Sunday, July 30, 2006

[world] the other powder keg - korea [1]

Remember the TV series MASH?

Everyone has been concentrating on the Middle-East but why have all eyes moved away from North Korea? There appear to be fashions in wars – first Iraq, Iran and now the flavour of the month – Israel. My attempt to draw people’s attention to Northern Ireland was roundly ignored.

The Six Party Talks - the US, Russia, China, Japan, North Korea and South Korea have been a total dud but it’s perhaps a little unfair to the US to single them out for the failure. It’s mind has been somewhat preoccupied lately.

With Shinzo Abe poised for victory as the new Prime Minister in Japan, watchers are deeply concerned by his nationalistic posturing and aggressive attitude to North Korea. Yasuo Fukuda, the aging moderate, now appears to have little chance.

Instead, Finance Minister Sadakazu Tanigaki appears to be the only candidate who can oppose him in the current behind the scenes negotiations.

Park Geun-hye, the former strong man’s daughter, is also trying out for President in the South and that can only mean a reversal of the thaw over the last decade between the two Koreas.

So there seems a three way belligerence looming in the area and the mind boggles in contemplation of the scenario of a triple pre-emptive strike, just as the Middle-East reaches its next gruesome stage.

Then the fallout from the missile tests has to be taken into account. This had the effect of worsening already strained Sino-Japanese relations. The Yasukuni Shrine visit hardly helped and the fear of a new Chinese hegemony in the area has refuelled Japanese nationalism to a startling degree.

The result of all of the above is a powder keg just waiting for the first match.

If the US could just look over its shoulder for one moment [an expression I used about the IRA in an earlier piece], they would surely see the necessity to move hell and high water to push for a solution.
Perhaps it might even be the trigger for the much vaunted US/Russian co-operation - both have an enormous amount to lose. Even the beginner’s military textbook says that the less fronts you fight a war on, the greater your chances of an acceptable result.

Keep your eye on this one.

No comments: