Wednesday, July 09, 2003

Funny-Guy Weldon and the Whacky Korean Peace Initiative

A couple of blogs have already commented on Funny-guy Weldon's Whacky Peace Plan including Slate, The Marmot's Hole, Incestuous Amplification and others who I probably missed. In my opinion, blog sources far and away exceeded news sources for much-needed criticism on this ridiculous 'initiative'. Here is why I thought the plan was the best laugh I've had in a while.

Firstly, in the opening paragraphs Funny-guy Weldon tries to expound the critical interests of both sides. He informs us that US seeks the eradication of the nuclear program and removal of the threat of nuclear proliferation and selling of technology to terrorist organisations and/or States. North Korea wants normalisation of relations, non-interference in economic ties with South Korea and Japan and see the issue of regime change as the determining factor in whether a peaceful resolution to the current stand-off is possible. Yet, as I shall attempt to argue, the peace plan itself is tantamount to a regime change.

Step one is a five part, one-year plan that begins with the pointless signing of a non-aggression pact. The caveats that US would demand of such a pact would render it a non-viable and rightly so. As we already know of the Bush regime, they themselves are not shy to back out of an agreement once it ceases to be of use to their interests. By the same token, North Korea would be more stupid than we give them credit for to be appeased by a one-year non-aggression pact. But lets say we get past that point.

North Korea has never, and would never allow 'full and unimpeded inspections of its nuclear facilities'. Even when a member a the NNPT it didn't allow the complete inspections required of it. So to think it would now, after further development of its nuclear materials, allow such inspection is not rational. This would only bring the US to say, in a similar way they did with Iraq, that despite the presence of inspectors, they are not being cooperative and allowing the kind of access demanded. At which point the US would threaten or in fact back out of the non-agression pact....yada, yada, yada, back to square one.

A funding level of some US$3-5 billion should be provided by the (hee hee) "Korean Peace Coalition" (hahahaha!!) consisting of US, DPRK, South Korea, Japan, Russia and China (cause we all know how well this lot get on). Lets just remind ourselves that most of the delay for the 1994 Framework Agreement was over funding arguments, and indeed one of the largest barriers in the initial negotiations was between US, Japan, South Korea (and EU) over who on earth would shell out the cash.

And at the conclusion of these steps, US would open a mission in Pyongyang and so would conclude the first stage. I suggest they don't start looking for real estate for such a move just yet. But lets move take a look at stage two, just for fun of it.

Firstly, the non-aggression pact would become permanent. Okay, for fun, lets assume that it does so we can move on. US would like to see North Korea agree, not just to NPT, but other intrusive inspections and commitments including the Missile Technology Control Regime and the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe. Does someone need to point out that a country that 'just wants to be left alone' and feels that its very sovereignty is threatened by such treaties, is not likely to concur with this idea?

But here we come to my absolute favourite part. Weldon recommends direct inter-parliamentary relationship with members of North Korea's Supreme People's Assembly for the purpose of developing a plan to implement a broad range of comprehensive recommendations in the areas of: agricultural development, cultural/education development, defence and security, energy/natural resources, environmental cooperation, health care, judicial/legal systems, local governments, science and technology, space and aeronautics. I nearly fell off my chair when I read that list.

I barely know where to start. Firslty, it would appear that Weldon is not aware that the Supreme People's Assembly does not make policy and is a rubber stamp group for Dear Leader Kim, rendering all discussions of the above topics useless. Second, we could assume that the last thing a regime gripping on to power is going to do is let its rubber stamp assembly mix with loud and proud proponents of democracy and for that matter, the enemy. This act alone would destabilise the DPRK's rule and if such changes as US hopes to bring about would occur, it would ultimately result in a complete change in the regime (which noted earlier is the paramount issue for North Korea). My personal favourite topics are defence and security, local government and space and aeronautics. South Korea didn't get local autonomy until 1995 yet we expect a totalitarian regime is going to bring in local government!? Does anyone else get an image of Weldon writing this plan on the plane trip to Pyongyang sucking back a few stress-relieving drinks?

But I have written (and laughed) enough. In short, funny-guy Weldon's whacky peace plan is an ill-conceived joke that belongs in the trash along with the idea of a blockade and sanctions.

Currently reading:

"Hell" by Yasutaka Tsutsui