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  1. #31
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    Default Re: Murder /Assassination of Kim Jong Nam

    I think there are two additional issues involved here, one is the elusive concept of 'international legitimacy' and the other is the 'Neo-Con' strategy of regime change that is associated with the GW Bush Presidency although it has antecedents.

    In the case of international legitimacy, one aspect of the Cold War was an attempt by one side to deny the other the legitimacy of being an independent state, claiming that independence was denied by its relations with an external agent. The obvious examples would be West Germany/East Germany -East Germany controlled by the USSR; North Korea/South Korea -North Korea tied to China, and North Vietnam/South Vietnam -North Vietnam dependent on USSR (this was Kissinger's view). In these three cases there was a simple division between capitalism and communism with the tone registered as threat: IF South Vietnam 'falls' to Communism, the rest -from Cambodia to India- will follow. IF the west does not maintain a strong presence in West Germany, the whole of western Europe will face potential invasion from the USSR (people actually believed this rubbish).

    North Korea posed something of a dilemma because it had been a victim of Japan's Imperial ambitions as far back as 1910 and while Korean unity was viewed as something positive in the long term, the Chinese- rather than Soviet- sponsored regime in Pyongyang created its own version of communism, resisting the trend taken in East Germany, that appeared to suggest that if the North dominated a new Korea in fact it would be a client state of China and thus no more independent than it was under the Japanese. This in turn played into the view which still holds in some quarters, that China sees itself as an Imperial power in East Asia where Empire does not appeal.

    Regime Change comes into the picture because it was both resisted and practiced in the past. Possibly because of the nuclear status of the powers, but more probably because of other practical issues, the West never forced the issue in Germany, indeed it may have been because it was Germany with its difficult history that the confrontation was mostly ideological, though one notes that Willy Brandt's Ostpolitik began a process of 'normalization' which attempted to find common ground between East and West, and that some cross-border initiatives have been and gone between North and South Korea.

    But there was one stunning example of regime change before Iraq and that was Kampuchea's reckless invasion of Vietnam in 1979 which led the latter to counter-invade and change the regime in Phnom Penh, ending the ghastly rule of the Khmer Rouge. The consequence, however, in terms of international legitimacy, was that the UN protocols which are opposed to the violent overthrow of one regime by another, meant that, for example, for years afterward, the British government refused to recognize the legitimacy of the new government in Cambodia -which it viewed as a puppet govt of the Vietnamese- thus preferring to give legitimacy to the defeated Khmer Rouge regardless of their crimes against humanity.

    This is a crucial point, because sovereignty appears to mean that if the government of a state attacks its own citizens, there is nothing in international law that the UN can do about it, even if the govt selects a minority group within the state. International Humanitarian Law (sometimes the Law of Intervention) is ill-defined. Genocide, as far as I can tell, is best prosecuted after the fact rather than during it. For Russia, as it was for the USSR, this has been a cardinal virtue in international relations which they protected throughout the Cold War as their way of intervening -they claimed at the request of the legitimate government- in Hungary, Czechoslovakia, Afghanistan, etc- and which they see as the great Sin of the West, pointing to the aftermath of regime change in Iraq and Libya, and the potential chaos of regime change in Syria.

    For all the rhetoric of violent confrontation with North Korea that at least implies regime change, the reality is that most of the parties look at it with the sobering reality of the past. And, for North Korea, being regarded as a legitimate state with all the rights the UN Charter confers, is seen as an essential ingredient to its survival. It doesn't matter how badly run a state may be, stability of the international system rather than instability is preferred and thus one sees the powers tip-toeing around North Korea not really knowing what to do that will produce their desired endgame. But as happened with East Germany and the USSR, autocracy and corruption cannot last and in time these regimes implode, so it may just be a matter of time before internal contradictions bring the North Korean experiment to an end.


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  2. #32
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    Default Re: Murder /Assassination of Kim Jong Nam

    The New Yorker magazine journalist Evan Osnos has recently returned from North Korea , interesting article from the current issue of the magazine.
    http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/20...th-north-korea



  3. #33
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    Default Re: Murder /Assassination of Kim Jong Nam

    One wonders if the President of the USA was making a serious threat when saying of the USA that if 'forced to defend itself and its allies, we will have no choice but to totally destroy North Korea'. It is widely recognized, and not just in the US that there are few military options with regard to North Korea that do not bring with them potentially catastrophic consequences for the inhabitants of both Koreas, but it is also the case that far from being exhausted diplomatic initiatives have yet to be pursued with vigour. I have yet to see anyone attempt to engage with Kim directly by meeting with him and asking him what it is that he wants.

    The basic idea that North Korea's attempt to build a nuclear arsenal is a threat to world peace applies to everyone else who has such weapons, be it the US, Russia, India and Pakistan, and Israel -indeed, given the threats Israel has made to attack Iran it would seem logical for Iran to arms itself with nuclear weapons, even though it has now said it will not pursue that goal in a deal from which the President suggests he wants to withdraw the USA's support (a move that would make it more likely for Iran to change policy and develop a nuclear weapons capability). As for the comments he made before the infantile Rocket Man jibe, that relates to those countries that have supplied North Korea, it must include the USA's ally in South Asia, namely Pakistan, and does not even begin to explain how Israel became a nuclear power, starting with the secret deals Ben-Gurion made with France in the 1950s.

    Or it could be another attack on China, using North Korea as a proxy, but again one wonders what it is that this President wants when he thinks of the deal on the table that is signed and delivered. On the one hand, he has accused China of currency manipulation and stealing American jobs, but does not want to admit that the success of capitalism in China has given consumers in the USA affordable flat screen tv's, affordable smart phones and computers; affordable clothes; that without capitalism in China in which the US invested billions of dollars, the recession of the 1980s would probably have dragged on for another 20 years.

    But this is a man who has built his entire political career on resentment and anger, mostly caused by Barack Obama. He has been encouraged by Stephen Miller (who probably wrote most of the UN speech), Rupert Murdoch and other friends, to select his victims because they suit their agenda of radical change, and not to praise their friends, and not to praise the alternative ways of doing things that are happening right under his nose in the USA. He appears to be turning into an isolated figure, worthy only of ridicule, thus also appearing to be the mirror-image of Rocket Man. Though this could be dangerous, one can only hope that the Generals really are in charge of the US, and that they are not about to rocket the US into another unwinnable overseas adventure at a cost of a Million Lives and a Trillion Dollars. Unless they feel they have to do something to placate the vanity of Saudi Arabia's best friend.

    Or maybe we are supposed to live on the edge of a permanent crisis, just in case Americans realise he is the most useless and ineffective President in the history of this office?


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    Last edited by Stavros; 09-20-2017 at 10:52 AM.

  4. #34
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    Default Re: Murder /Assassination of Kim Jong Nam

    I was looking at some article on the differences between Eastern and Western Germany, and came across this brief but informative article on why the re-unification of the two Koreas, should it ever happen, should not be compared to what happened to Germany after 1989. The article goes some way to explaining the apparent resilience of the regime in North Korea, for example

    The Communist regimes in Eastern Europe collapsed so quickly in part because the populations there had shed any identification with the official ideology. In North Korea, Communism remains a rhetorical flourish — much as the word “democratic” in the country’s official name — but doesn’t shape the government’s programs or the population’s affections. The official dogma of juche (roughly, self-reliance) is too abstract and infinitely pliable a concept to command fealty. What is left, however, is nationalism, which the Kim dynasty has deployed in increasing doses to tie the regime’s legitimacy to a putative 5,000-year-old history, distinguish North Korean “purity” from South Korea’s “polluted” cosmopolitanism, and offer an illusion of security to contrast with the insecurities of globalization.

    In short, North Korea — unlike the East European regimes of 1989 — seems to be on the verge of remaining the same, with some minor variations, for some time.

    Full article is here-
    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/john-f...b_4767687.html



  5. #35
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    Default Re: Murder /Assassination of Kim Jong Nam

    Quote Originally Posted by Stavros View Post
    One wonders if the President of the USA was making a serious threat when saying of the USA that if 'forced to defend itself and its allies, we will have no choice but to totally destroy North Korea'. It is widely recognized, and not just in the US that there are few military options with regard to North Korea that do not bring with them potentially catastrophic consequences for the inhabitants of both Koreas, but it is also the case that far from being exhausted diplomatic initiatives have yet to be pursued with vigour. I have yet to see anyone attempt to engage with Kim directly by meeting with him and asking him what it is that he wants.
    A war with North Korea is likely to kill hundreds of thousands or millions. Saber rattling without a war is likely to make North Korea accelerate its weapons programs and act. Sanctions without any attempt at talks is unlikely to deter North Korea. The only option is as you say other diplomatic initiatives that include discussions with China and negotiations with Kim to minimize the threat. The fact that Trump is engaged in saber rattling and is whipping up conflict makes me believe he is interested in war. Everything he has done so far has taken a potential threat and made it more immediate. It has done nothing to deter or dissuade or neutralize.

    Assuming that there is some coordination within his administration, and that's not a perfectly safe assumption, it doesn't look like he wants to be tough because in this case it might deter, but because it will cause war.



  6. #36
    5 Star Poster sukumvit boy's Avatar
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    Default Re: Murder /Assassination of Kim Jong Nam

    http://charlierose.com/videos/31007
    BBC international correspondent Lyse Doucet reports on N Korea , with Charlie Rose.


    Last edited by sukumvit boy; 10-01-2017 at 02:03 AM.

  7. #37
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    Default Re: Murder /Assassination of Kim Jong Nam

    Former CIA Deputy Directer Michael Morrell and Nicholas Burns of The Harvard Kennedy School discuss N Korea.

    http://charlierose.com/videos/31011



  8. #38
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    Default Re: Murder /Assassination of Kim Jong Nam

    I noticed some discussion in the media lately on he point that Trump has decided to surround himself with generals , and the old adage that ,"when you're a hammer everything looks like a nail ",with regard to what to do about North Korea.



  9. #39
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    Default Re: Murder /Assassination of Kim Jong Nam

    On the one hand the Generals satisfy the needs of a President who wants to reverse the 'strategic caution' of President Obama by providing the rationale for a military attack. Generals regularly practice 'war games' to see how a military event begins, how it is conducted, the impact it has, how it ends, and what the consequences are. They do this for North Korea, for Iran, and many other scenarios.

    On other other hand, presenting the case in terms of what a military event looks like is not the same as advocating it, and the impression one gets is that the Generals have said yes, an attack on North Korea's military installations is possible and would be effective, but would also ignite retaliation from the North with the South its targets, so that the negative political consequences outweigh any military advantage.

    A General on the BBC today suggested again that a military strike that targeted Iran's production of missiles was possible in practical terms, and one could see how the US would argue it has a military advantage in reducing Iran's missile capabilities. But, again, other than the loss of life issue, and setting aside the view that such a strike would only delay further production of missiles, Iran would also retaliate, but not in the manner one is led to expect North Korea would retaliate.

    The example is the USS Vincennes obliterating Iran Airflight 655 in July 1988 killing all 290 passengers and crew. In December of the same year Pan Am Flight 103 blew up over the Scottish town of Lockerbie killing all 259 passengers and crew and 11 people on the ground. All the evidence suggests this was retaliation by Iran, and is an example of how Iran could retaliate, and the US knows this.

    In the meantime, Rex Tillerson has shredded the Department of State of many of its foreign policy specialists, others who were appointed in the Obama era left when the new Presidency began, which makes one wonder if there is anyone in the building who has any expertise in Iran and Korea, not that this matters to the President who appears to rely on Netanyahu for intelligence on Iran, a bad source with its own agenda. And at the same time the President is talking up war with North Korea, the US has yet to appoint an ambassador to South Korea.
    While this gives the Generals the keys to the door of the Oval Office one can only hope they caution the very restraint the President associates with Obama, as he is dedicated to trashing everything Obama achieved because the former President made a fool of him in public, and nobody gets away with that.


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    Last edited by Stavros; 10-12-2017 at 08:55 AM.

  10. #40
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    Default Re: Murder /Assassination of Kim Jong Nam

    From today's Press:

    Donald Trump has accepted an invitation from the North Korean leader, Kim Jong-un, to hold an unprecedented summit meeting to discuss the future of the embattled regime’s nuclear and missile programme.
    https://www.theguardian.com/world/20...uclear-weapons

    From the press in 1994

    North Korea and South Korea have agreed to hold a summit meeting to resolve nuclear tensions, the Associated Press reported South Korean officials as saying. It quoted them as saying that the North Korean leader had proposed the meeting through Mr. Carter and that President Kim Young-Sam of South Korea had accepted but that the details have yet to be worked out.
    http://www.nytimes.com/1994/06/18/wo...it-really.html

    Madeline Albright eventually made the trip:

    President Bill Clinton didn’t go meet with Kim Jong Un’s father himself, but eager for a diplomatic win at the end of his presidency, he sent Secretary of State Madeleine Albright for the meeting in 2000. Writing in the New York Times in 2017, Albright recalled, “I held two days of intensive talks, during which [Kim Jong Il] appeared willing to accept more significant restraints on the missile programs than we had expected.” But she continued, “Obviously, if this dilemma were easy to resolve, it would have been settled long ago. The fundamental problem is that the North Korean leadership is convinced it requires nuclear weapons to guarantee its own survival.”
    http://time.com/5192579/trump-meets-...n-north-korea/


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