Metcalf: Terminal Hubris
By Geoff Metcalf
North Korea, in the wake of chronic, routine lying, obfuscating and unbridled arrogance has now officially 'flipped off' the United States, China, Russia, Japan, and South Korea. Neener, neener, neener.....
The ‘Axis of Evil’ charter member with the goofy hair apparently "sees no need" to continue nuclear talks with the five nations it met with in Beijing.
A North Korean foreign ministry spokesman said, "The talks have made us believe that we have no other choice but to strengthen our nuclear deterrent force as a self-defensive means...We are not interested at all in this kind of talks and do not have any hopes, for continuing the negotiations.”
The North Korean “nuclear deterrent” is myopically presumed to be a counter balance to assumed nuclear threat from the United States, Russia, and/or China? Talk about presuming facts not in evidence? This is geopolitically analogous to taking a knife to a gunfight.
Pyongyang regularly issues barbed, threatening, snotty statements and vows to inflict harsh punishments on its enemies. It generally does not deliver on its threats unless the victim is a helpless North Korean refugee.
However, now the five insulted countries now have to determine a risk analysis of a paranoid, egomaniacal, wack-job who just happens to have nuclear weapons and a penchant for having articulated a willingness to use them. As American cinematic icon Harry Callahan would say, "Do you feel lucky punk? Well, do you???"
North Korea quickly discovered the annoying reality check that they had no allies prepared to side with them against the U.S.
The U.S. is serious (this time) about Pyongyang dismantling its nuclear program.
Analysts speculate the North may have decided that it has nothing to gain by extending the dialogue.
Or may just want to change the venue, the format, or even the negotiating partners in the next round.
They tried (unsuccessfully) to restrict talks to bilateral negotiations between just North Korea and the U.S.
Provocative threats are no longer restricted to Chicom saber rattlers. North Korea has said they have nuclear weapons and may stage a nuclear test to prove that they work.
North Korea is pushing for the U.S. to sign a non-aggression treaty. The United States has made it clear that dog won’t hunt unless or until there is VERIFIABLE proof of the North dismantling its nuclear program. Catch-22!
If or when North Korea starts nuclear tests, the U.S. has clearly stated an intention to impose international sanctions that would include interdicting North Korean ships at sea.
Before critics suggest that is an act of war, remember…we are STILL at war with North Korea and have been for over 50 years. If a frustrated North Korea formally bails from the multilateral talks it is apparently intentionally ambiguous what we would or would not do.
Arguably the most significant wrinkle in the latest North Korean posturing is “What about China?”
North Korea and China have had a close relationship for a long time.
China is the North’s largest donor and trading partner.
China is the only country to have successfully mediated its relations with the U.S.
Despite the most recent provocation, reportedly there WILL be another round of the six-party talkfest in two months. Why is anybody’s guess…..
Political analysts view the North Korean recalcitrance as “a major slap in the face to China”. China announced the agreement with lots of bells and whistles crowing about “new talks” as a signal that China’s efforts really did yield diplomatic fruit. The North’s insult to China will not be accepted lightly…maybe.
It may be too early to tell how China will respond or what they will do. However, China has a full arsenal of economic options to pressure Pyongyang if they don’t make nice.
If it turns out that North Korea wants to destroy the talks, then China may stop taking soft steps, and get heavy handed.
Japan's chief negotiator at the talks, Mitoji Yamanaka, is in complete denial. "The meeting was the first round on the nuclear problem, and I believe a movement in the direction of denuclearization clearly emerged,"….Yeah right! Based on what?
North Korea is between the rock and the hard place. They are clearly frustrated with the new paradigm. Historically they have been able to lie, obfuscate, stonewall, and threaten and get rewarded for bad behavior. Now they are confronted with a presumably harsh reality check that they are being compelled to comply by all the big dogs and the absurdity of actually being held accountable for their behavior.
China is the lynch pin…and they are not to be trusted.
About the Author
Federal Observer contributor Geoff Metcalf is a nationally syndicated radio talk show host for TALK AMERICA and a veteran media performer. He has had an eclectic professional background covering a wide spectrum of radio, television, magazine, and newspapers. A former Green Beret and retired Army officer he is in great demand as a speaker. . Visit Geoff's Web Site. While you're at it - pick up a copy of Geoff's latest book!
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