Wednesday, October 25, 2006

The Nuke Made No Difference

Yesterday I attended a lecture about North Korea's recent nuclear testing and its implications. It was by a Professor whose opinions I have heard before and I commented briefly on.

After hearing the talk I was disappointed. The focus is, as always, on who is to blame. Whose polices toward North Korea are the least likely to work. This argument is superfluous in my opinion. South Korea looks are the US policy as being ineffective. US sees South Korean policy as naive and ineffective. US sees that China is not doing enough. Korea thinks Japan is being more of a hindrance than a help and so on and so on. This kind of discussion leads no-where.

Each country in the six-party talks has important and different national interests at stake when it comes to North Korea. There is, unfortunately, insufficient cross-over of these interests that would allow for the countries to co-operate and forge a more unified approach to dealing with North Korea. And so, as I have mentioned before, if doesn't matter what North Korea does or how close it comes to the brink of war, it will never lead the other countries to develop more cooperative policy. In fact, the closer North Korea gets to war the more US will want to hit it with sticks and the more urgently South Korea will want to be to appease it.

Where does this leave the six-party talks? Nowhere. The six-party talks should be abandoned. The US should continue with sanctions but should stop talking to the North. The North sees US as a threat that could attack them. US would do better if they just stepped back from North Korea.(aside from humanitarian issues).

Instead, as this lecture showed, more and more the parties are resorting to bickering and finger-pointing. What a complete waste of time.

Currently reading:

"Hell" by Yasutaka Tsutsui