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From Pyongyang to Kabul, Damascus, Sana’a, on to Tripoli and in scattered parts of Asia and Africa, the United States’ policies for containing violence and achieving peace have been mostly counterproductive and intensified conflicts. The complex mixture of wars, threats, regime change, sanctions, posturing, demonizing, and vituperation have evidently been ineffective in resolving the world’s endless conflagrations. Has something been overlooked, or is it possible that U.S. participation in the solutions has made them more difficult? Instead of instituting repetitive challenges that make others roar, can a soothing and comforting tone subdue the most recalcitrant? Are the solutions to world conflagrations complex or do they need simple analysis and simplified applications?

Vietnam

Today’s Vietnam answers the latter question. The 1954 Geneva Conference Final Declaration provided for a general election in all of Vietnam. Scheduled for July 1956, it had as its purpose the creation of a unified Vietnamese state. Because they suspected a supposed antagonistic North Vietnamese would win, U.S. and South Vietnamese administrations prevented the election. Result of the U.S. complex adjustment to the ballot box was 15 years of a civil war in Vietnam with deep U.S. involvement, casualties in the millions, destruction throughout Vietnam and a North Vietnamese victory. If the U.S. had applied a basic and simple solution to the Vietnamese conflict, which allowed and supported the agreed upon voting by the competing Vietnamese, the outcome would have been the same, except for the savings of American and Vietnamese lives, and no need for 5 years of ruthless war. A short civil war might have happened; however, if the South could not win with U.S. support, how much war could it wage by itself?

Simplified Proposals to Resolve the World Conflagrations

Having observed the twisted logic by which past U.S. administrations approached the conflict in the Vietnam peninsula, is it possible that similar shallow thinking, which led to inept policies, has impeded resolution of similar conflicts? Because violence and military challenges are being used to resolve the escalating conflicts throughout the globe, should not more simplified and less aggressive approaches be surveyed and determined if they can serve to resolve the world conflagrations. Features of that determination modify current U.S. thinking:

(1) Rather than concluding nations want to confront U.S. military power, realize nations fear military power and desire peaceful relations with the powerful United States.

(2) Rather than attempting to steer adversaries to a lose position, steer them to a beneficial position.

(3) Rather than denying nations the basic requirements for survival, assist their populations in times of need.

(4) Rather than provoking nations to military buildup and action, assuage them into feeling comfortable and unthreatened.

(5) Rather than challenging by military threat, show willingness to negotiate to a mutually agreed solution.

(6) Rather than interfering in domestic disputes, recognize the sovereign rights of all nations to solve their own problems.

(7) Rather than relying on incomplete information, purposeful myths, and misinterpretations, learn to understand the vagaries and seemingly irrational attitudes of sovereign nations whose cultures produce different mindsets.

This complete report, dispatched in separate articles, will examine simplified proposals to resolve conflicts in the following nations:

Democratic Republic of North Korea (DPRK)

Syria

Afghanistan

Iraq

Yemen

Libya

Iran

Russia

The reports start with an article on North Korea.

Note: Incorporates information from previous AIternative Insight articles.

Democratic Republic of North Korea (DPRK)

During the 60+ years that the U.S. has engaged North Korea, Uncle Sam has pushed the little impoverished state to become a military superpower, with ballistic missiles, nuclear weapons and a developing capability to strike U.S. shores. By signing the 1994 Agreed Framework, the United States agreed to “provide formal assurances to the DPRK against the threat or use of nuclear weapons by the U.S.” Reneging, in a tit-for tat manner, on agreements to supply the Hermit Kingdom with two nuclear reactors, temporary fuel, and food in trade for the North halting its nuclear program, the U.S. provoked North Korea into become a nuclear armed nation. From the north’s perspective, the hostile nature of Uncle Sam’s rhetoric did not “provide formal assurances to the DPRK against the threat or use of nuclear weapons by the U.S.”

Evidently, the United States had suspicions that the North did not intend to halt its nuclear activities after receiving the agreed food and fuel. Evidently, North Korea concluded the United States was stalling in its promise to supplying fuel and food as its part of the bargain and decided to go ahead until the U.S. fulfilled its commitments. Faulty behavior from the two nations provoked their eventual confrontation.

Did it matter if the deprived DPRK population received needed food and fuel, even if their country’s leaders violated the agreements? Testing the leadership’s veracity would have settled the issue. If the North Koreans received the goods and continued in their nuclear preparations, then the U.S. could act upon a moral high ground, with definite evidence of North Korea’s duplicity, and be more able to conduct a retaliatory policy. However, the U.S. continually antagonized the Kims, promoted regime collapse, and forced them to pursue the nuclear option. The dispatching to oblivion of two dictators who had retreated from developing nuclear weapons – Saddam Hussein and Moammar Gaddafi – sent a clear indication to Kim Jong-un that if he halted his nuclear developments he would assuredly suffer a similar ignominious fate.

Can a revised and basic plan reverse the course of North Korea’s belligerent attitude?

Definitely. Why would a resource-limited nation want to waste resources for military developments? What does North Korea gain by challenging the United States, except committing itself to be demolished one day? The obvious explanation for North Korea’s excessive attention to military prowess is its potential as a deterrent against attack. Having military maneuvers by foreign powers off your coasts, and having troops from an antagonistic nation stationed close to your borders generates fear. What would any country do that has been characterized by the world’s major military power as part of an ‘axis of evil?’ It would develop deterrents to protect itself against threats. It would ensure energy reserves and create a military force that counters nuclear powers. It would develop nuclear or other weapons of mass destruction. Political strategists recite a “nuclear bee-sting” alternative, in which smaller states obtain a nuclear weapon to deter major military action against them. North Korean leaders are demonstrating that the “nuclear bee-sting” proposition fits their strategy of preventing a U.S. military confrontation on the Korean peninsula.

North Korea is not threatening the U.S; it is challenging the U.S. to leave it alone in its arrangements, which the U.S. rebuts as derangements and misery. Why insult their leaders when they are not demanding that the U.S. reduce its addictive drugs, crime, and the hundreds of ghettos across its wealthy continent. If the United States and South Korea halt their threatening military maneuvers, and the U.S. moves its troops out of South Korea will the North react positively? Of course. Get rid of the sanctions, help North Korea with its energy and food problems, leave them alone to resolve their own domestic problems and the world will witness a different North Korea; not a model democracy or one that respects individual rights, more similar to China, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Venezuela and a host of other nations that bother the United States and do not invite military confrontation. One important feature of the new DPRK will be that it will not pose a threat to the U.S.

Repression of political views and suppression of human rights occur in the DPRK, but are they as described by its antagonists?

A previous article, Comprehending North Korea, at http://www.alternativeinsight.com/Comprehending_North_Korea.html, showed that labor camps might exist but their descriptions are speculative and inaccurate; examination of supposed photos by the Free Korea Movement indicated guard posts were only shadows, fenced walls did not cover the entire areas, and dissidents were often escaped common criminals. A well-known South Korean, who had often visited the North told the writer that the camps were labor camps, but not horrific concentration camps – the government sends dissident officials to populate guarded towns and live and work at specific activities outside of the general public environment. Frightful labor camps might exist, but we need reliable evidence of their nature and extent.

For sure, North Korea is distinct from other nations. Despite its offensive and dictatorial regime, the DPRK has some meritorious qualities.

1) Unlike its southern brother, the DPRK uses little of the world’s resources, maybe not entirely by design. It might be naive thinking, but North Korea gives an impression that even if it were a prosperous nation, it would be a nation of conservation, and living without excessive material means.

2) Despite its seemingly oppressive operations, it is a united nation, whose population considers attachment to a singular effort. If this is due to a conditioning, that is not unique. Aren’t Americans conditioned? If not, why do they send their children to kill, be killed, or maimed in senseless wars?

3) Its sports regimens have created world-class gymnasts, engaged the entire nation in athletic games, and provided the most beautiful cheerleaders in the world. The latter have been sensations at World Soccer cup and other international games. See them at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CfKiLVzVzoU

4) Its juche political philosophy of self-reliance deserves attention. It is explained by Grace Lee, in Stanford Journal of East Asian Affairs, Volume 3 | Number 1 | Spring 2003, P.105 as,

…being the master of revolution and reconstruction in one’s own country. This means holding fast to an independent position, rejecting dependence on others, using one’s own brains, believing in one’s own strength, displaying the revolutionary spirit of self-reliance, and thus solving one’s own problems for oneself on one’s own responsibility under all circumstances,

There is one major problem in the Korean peninsula and it does not involve the United States.

North and South Korea have a local problem of how to unify, which only they can work out. Due to South Korea’s preference to having a relatively weak military, the U.S. has been willing to supply the added muscle, which has internationalized the problem and pushed North Korea toward military confrontation. Does the U.S. care about South Korea’s sovereignty or does it want South Korea as an Asian land base for its military, and is it troubled that a united North and South Korea might be an economic powerhouse that threatens U.S. interests?

North Korea might go down in history as the nation that awakened the world to the consequences of global saber rattling. It has shown that the nuclear world can become one big poker game, in which a challenge to a bluff can be an ‘all win’ and ‘all lose’ proposition. Which New York gambler is willing to play that game when an ‘all win’ doesn’t add much more to what he already has, and an ‘all lose’ means leaving him with nothing. The odds greatly favor America, but the wager return is not worth taking the bet, despite the odds.

Keep it sweet and simple and let the Koreans settle their own problems.

Dan Lieberman is DC based editor of Alternative Insight, a commentary on foreign policy and politics. He is author of the book A Third Party Can Succeed in America and a Kindle: The Artistry of a Dog.

  • K SHESHU BABU

    The attitude of North Korea is ‘ shaped’ by US belligerent character in it’s approach. The Trump government is forcing nuclear weapons build up as it is arming South Korea and the surrounding areas with missile technology and other defence equipment. Thus, instead of reduction, the risk of war is rising alarmingly . If peace is to prevail, both nations must stop arms build up and reach a consensus to have a safe and secure world