China and North Korea’s Nukes

I’m staying out of the discussion because it’s just too big and time-consuming an issue, but I would like to point you to two interesting related posts.

China Matters, in a long and well-researched essay, makes an intriguing argument that it’s all a power play between North Korea and China:

As I’ve previously argued, North Korea’s ballistic missile and nuclear antics are an effort to demand attention, respect, and assistance from the PRC.

Certainly, I don’t think anybody seriously believes that Kim Jung Il expected to be able to extort concessions from George Bush and John Bolton prior to the U.S. mid-term elections with a piece of nuclear blackmail.

North Korea’s weapons programs are meant to discommode China with the threat of a Asian arms race and the specter of Japan becoming a pro-active regional security force with US backing, and remind Beijing of the necessity of advancing North Korea’s interests on the world stage – in this particular case, getting China to support lifting some onerous U.S. financial sanctions.

Well, I believe China’s looked at its options and opportunities and decided that the best riposte to North Korea’s nuclear program is to strip Pyongyang of its independence in national defense and foreign affairs – in other words, assert virtually the same suzerainty that China imposed on the peninsula before the Japanese occupation in 1895.

The second must-read comes from The 88s, who brilliantly deconstructs a recent colum by Anne Applebaum that blames China for the whole mess (for not doing all it can to reign Pyongyang in). It’s wickedly funny and illuminating and it certainly makes Anne appear, well, stupid. (And it pains me to say that, because I love her book Gulag, which I’m about half-way through at the moment.) Here’s how this excellent post concludes:

Yes, the US should teach the region a lesson and just walk away, but unfortunately that “clearly isn’t possible at this point.” Too bad, though, because that would have worked. Oh, wait, we already tried that, which is why the DPRK now has nuclear weapons. I guess it won’t work. And “next time” we should pick a non-proliferation fight in a country or region where we have leverage. Like, say, Canada. Because picking countries or regions in which to stop nuclear proliferation where the US lacks leverage (i.e., not Canada or Mexico) just doesn’t make any sense.

Heh. For both of these posts, I strongly suggest you “read the whole thing.”

The Discussion: One Comment

In the words of the great philospher, Sasha Baron Cohen (a/k/a Borat a/k/a Ali G.), “the problem in this world is that people just don’t got no respec [sic]”

October 19, 2006 @ 1:33 pm | Comment

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