Is Another Conflict Coming to Korea?

On October 13th, President Obama warned the DPRK, with the decisive sternness he commonly uses when dealing with dictatorial and dangerous foreign regimes. There was no suggestion of U.S. military involvement. In essence, he asked that the DPRK stop being nasty if it wants more respect, more goodies, and fewer economic sanctions from the international community -- of which the United States is no longer a principal, much less the, leader under his presidency. According to the linked report:

US President Barack Obama warned North Korea . . . that it would face deeper isolation and international pressure if it carried out more "provocations" like those that rattled Asia last year. Obama, standing side-by-side with South Korean Lee President Lee Myung-Bak at the White House, said Pyongyang could however expect greater opportunities if it lived up to its international obligations over its nuclear program. The two leaders discussed North Korea in their White House talks and said they were united in their approach towards Pyongyang. "Together we've succeeded in changing the equation with the North by showing that its provocations will be met not with rewards but with even stronger sanctions and isolation," Obama said. . . . . " If the North abandons its quest for nuclear weapons and moves towards denuclearization, it will enjoy greater security and opportunity for its people."

The "opportunity for its people" sought by Dear Leader Kim Jong-il has nothing to do with better security and more opportunity for its people. Why did Obama even mention it? The opportunity sought by Kim Jong-il is for the successful continuation of the dynastic regime under his son, the Brilliant Young General Kim Yong-un, and more of the same old repressive and dangerous stuff. The welfare of the North Korean people is and has long been essentially irrelevant to Kim Jong-il. Only a unicorn could believe otherwise. Despite this, more direct talks to ask the DPRK to promise to denuclearize in exchange for benefits are to begin soon, despite the unlikelihood of success. See the definition of insanity attributed to Einstein.

During the week of October 21st, Panetta will visit Seoul as well as Indonesia and Japan. Presumably the current situation with the DPRK will be among the topics discussed. How about likely U.S. military budget cuts? There must be some sort of a plan about what to do in the event of an invasion from the North. That may or may not happen, but if it does even President Obama would have difficulty calling it unexpected with a straight face. He may have no such expectations, but has most likely received warnings about the chances just as he received, but apparently ignored, warnings about Fast and Furious and Solyndra's impending bankruptcy.