I'm actually in the middle of studying for a make up test later today, so I have a flight in a few hours, but this editorial caught my eye. To be honest, it’s flimsy editorials like this one that make me want to write this blog. I can’t find exactly who the author is, but somehow it made to the Los Angeles Times.
"North Korean leader Kim Jong Il decided long ago that nuclear weapons were his best protection against an external threat of regime change" ("China is the key to North Korea" Los Angeles Times).
A couple posts down, I describe why South Korea’s foreign policy is held hostage at least with respect to North Korea due primarily to the location of Seoul. But, what I didn’t mention in that post was how while the United States could attack North Korea without much risk to being attacked at home, U.S. foreign policy too is held hostage to the fact that there are still about 28,500 U.S. soldiers in South Korea. An invasion by North Korea with or without nuclear weapons would not only destroy Seoul, but kill most of those U.S. soldiers overnight. Former President George W. Bush was told this exact same thing by former Saudi Ambassador and Crown Prince Bandar (Check out Bob Woodward’s State of Denial: Bush at War, Part III ). If twenty thousand U.S. soldiers died overnight from a North Korean invasion, then there would be no need for a congressional or public debate about the need for a U.S. invasion of North Korea. It would be done (Another reason why as I wrote earlier that Extended Deterrence was solely for propaganda purposes).
If North Korea has artillerly that can flatten Seoul and kill 28,000 thousand American soldiers and about twenty million living Koreans overnight, then this should be enough to protect against a "regime change." Then which country would have the most to lose if North Korea actually developed a full-fledged nuclear program? So, it’s not the U.S. and it’s definitely not South Korea. Japan, maybe? Recall the United States decision to notify Japan only twenty minutes before taking North Korea off the list of states sponsoring terrorism. The only terrorists North Korea actually harbored were those of the Red Army (Communist Japanese Terrorists). And, moreover, if Japan feels it “necessary” that to protect against North Korea that Japan too needs nuclear weapons, when of course, the country doesn’t (remember, Extended Deterrence covers Japan as well), then who loses?
So, if China would lose out the most if North Korea developed nuclear weapons and China is not doing too well as the more North Korea backtracks the more China’s lack of power shows (i.e. failure of six party talks, continual and unending foreign aid from Beijing), then does China really have the power to do anything in North Korea?
Perhaps. But, what if North Korea had let’s say dozens of nukes that couldn’t go thousands of miles, but could fit on its Rodong missiles that could hit Beijing?
So, no. It is to protect the North Korean regime from a China rather than a United States and China does not have the power to change North Korean policy and will see the country’s ability to do anything at all get smaller and smaller as North Korea’s nuclear program matures.
Anyways, I will be taking a break for a few days – unless I see articles like this again, and I will actually be flying on July 4th with more than a slight bit of irony to London to attend summer school there for the next 6 weeks.