Posted by: bklunk | October 10, 2006

Let’s Talk About This

I know that I have featured one of jkdavis‘s posts previously, but I thought a number of people would probably want to blog/discuss this issue.  What do you think about jkdavis’s take on this issue?

The Method Behind North Korea’s Madness

URL: The Method Behind North Korea’s Madness


The significance of the article is that it indicates a unique response to


power abroad.  We know


is the world’s next economic powerhouse, but what happens when you throw a dictator with a chip on his shoulder and nuclear capability in the mix?  The United States did not foresee the announcement, and it has several implications.  The

United States

’ reaction could prevent an arms race or revitalize a tense and dangerous situation in the east, particularly if it attempts to initiate a “regime change” in

North Korea

.  It seems that for the first time in a long time the

United States

is backed into a corner, and

North Korea

holds the cards.  It is unsettling when the world’s policemen releases statements about being “uncertain how to respond”, and admits “American options are limited.”  Particularly touchy is the fact that one of the major premises the DPRK made for testing nuclear weapons is as a “self- defense” against American aggression on the peninsula and economic sanctions which are trying to bring down the “socialist government established by the people themselves.”  How can the


go about walking softly and carrying a big stick in this case? The article is significant because it calls into question the balance of power and sway of the





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  1. I like the question of how will the US continue to talk softly and carry a big stick, especially if the other country is carrying the same size stick we are. There seems to be this shade of grey that surrounds North Korea, there is no black or white. North Korea is just so unpredictable, and in mind, worse yet is that they know what they are doing and they can fairly easily predict the outcome. Obviously the US will go back to talks, well I would hope so at least. Invading a country that has a million man army and that knows the area extensively gives them a huge advantage. In my mind it is a matter of what are they actually asking for in these talks. They have said they are willing to give up their nuclear weapons program, but i’m not really sure what they want in return. I also like their idea of saying the program is a defense system against the aggresive US. It seems to me they think things through and everyone thing they say and do has a purpose, its just only they know what that purpose is.

  2. I disagree with the idea that North Korea is holding the same power that the United States has. First of all, the nuclear test that was apparently set off caused no greater seismic activity than about a 3.8 on the scale…the United States obviously has power to overwhelm that many times over. Secondly, I believe that we have to realize that, although we can’t take the situation too lightly, North Korea has a lot of things going against it right now. Would it be in their best interests to attack some of the world’s most influential and powerful states? No. So, in that case, I do not agree that North Korea is holding all the cards in this situation. Kim Jung Il is not stupid…he obviously knows how to use rhetoric to some sort of an advantage, but I don’t think he wishes to destroy all relations he has with the outside world(namely China), which would be what would happen if he were to attack any of the neighboring countries or the U.S.

  3. The fact that the U.S. is backed into a corner is indeed unsettling. But the reality that the U.S. has so few cards to play likely has left Japan, China and South Korea feeling their only defense is to develop a nuclear weapons program of their own, a proposition that is even more unsettling. A nuclear North Korea may mean a nuclear Asia. How can South Korea do anything else, when there is a very hostile nuclear equipped country to their north whom their protectors, the U.S., have lost all ability to control? Japan and China, though less reliant upon the U.S., likely feel much the same way. A nuclear equipped region that includes a handful of countries with such significant animosities towards each other and one unstable dictator is a very disturbing proposition.

  4. I do not believe that North Korea is “holding all the cards” in this situation. I also do not believe that the U.S. has been backed into a corner. This is definitely a difficult situation but if other nations stand up with the U.S. this can be handled appropriately. I think the biggest concern as of now is that the other nations, especially the influential ones closest to North Korea, need to stand strong against this threat and not be blackmailed. I think we would be getting into a slippery situaiton if we decided to have bilateral talks with whatever country tried to blackmail us with nuclear exploration. For this matter any country could pursue this route to get what they wanted from the United States. The important thing to remember is that in order to make progress we need to work together and engage in multilateral talks.

  5. I disagree that the United States is backed into a corner and North Korea is holding all the cards. I think this is what North Korea wants you to think, but the United States has numerous options as to how to deal with situation. However, this does not mean that the situation is easy, becuase there are consequences to any solution that the United States puts forth. I think that this situation is best handled with numerous countries becoming invlolved. Becuase North Korea can not surrive on thier own. It is also important to realize that testing nuclear weapons has effects not on just the United States, but other countries as well like China, South Korea etc. North Korea is a force that needs to be taken seriously, but should not be given into. Becuase giving in to their demands will only set the standards for future.

  6. I tend to agree with this author’s opinion that the U.S. may be “backed in a corner, and North Korea holds all the cards.” First, I do not think the U.S. has any sort of military option to go after North Korea. For one thing, I am certain that the U.S. would not want to start a nuclear war; the consequences would just be too devastating. War is also very expensive, and since the U.S. is already facing a huge budget deficit, I am not so sure our economy could handle another war. Lastly, just in terms of numbers the U.S. may not be able to support troops in both Iraq, Afghanistan, as well as North Korea. Also, the U.S. cannot strive to get a regime change either through military action or some other means. The reason is that a regime change, or just war in general, would cause millions of refugees to flee to South Korea and China. These are refugees that neither South Korea nor China want or can really support for that matter. The U.S. cannot afford to lose any diplomatic relations with either of these countries since we have such a valuable economic relationships with them. Basically, the U.S. no longer has the leeway to act unilaterally (an independent, self-help foreign policy strategy) in this matter. In many ways the U.S. did act unilaterally in terms of the Iraq war. As a result, the U.S. has lost a great amount of its soft power. Soft power refers to states obeying commands or negotiations of another state simply because they beleive that state is admirable in some way and is an attractive society. Therefore, it looks like the only option the U.S. has is to cooperate with the United Nations and support the use of sanctions in order to punish North Korea for its actions.

  7. As a superpower challenged by North Korea, the US has certainly been “backed in a corner.” The threat was made directly at the US but this is a threat to all of the world and the UN should address this issue. War should not be an answer because it’s expensive in many ways and is unwanted.

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