[What follows is excerpted from an article by Peter Lee entitled North Korea’s ‘H-bomb’: No ado about something that was published yesterday on the Asia Times website (and the previous day on his China Matters website):]
One of the most interesting riddles of North Asian diplomacy is why the United States does not respond to Kim’s rather backhanded nuclear overtures and take this opportunity to stick it to the PRC [People’s Republic of China] by conducting a bilateral Myanmar-style rapprochement with North Korea, instead of continuing to endorse the PRC’s Six-Party-Talks formula for Beijing’s continued dominance of the DPRK [Democratic People’s Republic of Korea]’s foreign engagement.
Of course, the United States is hobbled by President Obama’s Nobel Peace Prize-worthy commitment to nuclear non-proliferation, and the awkward fact that North Korea will never give up its nukes, thanks in part to President Obama’s distinctly non-Nobel-Peace-Prize-worthy effort to acquire some Arab Spring cred by backing the bloody deposition of Muammar Gaddafi in Libya.
In addition to creating a black hole of dysfunction, anarchy, and terror in what used to be one of the more prosperous enclaves in North Africa, the Libyan adventure undid one of the few foreign policy accomplishments of George W Bush: the denuclearization (and renunciation of all WMD ambitions) by Gaddafi in an extremely expensive deal, whose outlines are worth repeating:
Gaddafi revealed and decommissioned his nuclear and chemical WMD programs under international inspection, acceded to the Chemical Weapons Convention, re-opened Libya’s oil industry to foreign investment, and ponied up over US$1 billion in compensation for the Lockerbie bombing (if, as some suspect, Iran engineered Lockerbie as retaliation for the US shootdown of Iran Air 655, the mullahs of Tehran must be grateful indeed). In return, Libya got normalized relations, a US shield from terrorism lawsuits, visits from Condoleezza Rice and Tony Blair, and the pleasure of receiving, incarcerating, and abusing repatriated anti-Gaddafi dissidents. The “Libya model” was actually touted as a precedent for bringing North Korea in from the cold.
Today, the “Libya model” works the other way.
North Korea’s jaundiced view of any security guarantees the US might be willing to provide is encapsulated in one of the rare examples of eloquence one encounters in its US-language press releases. In announcing the “H-bomb” test, the DPRK stated:
Genuine peace and security cannot be achieved through humiliating solicitation or compromise at the negotiating table.
The present-day grim reality clearly proves once again the immutable truth that one’s destiny should be defended by one’s own efforts.
Nothing is more foolish than dropping a hunting gun before herds of ferocious wolves.