May 21 (Bloomberg) -- Secretary of State Hillary Clinton arrives in Asia today for talks with China and U.S. allies now focused on how to manage a crisis over suspected North Korean involvement in the sinking of a South Korean warship.
Kurt Campbell, the U.S. assistant secretary of state for East Asia, said the "central issue" for Clinton will be getting assessments of how to respond to North Korea after an international probe blamed the communist regime for firing a torpedo that killed 46 South Korean sailors on March 26.
The U.S. is "facing a very serious set of circumstances in the coming days," Campbell said in Washington on May 19.
South Korea demanded a "stern" global response to the findings of the international panel. North Korea threatened "all-out war" if the United Nations toughens sanctions that have already crippled a country suffering from crop failure and mass hunger.
Well, we certainly wouldn't want to impose sanctions and starve the poor North Korean people.
Of course, the trouble is, Americans (and, of course, many others on the world scene) are decent people; we don't consider the North Korean people our enemy, even if their government leaves a great deal to be desired.
Well, think about it - so does our own; but, even the Obamanistas aren't that bad (thank God for our Constitution).
But, the North Korean people don't suffer because of any sanctions; they suffer because of an idiotic and brutal regime that runs the country. Even if food were sent to North Korea, the food would be diverted to the soldiers of the Korean People's Army; it wouldn't get to the suffering people.
So, better to starve the militarized state of resources than to feed its war machine.
U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates said South Korea must take the initiative in any response. "This was an attack on a South Korean ship and the South Koreans need to be in the lead," he said yesterday.
For years, behind the scenes the concern for peace on the peninsula was not that the North Koreans might come south; the concern was that the South Koreans might go north, and that the American forces there as a tripwire were more to keep South Koreans on the South of the DMZ than the North Koreans on the North of it.
Maybe the South Koreans should go north.
And, maybe we should not try to stop them.
Skipping down, the article mentions other issues on the agenda, then says:
U.S. officials said all those issues will take second place to talks about the South Korean finding that its 1,200-ton naval ship "Cheonan" was torpedoed by China's ally, North Korea. China called for "calm and restraint" yesterday, and Foreign Ministry spokesman Ma Zhaoxu said China was conducting its own assessment of the incident.
The government that killed 3,000 of its own peacefully demonstrating citizens in Tiananmen Square in 1989 is calling for calm and restraint. That's quality.
North Korea's own news website - which is quite lame, even by MSM standards - has nothing on this topic. You would think they would be howling about US provocations and threatening armageddon if attacked. I think their news service's silence says something about Pyongyang's guilt in this incident.
In Japan Today, there is an article entitled N Korea crisis looms as Clinton heads to Japan, date May 21. It begins:
WASHINGTON — U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton's three-nation Asia tour is likely to be dominated by a new crisis with North Korea — this time accused of sinking a South Korean naval ship with a deadly torpedo attack.
South Korea's release Wednesday of a report blaming North Korea for the March 26 sinking of the South Korean warship Cheonan changed the outlook for Clinton's trip, her fifth to Asia as America's top diplomat.
Just hours before Clinton departed, the White House called the ship sinking an "act of aggression" that is "one more instance of North Korea's unacceptable behavior and defiance of international law." In a statement, officials called it "a challenge to international peace and security and ... a violation of the Armistice Agreement" that ended the Korean War.
As you are likely aware, the Korean War did not end with a peace treaty. It basically ended with a cease-fire. The United States, part of the UN coalition that responded to the North Korean attack on the South, is technically still at war with North Korea, though it is a war with a UN flag over it.
And, that is interesting.
An internationally-sanctioned war ended in a cease-fire, which has now been violated by the country that began the war and was militarily punished by an international force for its aggression.
So, why doesn't the international community go in and kick North Korea's butt for this "violation of the Armistice Agreement"? No one needs any further resolution - just the resolve to deal with the fourth- (or maybe fifth-?) largest army in the world.
Come to think of it, North Korea is the most heavily-militarized society in the world. Entire airbases - including runways - are dug under mountains; aircraft can launch directly out of holes in the mountains. Extensive formations of elite forces are ready to infiltrate south of the DMZ into the enemy's rear area, via aircraft, submersible, boat, tunnel, and other means, and cause the enemy to fight not just advancing hordes of North Korean troops supported by armor and artillery, but commandoes and saboteurs behind the lines as well.
Maybe that is why no one will go into Pyongyang and deal with East Asia's little bully - the Democratic People's Republic of Korea projects too tough an image.
So, as a May 21 article in Asia Times Online concludes:
This is a standoff in which it's wise to expect the unexpected. The sense, though, is the North has made a fundamental point. There's not much South Korea will do beside engage in threats and words while China makes up for the losses in trade, aid and diplomatic sympathy.
Bush-43 made noise about weapons of mass destruction (WMD), labeling Iraq, Iran and North Korea an "Axis of Evil". Though Iraq had no WMD, it got invaded, and its regime changed. But North Korea thumbed its nose at America's Decider-in-Chief, and declared that it had indeed tested a nuclear weapon - twice.
Now North Korea has committed an overt act of war, a violation of a cease-fire, targeting a country it is still technically at war with - a country that has standing international sanction to clean North Korea's clock.
And nothing will happen.
Unless and until...
Stay tuned for Part 2.