November 5, 2008

THE CONSERVATIVE ALLIES WILL RIDE HERD ON THE COWBOY:

Kim could make Obama flinch (Kosuke Takahashi, 11/06/08, Asia Times)

The problem of North Korea's intractable nuclear development could grow even worse for Tokyo and Seoul if Barack Obama, the next United States president, seeks direct diplomacy without preconditions to end the threat from Pyongyang. Experts in East Asia are raising serious concerns about the adverse effects of the next US administration's possible conciliatory approach against North Korea on regional security.

Obama, who has said he is willing to meet with the leaders of some of the US's "enemies", including Iran and North Korea, seems to believe the US can largely exercise its own discretion in coping bilaterally with North Korean issues, possibly with new incentives for it to completely abandon its nuclear weapons program, such as normalization of ties and a peace treaty to formally end the Korean War, following the US delisting of Pyongyang from a terror blacklist last month.

But Obama's relative go-it-alone diplomatic approach on defusing the North Korean nuclear crisis could definitely upset the US's Asian allies Japan and South Korea, as it could damage the ongoing process of the six-party talks, a common political and regional safety valve for all of the six countries: North and South Korea, China, Japan, Russia and the US. Obama could even play into the hands of Dear Leader Kim Jong-il.


Similarly, he faces conservative governments in Canada and Mexico, which will constrain his policy in this hemisphere; a coming Netanyahu government in Israel, which will tie his hands there; and Sarkozy, Merkel, Berlusconi, Cameron, etc. in Europe. He has to function in the world W remade.

Posted by Orrin Judd at November 5, 2008 9:08 AM
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