To advertise on this space
Per inserzioni pubblicitarie
Um hier Werbung zu machen


All the news not fit to print
To advertise on this space
Per inserzioni pubblicitarie
Editorial correspondence | Back to Politics | Back to the world news

Articles on Korea aftrer 2008
North Korea and the new Far-Eastern order
Another disaster caused by the Bush administration
Why not North Korea
Calling the bluff
Another farce in North Korea
North Korea is about to invade South Korea
Get out of Korea
Rewarding North Korea would be abominable
If Iraq, why not North Korea?
East Asia crisis: The IMF is bailing out U.S. investors.

  • (October 2006) North Korea and the new Far-Eastern order. On the ninth of october 2006 the world that woke up was significantly different from the world that went to sleep the night before. Until then the regimes that had developed nuclear weapons were "responsible" regimes, i.e. regimes that respected the simple logic of deterrence: you don't nuke me, because i may nuke you. But Kim Jong Il, the mad dictator of North Korea, is a new kind of nuclear actor. All indications are that he loves to provoke his neighbors. North Korea is a country that has kidnapped random Japanese citizens and kept them prisoners for decades, apparently for no other reason than to assert its power. The man now believes that he has joined the elite club of the 5-10 most powerful people in the world.
    Both Bill Clinton and George W Bush are responsible for this catastrophe. They both believed in negotiations with a regime that was obviously not interested in negotiating anything. North Korea simply pursued its nuclear program while pretending to negotiate a suspension of it. The failure of USA policy to stop a poor, destitute, tiny country like North Korea from going nuclear is simply pathetic.
    Now it will be difficult to dissuade Japan from developing its own nuclear bomb. There is no reason why Japan, that already faces a formidable nuclear antagonist (mainland China), and is certain to be affected by any nuclear confrontation between Asian nuclear powers, should rely on the (dubious) will of the USA president du jour to defend it. Japan may be the real winner out of this diplomatic catastrophe, because it now has a valid reason to do what was unthinkable after World War II: become a military superpower again. (Japan has huge stockpiles of weapons-grade nuclear material, and it could build a nuclear bomb in as little as a month).
    And one wonders why Taiwan, that has been openly and repeatedly threatened by the nuclear regime of Beijing, should not do what North Korea did.
    South Korea, that has never hidden its displeasure at having to depend on the USA for protection, is now forced to embrace the USA even more tightly than before. But South Korea has to pray that the USA is willing to take the chance. Before North Korea's nuclear test, the USA was risking the lives of the few soldiers stationed in South Korea that would have been killed in a North Korean attack. Now it is risking the lives of *all* its soldiers in South Korea, and perhaps even of its citizens in California. Will future USA presidents be willing to take that chance in order to defend a remote democracy (South Korea's) that has no longer a strategic value for the USA now that the Soviet Union does not exist anymore and that the USA and China are close trading partners?
    But the biggest loser might be mainland China itself. Beijing was trying to assert itself as a global power, or at least as an Asian one. Its credibility will be greatly eroded by the fact that its number one ally has openly disobeyed it. If Beijing cannot command respect in North Korea, where can it? To use a Chinese expression applied in the past to the USA, the regime of Beijing has proven to be nothing but a paper tiger. No Asian country will be particularly impressed by any future Chinese stand on any serious matter. Furthermore, nuclear proliferation will only prompt the USA to accelerate its program of missile defense, which will make China's arsenal of nuclear weapons totally pointless. The future "powers" will be measured not by how many nuclear weapons they have but by how effective they can be at intercepting them, and this is an area in which China's gap with the West is truly colossal. China will look smaller not bigger in a world of missile defenses.
    (The world should also reconsider the decision to let mainland China host the 2008 Olympic games: who wants to play next door to an unpredictable madman with nuclear weapons who is only looking for an occasion to attract attention?)
    Unfortunately there is precious little that China, Russia, the USA or the United Nations (let alone non-nuclear Japan and South Korea) can do to reverse the situation. Once a country goes nuclear, the only way to reverse the situation is to nuke it, a prospect that hopefully nobody is seriously contemplating. Economic sanctions (especially against North Korea, that has little to lose from them) are unlikely to change the mind of a regime that obviously does not care about the well-being of its people.
    But then maybe Japan's promotion to the nuclear club was long overdue. It has the second largest economy in the world. Japan could have the second largest nuclear arsenal in the world, if it wanted. Now there is no reason why it shouldn't. If Japan's neighbors (namely China) don't feel comfortable seeing their old nemesis go nuclear, too bad for them: they should have prevented this problem from happening, instead of always protecting North Korea. Japan's ascension to the nuclear club might be even good news for the world at large, because Japan is a stable and peaceful democracy and could indeed exert a benign influence on world affairs. The event would at least be good news for the USA, whose main nuclear ally, the European Union, has proven to be less and less reliable.
    There is another good news that could come out of this diplomatic disaster. Beijing and Washington might realize that they could have done a lot better, had they trusted each other and worked together. The pompous leaders of the Communist Party in Beijing are probably realizing that the USA was right in warning against North Korea, and that, basically, North Korea "used" China. The arrogant Bush administration must be realizing that a joint military action with mainland China would have been the only practical way to stop North Korea, change its regime and create durable peace in the region. It is too late to stop North Korea, but it may not be too late to create a Beijing-Tokyo-Washington alliance that would create a new form of stability in the Pacific region. The main obstacle is the stupidity of Beijing's regime, that is still living in the stone age of communism instead of embracing the democratic revolution that is sweeping all continents. That is, ultimately, the root cause of all problems in the region, including Kim Jong Il's ascent to nuclear warlord.
    The USA reaction to North Korea's defiant act has been to convene the United Nations with the goal to issue a condemnation. We can just imagine how frightened Kim Jong Il must be of a UN piece of paper. George W Bush once said that the United Nations was becoming "irrelevant". He was right: it is obviously irrelevant. But he forgot to add that the USA was also becoming irrelevant, to the point that it would soon rely on the irrelevant United Nations. This "superpower" does not have the power to win a war against a bunch of gangsters armed with obsolete guns (the Taliban) or to win a war against a few thousands of disorganized insurgents (in Iraq), and does not even have the power to keep in line a small poor country like North Korea. Never has the USA been so humiliated on so many fronts.
    TM, ®, Copyright © 2005 Piero Scaruffi All rights reserved.
    Back to the world news | Top of this page

  • (July 2006) Another disaster caused by the Bush administration. Six years ago Bush declared that he wanted to abandon the "failed" Clinton policy and deal with North Korea in a different way. Six years ago North Korea did not have nuclear weapons. Six years ago North Korea did not have intercontinental missiles capable of striking the USA. Six years later North Korea has both nuclear weapons and missiles capable of striking the USA. The USA is definitely a lot less safer today than it was under Clinton. If Clinton's policy was a "failure", what is the word to define Bush's policy?
    Members of Kim Jong Il's government have made no mystery that the escalation is due to fear that the USA will do to Kim Jong Il what it did to Saddam Hussein: Saddam Hussein was deposed, ultimately, because he did not have nuclear weapons. Kim Jong Il boasts about his arsenal of nuclear weapons because he thinks this is his life insurance. He then needs to make it look like a threat to the USA (not only to South Korea and Japan) because he wants the USA's attention. Unlike Saddam Hussein, who was happy to steal money from the United Nations oil-for-food program with help from France and Russia, Kim Jong Il has no money to steal and no oil to sell: he needs a way to blackmail the USA.
    Kim Jong Il has always been overrated. He is nothing more than a crook who has created his own little empire where he can do just about anything he likes. He lives a great life, with all the comforts (including an harem of teenage girls). He knows very well that his communist system has failed and that people are starving, but does not care at all about his people and his system. He wants money to sustain his lifestyle.
    Thus he needs the nuclear weapons to protect his life, and he needs the missiles to blackmail the USA.
    Against idiots like Bush and Rumsfeld, this strategy has worked wonders. Kim Jong Il was a complete unknown when Clinton was president. Now he is a celebrity in the USA and all over the world.
    Bush has basically no options. Unlike Iraq, where the neighbors were either in favor of removing Saddam Hussein (Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Israel), South Korea opposes any attack against North Korea because South Korea would most likely be the victim of North Korea's retaliation. In other words, Kim Jong Il has taken hostage the whole country of South Korea.
    Unlike Iraq, where the vast majority of Iraqis sincerely hated Saddam Hussein, the North Koreans already fought a war against the USA (in the 1950s) and even won it. People honestly believe that Kim Jong Il is a good leader and that the USA wants to destroy their country.
    Unlike Iraq, that was far enough for Russia and China to pretend they could do much, North Korea is in their backyard and they would be forced to do something if the USA does something.
    Thus Bush made a strategic mistake in solving the Iraqi problem before the North Korean problem. Now everything is more difficult. In fact, it may be plain impossible. It looks like the USA will be forced to accept the terms of Kim Jong Il's blackmail while he keeps increasing his nuclear arsenal, thumbing his nose at any treaty that he signs with the USA.
    The reason that North Korea can thumb its nose at the USA is that this is the USA's problem. The USA needs to make it someone else's problem. If both Japan and South Korea threatened to rearm, and in particular to develop their own nuclear capability, the problem would become China's problem (China would not be happy to have a nuclear Japan next door) and possibly even Russia's problem (Russia has nothing to gain from a nuclear race in Asia). The USA needs to make it someone else's problem so the others will solve it. Also, the USA needs to humiliate Kim Jong Il. So far it has always been the other way around: Kim Jong Il humiliating the USA. Kim Jong Il has become one of the heroes of all anti-Americans in the world because he has consistently disobeyed the USA. It is time to show what happens if you provoke the USA. The USA should destroy North Korea's launching capabilities and drop propaganda leaflets on North Korea day in and day out. It is time for the USA to stop being bullied by Kim Jong Il.
    Six years ago Bush brushed aside Clinton's policy towards North Korea as a complete failure. He may have been right, but now we know that Clinton's policy was not the worst possible policy because Bush's has been even worse than Clinton's.
    TM, ®, Copyright © 2005 Piero Scaruffi All rights reserved.
    Back to the world news | Top of this page

  • (March 2005) Why not North Korea The USA is being humiliated not so much by the "terrorists" in Iraq, that keep poking fun at Bush's dream of a peaceful and prosperous Iraq, but by the North Korean regime, that qualifies for everything that Bush said about Saddam Hussein's regime plus it also has missiles that can strike USA territory and it does have weapons of mass destruction (chemical and probably nuclear).
    However, the Bush administration is in a different situation when one considers allies. In the case of Iraq, the allies in the region (Israel, Saudi Arabia and the Gulf States) all wanted (explicitly or tacitly) the removal of Saddam Hussein. In the case of North Korea, none of the allies in the region (South Korea, Taiwan and Japan) wants a military conflict that would hurt their economies and possibly kill their own people (if North Korea retaliates randomly).
    The USA is being outsmarted by North Korea's regime that is basically using the USA's allies as hostages.
    Where the USA strategy becomes mysterious is in its tolerance of China's attitude. China owes its status as an economic superpower to the USA: without the massive exports to the USA, China's economy would be much less impressive. China also claims the right to keep Tibet, Turkestan and Hong Kong (regardless of the will of those people), and even to invade and annex Taiwan. The USA should have more economic and political leverage over China than any other nation. In turn, China has more economic and political leverage over North Korea than any other nation. It should be a foregone conclusion that the USA "can" pressure China that "can" pressure North Korea.
    Instead, China keeps repeating that the USA should unilaterally negotiate directly with North Korea, as if a nuclear-free Korean peninsula were only in the interest of the USA, as if the USA should reward North Korea's blackmail.
    The idea is, clearly, to get the USA into an embarrassing and humiliating position.
    The real remains why the Bush administration is willing to accept China's behavior.
    TM, ®, Copyright © 2005 Piero Scaruffi All rights reserved.
    Back to the world news | Top of this page

  • (June 2004) Calling the bluff. South Korean protesters and even South Korean leaders have often criticized the presence of USA troops in South Korea. They probably took it for granted that the USA would not leave as long as North Korea was communist. The USA, instead, has now announced that it will withdraw one third of its troops. The South Korean reaction has been interesting: panic. What the American troops meant is very simple: an invasion by North Korea would automatically kill American soldiers, which would automatically drag the USA into the conflict. Those troops were South Korea's life insurance policy.
    Suddenly, South Korea has to face a new world, one in which North Korea could invade and the USA could be tempted to simply negotiate, not retaliate. In theory, everybody wants the USA to negotiate, not bomb the hell out of a country. In pratice, when it is your own country that is at stake, you want the USA to bomb the hell out of your enemy. South Korea has its share of anti-Americans, who regularly march in the streets protesting against everything from pollution to the invasion of Iraq. Now those protesters might be getting more than they ever expected. South Korea's leader Roh Moo-hyun was elected because he promised a tougher stance against the USA. The USA has pleased both.
    If the USA withdraws, both the masses and the government of South Korea will have to face reality: their army could not stop an invasion from North Korea. Many anti-Americans used to claim that North Korea would never invade South Korea, but that was when they knew that North Korea could not do it because the USA were stopping it. Will they still claim that it is pointless to protect the border if nothing deters North Korea anymore?
    The truth is that South Korea has been getting rich for 60 years thanks to the fact that the USA was willing to defend it from North Korea. South Korea will now be faced with the need to improve its army. In fact, it will have to bring its army up to the level of the North Korean army, a target that might well cause an economic recession (besides an arms race). The USA spends about 10 billion dollars a year to keep its soldiers in Korea, whereas the entire military budget of South Korea is a mere $15 billion. Clearly, it will have to increase dramatically in the next few years if South Korea wants to deter a North Korean invasion. Every South Korean citizen will feel the pain, and, most importantly, every South Korean citizen will not feel secure anymore, no matter how much money is spent on defense. They know very well the difference: if a USA soldier were killed, the USA would use its entire military might, and there is no way that South Korea's army can match that might. The deterrent will never be the same.
    It is easy to portray the USA as an occupation force when the USA is protecting you, your wealth and your freedom. Good luck when the USA decides to end the "occupation" and you have to take care of yourself.
    May this be a lesson to other parts of the world. Before you march in the streets against the USA occupation, make sure that USA occupation is not what makes you free and wealthy.
    Back to the world news | Top of this page
  • (April 2003) Another farce in North Korea. The USA was accused of being undemocratic, arrogant and even nazist for deciding unilaterally to remove Saddam Hussein and for not respecting the will of the U.N. Security Council on Iraq.
    North Korea is, admittedly, is much more serious crisis. First of all, Kim Jong Il is as evil and mad as Saddam Hussein. Second, he has nuclear technology that Saddam lacked. Third, he has publicly challenged the USA and the international community. Last but not least, he leads a much more formidable army than the Iraqi one. So something must be done.
    The USA proposed: 1. To involve the Security Council; and 2. To hold multilateral talks (Russia, China, Japan, South Korea, USA, North Korea). Both Russia and China, two of the staunchest critics of the USA's unilateral and "arrogant" behavior, disagree: they think that the USA should solve this problem alone, and outisde the Security Council.
    So the rule seems to be: if the USA acts unilaterally and outside the United Nations, then the USA is wrong; if the USA acts multilaterally and within the United Nations, then the USA is still wrong.
    Hypocrisy has no limit.
    Back to the world news | Top of this page
  • (February 2003) North Korea is about to invade South Korea. That is the logical conclusion that ona can draw from their actions and declarations. First they violate an agreement with the USA and a world treaty by resuming nuclear production and expelling international inspectors. Then they accuse the USA of threatening them (while the USA are busy elsewhere and have not deemed North Korea worth of much attention). As the USA does not respond, North Korea increases (almost weekly) the level of its arrogance. As the USA still does not respond, North Korea accuses the USA of threatening an invasion. As the USA still does not respond, North Korea declares "we will start a nuclear war if the USA attacks us". As the USA still does not respond, North Korea declares "we may launch a pre-emptive strike against the USA". The USA has not attacked them, has publicly declared it has no intention of doing so, and is obviously busy in another part of the world (Iraq). So why is North Korea increasing its war propaganda if the USA is not even responding in words to it? Kim Jong is not interested in the well-being of his people. It is unlikely that he wants food and medicines from the USA. The well-being of the Korean people is just not part of North Korea's logic.
    There can be only one reason: North Korea has decided that this is a good time to invade South Korea, and is simply looking for a pretext. The USA has deployed soldiers in Afghanistan and in the Gulf, and is unlikely to be able to add soldiers in Korea in a timely matter. So what if North Korea attacks? The USA will have to withdraw, and South Korea will simply surrender. Once South Korea has surrendered, what is the USA going to do? North Korea will hold hostage 70 million south Koreans: is the USA going to risk their lives? From the point of view of Kim Jong, this is a historical opportunity.
    Back to the world news | Top of this page
  • (January 2003) Get out of Korea. Rewarding North Korea would be abominable. There are plenty of countries that behave in a responsible and civilized manner, and they are rarely rewarded by the West for this. Kazakstan, Ukraine and South Africa are examples of countries that could have become nuclear countries but decided instead to allow the international community to disarm them. Now they must wondering if it was the right thing to do: keep your nuclear weapons and you can blackmail the USA in person (not to mention that you can threaten your neighbors into treating you like a respectable regional power).
    Kim Jong and his father (the puppet dictator installed in 1945 by the Soviet Union) are responsible for the death of a few million North koreans. While his people struggle to survive his demented communist policies, while his people have been reduced to living with no food, no heat, no electricity and no medicines, Kim Jong enjoys the lifestyle of a sultan, living in a huge palace, surrounded by gorgeous girls and indulging in his favorite hobby of watching Hollywood movies. Kim Jong owns at least six villas in Europe and something like 200 Mercedes cars. His wealth is protected by Switzerland: $4 billions deposited in Swiss banks, while the average North Korean makes about $100 a year. Thank you, Switzerland.
    Years ago, the USA under Bill Clinton decided to pay Kim Jong for disarming. Kim Jong took the money, spent it on more villas and palaces, and kept building the very same weapons that he was supposed to dismantle. North Korea is soon to become the only country in the world to have both nuclear, biological and chemical weapons ready for use. So much for negotiating with dictators.
    Now, inspired by wave a of anti-Americanism, South Korea wants the USA to yield to North Korean demands of "aid" (basically, "blackmail") and recognition (promise that the USA will not try to overthrow the worst regime in the world). The USA has no reason to do so, and doing so would simply encourage Kim Jong (and many other dictators) to continue the blackmailing. The USA should simply leave the Far East, and let China, South Korea, Russia and Japan sort out this mess. After all, this mess was created by China and Russia, which have always tolerated and even defended the regime of Kim Jong, and by South Korea and Japan, who have always invited the USA to negotiate with the mad dictator. It is their fault if today they are threatened by this nuclear neighbor, and it is their business how they want to deal with it. The USA is not directly threatened, and should intervene only if North Korea develops a missile capable of striking its West Coast.
    Negotiating with (or even just listening to) North Korea would be an insult to the dozens of honest, democratic and peaceful countries in Asia, Africa and Latin America that rarely get Washington's attention. Forget the two Koreas: one doesn't want your military help, and the other one only wants your money. Give both your military help and your money to countries in Asia, Africa and Latin America that deserve them.
    Back to the world news | Top of this page
  • (October 2002) If Iraq, why not North Korea? North Korea has finally admitted what everybody (except the Euro-pacifists) knew: that it has been conducting a massive clandestine nuclear-weapons program, breaching all the international agreements and promises made to the USA. Iraq was "trying" to manufacture nuclear weapons. Osama is "trying" to acquire one. North Korea "has" been producing enough plutonium for five nuclear weapons a year. Iraq has no missile that could strike outside its region. North Korea has missiles that can possibly strike as far as California. We know virtually everything about Iraq, its society and its technology. We know virtually nothing about North Korea, its society and its technology. The ruler of Iraq has traditionally been very rational (ruthless, megalomaniac, etc, but rational). The rulers of North Korea have been the most irrational and unpredictable in the history of the modern world.
    One doesn't have to be a military genius to realize that North Korea potentially poses a vastly more serious threat to the USA, and to peace in general, than Iraq.
    Instead, the Bush administration chose to hide this "confession" for 12 days. If you are wondering why, remember that Bush wanted the Congress to pass a resolution authorizing him to wage a war against Iraq. The Bush administration proved one more time its disregard for democracy by pressuring Congress into voting that anti-Iraq resolution without informing them of North Korea's confession, which, of course, makes Iraq look like a far less urgent matter. One more time Bush has subverted democracy in order to obtain what he wanted.
    Despite the evidence, the behavior of the USA has been oddly different: the USA have been so determined to keep sanctions against Iraq but have been willing to provide food and medicines to alleviate the conditions in North Korea. The USA even offered economic assistance to North Korea, in the hope of breaking the ice between their two countries.
    The regime of North Korea is as brutal as the regime of Saddam Hussein; and the regime of North Korea has caused starvation that has killed about one million people (Saddam, if nothing else, gave Iraqis plenty of food and money before the Gulf War).
    If oil did not matter, North Korea would be the most urgent target, not Iraq.
    Back to the world news | Top of this page
  • (March 1998) East Asia crisis: What we don't realize is that the IMF is not bailing out the Asian economies, it is bailing out all the U.S. mutual funds which have invested heavily into Asian economies. Very few citizes of Malaysia own stocks and will be directly affected by the stock crash, but very many U.S. citizens own those stocks and their pensions and savings would be directly affected by a catastrophic crash.
Editorial correspondence | Back to the top | Back to Politics | Back to the world news