Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Editorial: China's waffling is enabling North Korea

I gather our unnamed Courier editor is growing bored with our little town. Maybe the annual battle over the holiday sentiment expressed atop City Hall is no longer enough to float his boat.

Back when he was kept busier scooping up Ben Hansen's road apples, Tim had his Staples button reprogrammed to buzz "Local, local, local," at every opportunity. In today's editorial it appears he's promoted himself to editor of The Washington Post. It's great to have ambition, but best to bear in mind that success requires doing your homework.

Honestly, who in the world cares what The Prescott Daily Courier thinks China should do about North Korea? Maybe Tim heard that China's been hacking the Internet, and imagines some Charlie Chan-like bureaucrat poring over his editorials, searching for foreign-policy direction. Here's a hint, editor: When you're rewriting Krauthammer, anyone interested in the subject is either gonna go read Krauthammer instead or, for those more familiar with Krauthammer's analytical skills, write you off as a right-wing wacko and move on.

Here's the homework you missed. The idea that China still values the North Korean "buffer zone" against the west is a laughable antique. International conflict is no longer prosecuted with infantry and tanks, it's done with economics and information. China would love to have an industrial consumer state like South Korea on an accessible border offering easy profits, and even confirmed that in one of the recently leaked State Department cables.

China has almost as little leverage as the rest of the world does in Pyongyang. Diplomatic and even military principles rely on people pursuing their own best interests. But in a chess game where your opponent is not trying to win, it's impossible to make sense of the board. North Korea has essentially strapped on a suicide vest, and its goals are irrational, self-referencing and sociopathic. China and everyone else in the region are doing all they can to just keep the worst from happening for another day in hopes that the regime will eventually collapse from within without too much collateral damage. No one in the region imagines that this will end as tidily as it did in East Germany, or even Yugoslavia.

The editor warns, "unless something changes dramatically with North Korea, Beijing and Pyongyang can expect a nuclear-armed South Korea and Japan in the near future," as if the Kim regime could be rationally deterred from anything or Beijing would give a rat's butt about a Japanese bomb. This is nonsense. Kim maintains his power based on perceived and invented outside threats, so pointing more missiles at him only exacerbates the situation. South Korea is already armed with American "tactical" nukes. Japan knows better, and is constitutionally prevented from getting involved in nuclear weapons beyond the nudge and wink that allows it to resupply US Navy nuke carriers.

Please, editors, I beg you, get your heads out of the teevee and focus on your community. You can imagine yourselves in Yankee Stadium all you like, but you're still playing sandlot ball, and there's no shame in that.


Catalyst said...

Ho, ho, ho! Fine, righteous humor, amigo.

Justin Rains said...

I think it benefits China for N. Korea to fall, allowing a "unfied" Korea to move forward as a some-what economic equivalent to Japan and stregthen the east in the economic world.
Why would China want to continue to support a failing state held together by the belief that an ailing dictator and his son know what's best? It's got to be stressful for the Chinese government, and if we're to believe the WikiLeaks release, China isn't as behind the North as it would once seem.
While no one may care what the Daily Courier has to say about the situation, it is interesting to talk about never the less.

Candace McNulty said...

Dear Ed:

You need a LIKE button.