View Poll Results: What is the near-term future of the DPRK

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  • It will fall into chaos as a result of renewed famine and poverty, resulting in military crackdowns.

    3 15.79%
  • There will be a military coup that displaces the current leadership, hopefully soon.

    4 21.05%
  • It will continue to remain a closed society, technologically dormant and otherwise insignificant.

    12 63.16%
  • The leadership will eventually make a misstep, forcing military action from the United States.

    0 0%
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Thread: North Korea: 2012-2016

  1. #201
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    Quote Originally Posted by Backwards Observer View Post
    Maybe you mean Chinese Communist government, I dunno, perhaps my understanding of these things lacks "sophistication".
    Indeed, I do. And I don't think "sophistication" is the right word, I'd favour "precision" and most of your queiries, clarifications and statement of fact seem to be right on target

  2. #202
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    Quote Originally Posted by Backwards Observer View Post
    Dang! Its seems so innocent nowadays, having since been superseded by the Smith and Wesson Method.
    Thta's got to be the best pictoral representation of the "security dillema" I've ever seen. Nice post!

  3. #203
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    Quote Originally Posted by JMA View Post
    Pass on this (see my separate post)
    Sir, I get the feeling you were one of those kids who "didn't play well with others". That was me too, once. I forget how rightously grumpy I could be, for a teen.

  4. #204
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    Default And the winner in the China-Japan feud is ...

    The following article from Al Jazeera has a similar take on the China-Japan stand-off as I do. I take no joy in the proof that my position is not a lone voice in the wilderness but continue to be saddened that so many people for one reason or the other were unable to accurately read the situation as it developed.

    And the winner in the China-Japan feud is ...

    I have used the term humiliating climb down for both the US/ROK move of the naval exercise and the Japanese release of the Chinese fishing boat captain but would now like to borrow the word capitulation from the Al Jazeera piece.

    In summary then:

    Not only did China get its way, everyone else saw it, and saw how it was done, too. You can't imagine Vietnam, with its own territorial dispute with China, feeling any safer. Or the rest of ASEAN (Association of South East Asian Nations). Or South Korea. Or the people of Japan, as they watch their leaders capitulate.
    Now we wait for the little matter of the Chinese demand for an apology and compensation to be resolved.
    Last edited by JMA; 09-26-2010 at 12:21 PM.

  5. #205
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    Quote Originally Posted by JMA View Post
    I have used the term humiliating climb down for both the US/ROK move of the naval exercise and the Japanese release of the Chinese fishing boat captain but would now like to borrow the word capitulation from the Al Jazeera piece.

    Now we wait for the little matter of the Chinese demand for an apology and compensation to be resolved.
    Sir, I agree with your usage of words like "humiliating" but only in the sense that I understand the deep resonance things like "face" and "shame" have in the Orient. But I think, though this may be a "victory" for china in the short term (whatever "victory" may mean in this case that is) that actually in the medium term it is Japan that comes up smelling of roses. Japan was yesterday's foe and China is what people are more worried about (esp. in ASEAN which was an AntiChiCom org to begin with). Vietnam, amongst other countries, will be reassenign their strategey and will move, more likely than not, to bandwagon with Japan, having seen this as another example of Chinese revanchism (which, of course the Chinese don't see that way, the ChiCom gocvernment and the majority Han that is, nod to Backwards Observer there). Japan, already allied to America, looks an awful lot more attractive given her pacifist stance these last few decades than does Red China. However, I also suspect that recent events have also been blown out of proportion even thogh the general direction of Asian politics seems to tend toward what I've described avbove, IMO.

  6. #206
    Council Member Ken White's Avatar
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    Default Certainly.

    Quote Originally Posted by JMA View Post
    The inability to articulate the US interests in the region could be construed that certain positions taken by some are not based on any credible intellectual basis, yes?
    Equally, lack of desire to articulate them to someone who lives apparently only to refute disagreements on any pretext can be confused with inability...

    Most of us engage in discussions that have merit in our opinion and tend to avoid specious arguments. Most of us...
    Do the Senkaku Islands mean anything to you by any chance?
    Yep, all those Chineses claims have been of interest since the Quemoy-Matsu discussions here in 1960. The Senkaku / Diaoyu were occupied by us, rightly or wrongly, as the Senkaku and part of Okinawa after WW II until the early 70s. We wisely divested ourselves when the potential for oil and / or gas was first publicly mentioned in 1969 and the 'who owns them' argument, shrouded in a tangled history and muddled perhaps by the Qings began to trickle out. The ongoing claim and counterclaim has been going on ever since then and I've followed it for over 50 years. How about you?

  7. #207
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tukhachevskii View Post
    Sir, I agree with your usage of words like "humiliating" but only in the sense that I understand the deep resonance things like "face" and "shame" have in the Orient.
    Following on with the same train of thought you will then recognise the term death by a thousand cuts (which I have used before) as an ancient form of Chinese torture. This I submit is how China is flexing its muscles in the region and in the world. One "cut" at a time. Nothing to get worried about some will say but the progress will be sure... and by the time they wake up it will be too late.

    But I think, though this may be a "victory" for china in the short term (whatever "victory" may mean in this case that is) that actually in the medium term it is Japan that comes up smelling of roses. Japan was yesterday's foe and China is what people are more worried about (esp. in ASEAN which was an AntiChiCom org to begin with). Vietnam, amongst other countries, will be reassenign their strategey and will move, more likely than not, to bandwagon with Japan, having seen this as another example of Chinese revanchism (which, of course the Chinese don't see that way, the ChiCom gocvernment and the majority Han that is, nod to Backwards Observer there). Japan, already allied to America, looks an awful lot more attractive given her pacifist stance these last few decades than does Red China. However, I also suspect that recent events have also been blown out of proportion even thogh the general direction of Asian politics seems to tend toward what I've described avbove, IMO.
    Who will see it this way? I don't think it will be the people you count.

    I suggest that it will be seen in the region as a shift in the balance of power. China rising, USA waning. The message could not be clearer IMHO.

  8. #208
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ken White View Post
    Equally, lack of desire to articulate them to someone who lives apparently only to refute disagreements on any pretext can be confused with inability... Most of us engage in discussions that have merit in our opinion and tend to avoid specious arguments. Most of us...
    Ken, I'm not sure you are being forced to participate in this thread, are you?

    Yep, all those Chineses claims have been of interest since the Quemoy-Matsu discussions here in 1960. The Senkaku / Diaoyu were occupied by us, rightly or wrongly, as the Senkaku and part of Okinawa after WW II until the early 70s. We wisely divested ourselves when the potential for oil and / or gas was first publicly mentioned in 1969 and the 'who owns them' argument, shrouded in a tangled history and muddled perhaps by the Qings began to trickle out. The ongoing claim and counterclaim has been going on ever since then and I've followed it for over 50 years. How about you?
    It doesn't matter what the history of the Islands is as since around 1969 when the gas and/or oil reserves were discovered China/Taiwan/Japan have been claiming the islands. Does anyone really think there will be a reasonable agreement made in this regard? There will be a winner and there will be a loser. Any guesses?

    The US declaring neutrality over the status of the islands is by no means wise. As can be seen it has left the door wide open for China to exploit by the creation of a confrontation as is now happening. Not wise... but rather a demonstration of diplomatic ineptitude.
    Last edited by JMA; 09-26-2010 at 02:40 PM.

  9. #209
    Council Member Ken White's Avatar
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    Default Of course not

    Quote Originally Posted by JMA View Post
    Ken, I'm not sure you are being forced to participate in this thread, are you?
    I merely chime in when the mood strikes. Egregiousness is its own reward.
    There will be a winner and there will be a loser. Any guesses?
    The first sentence is possibly correct; the second certainly is, it would be a guess -- as you point out, the issue became an issue only in the 70s and its been back and forth ever since. Way too early to tell.
    Not wise... but rather a demonstration of diplomatic ineptitude.
    Your opinion is noted. Others vary.

  10. #210
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    Default words mean stuff

    Quote Originally Posted by Tukhachevskii View Post
    And I don't think "sophistication" is the right word, I'd favour "precision"
    Precision...good word. You know I was just razzin' ya to clumsily make my point. Thanks for being a good sport.

  11. #211
    Council Member Dayuhan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JMA View Post
    The following article from Al Jazeera has a similar take on the China-Japan stand-off as I do. I take no joy in the proof that my position is not a lone voice in the wilderness but continue to be saddened that so many people for one reason or the other were unable to accurately read the situation as it developed.
    Of course there will always be people who want to blow these things out of proportion and make more of them what we are. It’s a specialty among some quarters of the media. You’ll also find some voices of horror raised on the remote fringes of the American far right, where the demise of the reds has led a few to seek their fear fix from the yellow peril. You might even find a few singing the same tune in East Asia, where the China peril is periodically raised by those seeking to beat the nationalist drum or divert attention from their own ineptitude. None of this makes the incidents in question anything but what they are: one more passing round in an essentially meaningless long-running charade.

    Quote Originally Posted by JMA View Post
    Following on with the same train of thought you will then recognise the term death by a thousand cuts (which I have used before) as an ancient form of Chinese torture. This I submit is how China is flexing its muscles in the region and in the world. One "cut" at a time. Nothing to get worried about some will say but the progress will be sure... and by the time they wake up it will be too late.
    The problem with this formulation is that nobody’s been cut, even once. Nobody’s interests have been sacrificed, nobody’s lost anything. The incidents in question will be quickly forgotten and the status quo ante resumed. The worst anyone could have suffered would be a transient ego bruise, but nobody dies of those, even with a thousand or more of them.

    It’s important to realize that these fishing boat intrusions happen al the time… as in every day. Most of the time they’re ignored. When someone feels it’s getting out of hand or they want to make a point, they round up a boat, threaten prosecution, everybody bristles a bit, and the crews and boats are released (nobody really wants to prosecute these guys, waste of time and money). The apprehending party lays down a marker by showing that they can and will apprehend, the other party lays down a counter marker by getting their boat and people back, everyone goes back to business as usual and by and by it happens again. Been that way for ages. At the end of the day nobody has won or lost anything and nobody’s been hurt in any material way.

    Quote Originally Posted by JMA View Post
    The US declaring neutrality over the status of the islands is by no means wise. As can be seen it has left the door wide open for China to exploit by the creation of a confrontation as is now happening. Not wise... but rather a demonstration of diplomatic ineptitude.
    How are these islands a concern to the US, and what would the US gain from trying to insert itself into that dispute? Silly, really, we’ve enough problems of our own without pushing ourselves into other people’s arguments.

    The only real gainers from China/US tension are the North Koreans, who would love to see the two parties facing off with each other, over anything. Of course when the meaningless bluster bouts are done the US and China will generally line up on the same side on the North Korea issue, simply because their interests in that situation are quite close together. Strange bedfellows maybe, but politics is known to make ‘em.

  12. #212
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dayuhan View Post

    [big snip]
    I'm going to pass on responding to this but post, for your edification, the following:

    Brookings's Lieberthal Interview on China's Diplomacy

  13. #213
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    Quote Originally Posted by Backwards Observer View Post
    I was just razzin' ya to clumsily make my point.
    As was I!!!

    Thanks for being a good sport.
    ditto

  14. #214
    Council Member Ken White's Avatar
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    Default Ho hum. Yet again...

    This from that link:

    "Relations between China and Japan deteriorated to the lowest point in five years during the 17-day detention of a Chinese fishing boat captain before Japanese authorities last week decided to release him. China opposed U.S.-South Korea military exercises aimed at deterring North Korea, and dismissed regional efforts to mediate maritime territorial claims." (emphasis added / kw)

    This is just the latest iteration in the NE Asia who's in charge game, it all -- say again, all -- has been going on cyclically for over 50 years, the fact that you are now paying attention to it doesn't move any of it to major crisis status...

    The fact that China now has enough money to be more assertive is obvious and well known. Noting their capability -- accurately -- is wise. 'Predicting' what they will do is less so. Over 12 years in Asia and the ME taught me that attempts to predict intentions in those areas is borderline futile, the thing I did learn was to be alert. We're doing that and that's adequate.

  15. #215
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    The fact that China now has enough money to be more assertive is obvious and well known. Noting their capability -- accurately -- is wise. 'Predicting' what they will do is less so. Over 12 years in Asia and the ME taught me that attempts to predict intentions in those areas is borderline futile, the thing I did learn was to be alert. We're doing that and that's adequate.
    This bears repeating, IMO. It's why we have a strategic warning system to begin with.
    Supporting "time-limited, scope limited military actions" for 20 years.

  16. #216
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    I was about to refer to cyclic sinophobia, but Ken beat me to the word "cyclic". Tension comes and goes, rises and falls, as it's been doing for decades. What's often forgotten is that while China's capacity to rock boats has grown exponentially with their economic success, that same economic success - and it's complete dependence on trade - has vastly increased the risk to China from serious boat-rocking and has given China an enormous investment in the status quo.

    All too often we hear China spoken of as if it were the modern analogue of Germany in 1937 or the Soviet Union of the Cold War: the enemy, an evil empire bent on conquest that must be contained, checked, opposed at every turn. A satisfying position for those who feel bereft without an enemy, but not one based on a great deal of substance.
    Last edited by Dayuhan; 09-28-2010 at 10:30 PM.

  17. #217
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    Default Carter on North Korea

    Jimmy Carter was interviewed on the Charlie Rose show of 28 September 2010 and had some interesting comment on the North Korean situation.

    Jimmy Carter, Former President of the United States

    Segment from 3.20 minutes to approx 9.40 minutes.

  18. #218
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dayuhan View Post
    All too often we hear China spoken of as if it were the modern analogue of Germany in 1937 or the Soviet Union of the Cold War: the enemy, an evil empire bent on conquest that must be contained, checked, opposed at every turn. A satisfying position for those who feel bereft without an enemy, but not one based on a great deal of substance.
    OK so that's what you think THEY believe... what do YOU believe?

  19. #219
    Council Member Dayuhan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JMA View Post
    ... what do YOU believe?
    I believe that too many people look at the transition from Chicoms to Chicaps and see only part of the picture. Yes, the Chinese have enjoyed some economic success: monumental by some metrics, modest by others. This econoc success allows them to develop some military capacity, and because it is supported by (completely dependent on, actually) export and important, it creates interests outside China that concern the Chinese.

    While China's newfound capacit to rock boats may horrify some, it also has to be recalled that China is now in the boat: a status quo power with an enormous, indeed critical, interest in maintaining the boat in clam order. China actually has numerous interests in common with the US and with the rest of the trading and oil consuming world: stable oil prices and freedom of navigation, for example.

    Casual observers also vastly underestimate, and often ignore, China's very tenuous domestic situation. They can keep the lid on as long as they keep the economy growing at a vertiginous rate, but they can't do that forever and any stutter in the economy - even more so the recession that China will eventually have - could have major domestic consequences.

    Where all that goes is that China is locked into and utterly dependent on global trade, and while they may flex a bit and try to expand the space available to them (as all rising powers do), they will not and can not do anything that would put their trading position at risk. The risks wouldn't be worth the benefits.

    ou hear a bit of nonsense passed around now and then ("China owns the US") but at a certain point it gets too ridiculous to even bother responding to. In theory China has certain leverage over the US, but in practice they can't use it without hurting themselves more than they'd hurt anyone else. Interdependence has its virtues.

    China will rise. So will India, and so will others. They will look after their interests, as all powers do. They will push a bit and demand to be treated with respect, as all rising powers (including the US in its day) do. That's the reality of a multipolar world, which is what we live in. That's not going to change, it's something we have to adjust to, not try to resist.

    I don't believe for a minute that China has any real intention of moving on Taiwan. Taiwan serves for China the function that Israel serves for Iran: gives the government something to roll out whenever they want to rally the public behind an issue that doesn't involve them. In both cases, an actual military move would have to involve a sober calculation of cost, benefit, and risk, and the output of the calculation is not going to be pretty.

    The US has high-value cards in this game, but they aren't the sort of cards you lay on the table in every minor head-bump... laying them down actually devalues them. We know they're there, so do the Chinese; that's enough.

    Of course if the current Chinese government were to fall, say as a consequence of some economic collapse, and an extreme nationalist government were to take power, all this would change... and that's possible. It's not something we can do much about, so I'm not going to lose sleep over it.

    I recall a comment from a senior manager at a major Taiwanese Compay... we were talking about China, and his observation was that the status quo is acceptable, and in a few decades when "the olds" all die off we can talk a bit of sense. We don't solve these issues, we manage them, and this is by no means unmanageable.

    I believe I'll decline to fear.

  20. #220

    Default North Korean Centrifuges

    I think the recent procurement of centrifuges by NK posses the largest proliferation in the world right now. With everyone focused on Russia, the START treaty, and how to secure 'loose' nuclear material in the former Soviet Union, we may allow uranium to slip out of NK and into hostile regional state actors (or worse, terrorists). Yet we cannot ignore the threat of direct nuclear attack by NK.

    When countries do not hold their population as valuable, and the leadership has proven that they have an erratic decision calculus, our form of deterrence fails. Since our national nuclear defense strategy depends on nuclear retaliation against anyone who initiates a nuclear attack, and we can’t guarantee North Korea won’t become a first strike nation, we cannot allow North Korea to possess nuclear weapons. If we did, the US may find itself in a situation where it is forced to use nuclear weapons against an inferior country or absorb a nuclear attack without retaliating. Both outcomes would significantly impact our national security objectives. We must declare to the international community that a nuclear North Korea is unacceptable, and commence diplomatic actions immediately FOLLOWING a low impact strike to destroy the centrifuges.

    http://onparadox.blogspot.com/

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