Tuesday, December 20, 2011



Presumed GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney (See my characteristically remarkably prescient 7/19/11 piece MICHELE AND SARAH, MAKE ROOM FOR THE FAT LADY.), never one to let an opportunity to preen and grandstand pass him by, used the death of North Korean tinpot Kim Jong Il to urge President Obama

Cancel your Christmas vacation. This is one of the greatest opportunities of the last twenty five years as relates (sic) to that part of the world. And the president should be actively engaged with China, South Korea, Japan, and potentially even trying to establish dialogue with North Korea.”

Oh really? It looks like Mr. Romney is either displaying a stunning lack of knowledge of matters concerning the Korean peninsula, a propensity toward the starry-eyed naiveté that characterizes most Republicans (most politicians, really), especially those of the neo-con variety, or the political opportunism that afflicts just about every politician.

Does Mr. Romney really think that anything has changed in northeast Asia with the death of Kim Jong Il and his supposed replacement with his barely pubescent son, Kim Jong Eun? It looks to this admittedly non-expert observer that the same autarkic approach to policy initiated by the late Kim Il Sung will remain in place and that policy will be implemented by the same cabal that has run the country for at least the last twenty years, led by the armed forces, in the person of Vice Marshal Ri Yong Ho, and by Kim Jong Il’s sister, Kim Kyong Hui and her husband, Jang Song Thaek, who is now euphemistically referred to as having been Kim Jong Il’s “closest adviser” for at least the last five years. Does anyone think that the generals and the hacks who run a patronage driven machine that would make Tony Cermak, Pat Nash, and Vito Marzullo envious would actually change anything because some 27 year old misfit (See today’s other post on young Mr. Kim,I’LL BET PARK CHUNG HEE NEVER TORTURED SMALL ANIMALS!.) might want to make nice with the president of the United States? Does Mr. Romney really think this kid will have any power?

Even if Mr. Romney were so naïve as to think that things might be subject to change in the Hermit Kingdom, what makes him think we would have any influence over there? We have NEVER had any influence with the Kim dynasty. We have tried to buy some influence with food aid, energy aid, and all the other blank checks that we have used in futile attempts to influence the Kims, but the result has always been well-fed armies of soldiers and patronage lackeys, continuing deprivation, or worse, of the general North Korean population, and, doubtless, much rolling around laughing on the floors of the presidential palace by Kim toadies. The people with real influence in North Korea are the Chinese and, to a far lesser extent, the Japanese, the former through trade, the latter through ethnic ties. Since China shares a border, and the Japanese share a sea, with North Korea, both have not only influence on North Korea but a strong interest in maintaining a stable North Korea; who needs tides of impoverished and desperate refugees pouring across one’s borders or onto one’s shores? Most Americans who are not starry-eyed dreamers seeking the GOP presidential nomination would agree that our primary interest in North Korea is in preserving stability. So why not let the Chinese and the Japanese do what they can to further our goals?

Given that nothing will change in North Korea and that, even if there were a chance at some kind of metamorphosis in the Hermit Kingdom, we would have no influence over that change, why is Mr. Romney so insistent that Mr. Obama drop whatever he is doing and try to seize “one of the great opportunities of the last twenty five years”? Easy. The death of Kim Jong Il provides the perfect rationalization for those who insist on sticking America’s growing proboscis into every nook and cranny in which it demonstrably not belong. Mr. Romney, being of the party (the GOP) and the mindset (the Bush/Obama philosophy of “Everyone deserves ‘democracy’ so we will force it down their throats whether they want it or not.”) that constantly seeks to expend American blood and treasure on some idiotic, quixotic, imperial quests the inevitable consequence of which is the destruction of our once great Republic, sees in Korea the perfect excuse to meddle.

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