Sunday, May 14, 2017

Mahbubani: West get North Korea wrong

I am tired of reading about North Korean defectors predicting the fall of the their country. Their track record is so poor, I have gone to read up and understand a little better why that ain't happening. These defectors basically wanted to sell books and wrote up their stories basically to achieve that. To be fair to them they believed the North is doomed or they would not have risked their lives running away.

I agree with Mahbubani that the western media get the North more wrong than right but I feared he has done even worse. E.g., there is no such thing as an unbiased point of view. All views must reflect our preference which is not informed by facts but beliefs.

His prescription of helping the North grow economically and secure so that they would give up their nuclear weapons is fantasy. There is simply not enough trust. The North does not even trust China to protect them! Would they trust the Americans? The western media has been far better at selling their views more consistently than Asian intellectuals or media.

It is completely in Singapore's interest that there is no war on the Korean peninsula and that the current debacle can with patience eventually be peacefully resolved. I signed up to that too but I feared the crazy Trump bends more toward violence because to the Americans all peaceful options have failed. The logic of others dead than American lives at risk is a powerful one to attack the North regardless of the consequences as long as America First is preserved.

A peaceful solution is available if China have the ability to guarantee the North's security but that would take a long time and the North would be nuclear armed with ICBMs long before that. Instead I think the Japanese is likely to arm themselves with nuclear weapon eventually. When that happens depends on the US commitment to its security. If the US waver the Japanese will be nuclear ready sooner. Following that South Korea will do the same.

There is no peaceful solution for the peninsula except through nuclear deterrence to maintain an uneasy peace until the social and economic circumstances of North Asia societies are completely different from today.

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