Monday, January 06, 2003
Okay, I can't stop with North Korea. But I'll try to be a little more restrained.
NRO is having a bit of a Korean crisis of their own. They are not sure whether the situation there proves that we really need the UN after all or whether it proves that we need to get out of Korea. Since these are polar opposite reactions, it seems that the mainstream conservative commentariat is still flummoxed by the Dear Leader.
On the other hand, both of these are good pieces. And, fortunately, the two approaches are not entirely contradictory.
We have issues with North Korean nukes that transcend the situation on the penninsula: they are part of the axis of evil and will surely sell material and technology to Iran. But we also have an interest in keeping South Korea reasonably happy, since we don't want them to become part of a pro-Chinese anti-American bloc (this dimension of the problem continues to be absent from most analyses of the crisis). This should be a discussion we can frankly have with the South Koreans: we are ready to revise the status-of-forces agreement, and even remove the troops if that's what the South wants. But we can't let the South veto American action against North Korea when North Korea threatens American interests.
Again, this comes back to my point: we want self-confident, strong allies who see their interests aligned with America, not weak, dependent allies who resort to anti-Americanism to restore their self-respect.