Reflections on N. Korea, Russia, China, the EU, US and why we are moving backwards and forwards at a snail’s pace!

How to resolve the dispute with N. Korea’s continuing firing of ICBMs over Japan. In all humility, we seem to be making very little progress. Too little to be left entirely in the hand of our current decision makers.

On the one hand, we have DJT’s bellicose attempts threatening hell and fury unlike anything we have ever seen before, with few apparent results, and then on the other hand, Putin’s remarks that sanctions will not work because he says, the leaders in N. Korea would prefer to eat grass, and what’s more sanctions, he says are not effective. But we don’t have to believe this.

On the “third hand”, by way of digression I don’t think the Russians are openly eating grass even though sanctions have been imposed on Russia, maybe Putin is himself highly allergic to grass. And maybe sanctions have been more effective in Russia than he wants to let on. So I guess the conclusion is that the Russians obviously prefer to have sanctions and don’t have the stomach to eat grass.

This takes us to the Pandora’s box, the Chinese position. A real dilemma exists as they wish to retain power over what they consider to be their “legitimate” sphere of influence in the South China Sea (and all their ongoing land reclamation activity), and understandably they are not very happy about a growing US presence in the area. In addition, there is also the risk posed by highly effective sanctions on N. Korea which DJT has been flirting with and arguing for, and which might effectively cripple N. Korea, turning it into a failed state, thereby creating a huge refugee problem in a bordering country.

This very broadly is how I see the current impasse. So what might work? The solution in fact might be very simple. Too simple for our “responsible” decision makers.

Instead of sanctions per se, we could have combinations, sanctions in combination with a fund where the amount to be penalised by sanctions is paid into a fund. This fund would be the property of N. Korea but not accessible until N. Korea modifies its nuclear programme and ambitions. This would give N. Korea real financial incentives to change current praxis, but does not directly address the problem in N. Korea’s eyes of safeguarding against the outcomes faced by Saddam Hussein and Gaddafi. Both of whom might have preferred to eat grass.

Any other ideas? Share please if it triggers something in your thinking.

Brian Turner Sept 15th 2017


Feel free to circulate!

This Post Has 6 Comments

  1. britur

    Interesting comment, Nick, thanks!The reverse psychology approach is seductively interesting. And as you state “over and over again military intervention seems to be the norm”.However, The cost here in terms of human fatalities could be enormous. We need some creative thinking from outside the box if this is to be averted before DJT presses the trigger even by “mistake”, thinking he’s trying to get his twitter account working again!

  2. The problem with rogue states such as N. Korea is they are run by humans who don’t conform to the norm, well certainly the western norm of diplomacy then sanctions then let’s forget about what you did, and finally all back to the status quo.

    No, we have to think more outside the box, some sort of reverse psychology that you would use when trying to get a child to do something against its will.

    Now what this would be is open to debate but as time has proved over and over again, a military intervention will create more problems than it solves.

  3. britur

    Come on you too. The earth may be big, but not big enough to be complacent about a nuclear attack in Asia. Think about the South Koreans in the firing line. Agree with you about climate chnage, but one does not rule out the other.

  4. prifre

    On the other hand – come on. The earth is big – a couple of Nuclear bombs wont be noticed. I think the Climate Change and all emissions of CO2 will create weather changes that will affect the world far more than a couple of tiny rockets and bombs.

  5. britur

    I take your point. A long stalemate would be better than nuclear conflagaration. Good to hear you think it worth a trial. Perhaps I should send to DJT! Thanks for your contribution!

  6. Staffan Ros

    This could work if N. Korea is behaving rational and it could be worth a trial. If it doesn’t work, no money would have to be spent. But the difficult part is just the question that you raised at the end of your post. -How could a dictator dare to let down his only weapon? Maybe the best to hope for would be a very long stalemate.

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