U.S. to North Korea: Halt Your Belligerent Action!

Filed in Gather Politics News Channel by on November 23, 2010 0 Comments

Earlier this morning South Korea performed live-fire military exercises near the international boundary waters partitioning South and North Korea.  Although South Korean officials said they did not fire in the direction of North Korea, North Korea retaliated by bombarding the small and always-contentious island of Yeonpyeong killing two South Korean marines and injuring uncounted others including civilians, reported The Guardian.  According to Fox News’ Today’s Power Play North Korea is “like a misbehaving child on an airplane” whose “tantrums begat denunciations, which begat new talks, which begat free stuff” and has been “pretty lucrative”.  Aside from the fact that callous and severe embargos and sanctions do not work to change behavior (cf. a 50+ year embargo on Cuba, a 10-year embargo killing nearly a million civilians in Iraq which only ended in the U.S. attacking them for the second time in just over a decade) the tone of calling other sovereign nations “toddler[s]” is incendiary and irresponsible.

During Obama’s Veterans’ Day speech he spoke harshly towards N. Korea vowing continued isolation unless “they choose to fulfill their international obligations and commitments to the international community” which includes giving up nuclear weapons.  It may seem a reasonable proposition to Americans that keeping nuclear weapons out of the hands of N. Koreans makes the world safer, but from the perspective of North Koreans and people around the world who do not swoon to America’s power, nuclear weapons may signify protection against a military super power that has never been afraid to declare war, drop bombs, subvert sovereign governments, and be the only country in the world ever to use the atom bomb on another nation—in other words, nuclear weapons may be the only guarantee of a “preemptive strike” and thus the only method given them to ensure the safety of their nation and home.

Is the U.S. playing a zero-sum game?  Has foreign policy and keeping fronts dictated the obsolescence of diplomacy?  Diplomacy by definition is the skillful handling of affairs without arousing hostility.  This is diametrically opposed to gunboat diplomacy, which is the method of choice of the U.S.  Consider that along the demilitarized zone of 160 miles that the U.S. has stationed over 28,000 troops in a deadly show of force, and consider the severe sanctions constricting this country and punishing its poorest and weakest foremost, that is, older people and young children, and perhaps it would not be unreasonable to conclude that the U.S. is disingenuous at best to talk about diplomacy by restoring the six-nations round table talks?  As White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs perfectly illustrates this double-talk by calling on North Korea to “halt its belligerent action”!  Apparently, a sovereign nation only has the right to defend itself or take precautionary measures when it’s given permission by its “grown-up nation” neighbors.

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