidal for the Japanese to attack the Americans and British in 1941, in retrospect, at least. But at the time, it seemed like a reasonable idea.

It was suicidal for Hitler to attack Russia, especially when over half the German invasion force’s transport was horse-drawn. But at the time it didn’t seem so.

The United States invading Iraq without a plan for what to do once Baghdad was captured? It might not have been suicidal, but was at least the equivalent of jumping off a three-story building onto an asphalt parking lot, repeatedly.

So consider things from Kim’s perspective as he looks over the last 30 years. No matter what he and his father and grandfather did they’ve never been painfully punished.

At various times, the Americans, Japanese, South Koreans and others have given the Kim’s food, money, oil, and atomic reactors – all in exchange for a promise to talk or behave better. Keeping the promises was optional.

And when the Kim regime has acted out – blowing up the South Korean cabinet in Rangoon, torpedoing a South Korean Navy ship, kidnapping Japanese citizens, launching missiles, building and testing nuclear weapons, poisoning a half-brother in broad daylight in a crowded airport terminal?

Why … nothing much happened.

After the South Korean vessel was sunk the Americans even pressured Seoul to do nothing. And China helpfully insisted at the UN that it was unclear who fired the torpedo.

China – the one country that can economically “turn off” North Korea – has kept the Kim’s afloat, protected them politically, and helped with their nuclear and missile programs.

This continues and includes pressuring South Korea over its THAAD missile defense system and strong-arming South Korean companies operating in China. But it’s not just Beijing.

The Kim regime maintains a gulag that a Korean Solzhenitsyn will someday write about. Yet 164 nations have diplomatic relations with North Korea.

And a number of them accept North Korean “forced” labor and allow the regime’s licit and illicit money making operations to continue.

The United States has had a curious approach towards North Korea. It maintains military forces on the peninsular and is committed to defending South Korea – while often displaying naivety and incompetence on the diplomatic front...
Still more.

And at Politico, "Trump threatens to 'stop all trade' with any country doing business with North Korea."