As for the North Koreans, they laugh at The US Paper-Tigers and their flimsy memorandum. They issued a predictably stupid and obnoxious statement that made old Cold War Watchers yearn for the days when the Soviet Union issued these statements using well-written prose instead.
“Our army and people are fully ready for battle . . . against any reckless U.S. attempt for a pre-emptive attack,” the reclusive country’s state-run news agency said.
Imagine the Dear Leader’s chagrin when his Aide-Du-Poobah informed him that all the Americans did was issue another lame cease and desist letter. The quote “4.7 on the Frikkin’ Richter Scale, and all they can come up with is that?! Leonid Breshnev used to get front page headlines!” was not really attributed to the Dyspeptic Despot of Pyongyang, that’s just me being snarky.
Of course the recent missile test didn’t come without a long list of precursors. The Washinton Post does a good job of describing the list of provocative actions taken by North Korea this Spring.
North-South relations on the Korean Peninsula have deteriorated dramatically this spring. The North has launched a long-range missile, detained a South Korean national, kicked out U.N. nuclear inspectors, restarted a plutonium factory and halted six-nation negotiations on its nuclear program. It has also voided contracts with South Korean companies at the Kaesong industrial park, a jointly run operation just across the border from South Korea.
And yet Barack Obama thinks we should all get together and talk. Talking with our enemies always makes us stronger – provided that we actually have a gravaman for discussions. With North Korea, that gravaman does not exist. Ipso facto, President Obama’s preferred policy will not succeed in this situation.
North korea believes they are the legitimate government of all Korean people, and that they hold title to Seoul and all points South. They believe the government in Seoul consists of usurpers and that the US supports them illegitimately. In their eyes we are criminals. They have no more desire to discuss with Barack Obama than I would to twitter Chucky Manson.
Thus, the US has three valid options. We can drop a Cleveland Steamer on Kim Il Jung and take over. We can continue a slow bleed strategy of supporting a status quo arrangement, where North Koreans don’t eat three meals a day too often. The third option involves our withdrawal of the 2nd Army Division to Scofield Barracks. Call it the Acheson Perimeter.
If you read that paragraph closely, you’ll notice conversation with our enemies does not appear anywhere on the menu of available options. Neither did George W. Bush’s Six Party Talks. A successful conversation requires more than one interested listener.
So if George W. Bush and Barack Obama both followed a similarly impotent set of guidelines towards dealing with Nannutjob of The North, why then does Barack Obama get the worse end of the stick in terms of hostile conduct from North Korea? It has to do with how each man is perceived in Pyongyang. Kim Il Jung believed Gearge W. Bush had both the nerve and the nasty intent to pull the trigger. He doesn’t think Barack Obama would feel comfortable weilding a paint-pellet gun.
The long list of smaller provocations by the North Koreans were preperatory steps. They wanted to determine whether the United States was still engaged as an interested party, and whether the United States was still willing to deal with North Korea without blinking.
As a Pilot Test, these provocations told Kim Il Jung that the US no longer wanted to expend the capital of empire in his neck of the woods. This allowed him to feel safe in utterly flaunting the recent treaties he had signed with the Six Party talks under durress; instead of good will. Finally, it allowed him to feel cocky enough to express what he always has and always will feel towards Barack Obama, and all other Americans. He expressed his complete and unmitigated contempt.