Admiral Robert Willard, head of the U.S. Pacific Command, recently warned of more DPRK military provocations within the next few months, and on February 18 South Korean Prime Minister Kim Hwang-sik issued a similar warning. The DPRK’s defense minister last month demanded direct two-party talks with the United States and in doing so warned Secretary of Defense Gates of a nuclear catastrophe should they not occur. The DPRK military seems increasingly to be calling the shots in foreign relations. China has continued to push for six-party talks and has also been blocking efforts to have the United Nations Security Council publish a report on the DPRK’s nuclear program. China, as is customary, is far more concerned about her own problems than those of others and will do just about anything she can to avoid hordes of North Koreans crossing the border to attempt to resettle in China.
The situation in North Korea will almost certainly continue to worsen for the “little people” there as long as the Kim regime remains in power. Under a purely military regime it seems unlikely to be noticeably better, and in either event further military attacks on South Korea, further nuclear development, and further bomb and missile tests are quite likely. Provision of “humanitarian aid” and amelioration of economic sanctions, in place due to long continued and now expanding nuclear development and nuclear weapons testing, would help the “little people” only very temporarily and marginally if at all while rewarding the regime and extending its lease on life. That consequence has been demonstrated multiple times and now, when there are at least some small signs that popular revolt may be brewing, is not the time to give it another shot while hoping for change for the better. Nor is it the time to do whatever China tells us — her debtor — to do.
Whatever happens in North Korea seems unlikely to wait until 2013 when we may have a new and far better president of the United States; it will come much sooner than that. New and wiser heads than are now leading advising an uninterested President Obama, who cares far more about his domestic initiatives, must caution against continued dithering and stumbling aimlessly down the path of least resistance toward political expediency. Of equal importance, they must tell him how and try to push him in the right direction. Unless these cautions and advice have the desired effect those advisers must resign and their advice must be revealed candidly and ventilated without reservation in House and Senate hearings.
Being a community organizer is pretty easy; despite President Obama’s best efforts to bring to the presidency such talents as he developed in that capacity, it’s really tough being the president. The keys to making it less tough and less dangerous for the United States and her allies are available to President Obama. It is up to him to use them; if he fails to do so, it is unfortunately up to others to try in the only lawful ways at their disposal to force his hand.