What Does Korea's Chaos Portend for the United States?

Looking to the near future:

It was argued in a December 12 Ria Novosti article by a Leading Research Fellow, Institute of International Security Studies of RAS, Russian Academy of Sciences, that:

North Korea no longer takes American security guarantees seriously. ... Now that the Obama administration has shown that, unlike the previous Republican administration, it does not necessarily take so robust stance on defending its allies, North Korea has begun to “vet” the United States to see if, under certain circumstances, they would be prepared to abandon their allies in the Pacific, especially since the United States already has serious ongoing commitments to two theaters of conflict: Iraq and Afghanistan.

Despite the assurances given by Admiral Mullen on December 6 and at the State Department meeting on the same day, and in part because of an arguably inconsistent contemporaneous message from Secretary Gates, significant reasons for concern remain.

In November, Secretary Clinton had made what then appeared to be U.S. commitments to Israel in exchange for a further freeze on settlements. The deal was said to include guarantees that there would be no further demands for freezes and that Jerusalem would be excluded from the freeze. A November 16 Israeli request that the commitments be put in writing was rejected and the settlement freeze may well be dead. President Obama apparently declined to back up Secretary Clinton and the deal was never reduced to writing. As noted here:

It is nearly inconceivable that the Israelis at this point would invest much trust in either Clinton (whose tentative deal with Israel on the 90-day freeze was undercut by the White House) or in George Mitchell (who over the last few weeks was sidelined for fear of further aggravating the parties).

Following his telephone conversation with Chinese President Hu on December 6 or on December 5 (China and Korea are fourteen hours or more ahead of Washington as to time, so at 3:00 PM December 6 in Washington it would be 5:00 AM December 7 in Seoul; this may account for some chronological confusion), President Obama has been rather reticent about the Korean situation. One would normally expect the President to have had substantial input into promises of United States support to be provided by Admiral Mullen in Seoul and by State Department officials in Washington to high level South Korean and Japanese officials. Similarly, one would normally expect the President to ensure consistency in the messages given by Admiral Mullen, the State Department and Secretary Gates. The latter seems to have been different from the former two. The State Department meeting, the Mullen meeting with South Korean officials, and the Gates comments occurred nearly contemporaneously with President Obama's telephone conversation with President Hu. President Obama should have authorized the Mullen meeting beforehand, fully understood and approved what Admiral Mullen and Secretary Gates intended to do, and been fully briefed on the results as well as of the then new South Korean rules of engagement before his conversation with President Hu. Ditto the State Department meeting.

Did he and was he? Does he care about such things, or is he overwhelmed by a job well beyond him? It's now within his pay grade, but is he up to earning that pay?

These concerns are highlighted by President Obama's recent relinquishing to former President Clinton of the podium at a press briefing on the tax compromise and his departure soon after Clinton began to speak, to keep Mrs. Obama from having to wait longer for him to accompany her to a White House Christmas party. Has he lost it? A very capable campaigner, is he overwhelmed by actually being the president?

We still remember a messianic Barack Obama criss-crossing all 57 states promising “millions of new green jobs” and to “close Guantanamo.” Those pre-September 15, 2008, days were heady times, the apex of doctrinaire postmodern liberalism without the responsibility of governance. Most of us then had never really heard of a teleprompter and were mesmerized by someone who could look out at us with instant impromptu recall of fact after fact — and in such eloquent fashion.


War on terror? Easy, just shut down Guantanamo, end renditions and tribunals, pull out of Iraq, and prune back predator drones and other anti-constitutional and unnecessary Bush transgressions. Hadn’t we seen Redacted or Rendition? Wanting something to end, and being the right sort to want something to end, surely were to be synonymous with something ending.

Roger L. Simon says that we should not gloat over President Obama's childish behavior.

We are stuck with this odd duck for another two years at minimum and now everyone, the entire world really, knows what he is like. They also know, if they have been paying the slightest attention, the etiology of his behavior: the man never had to face serious adversity until he was elected POTUS. And now he can’t deal with it. He’s the very model of Harry Truman’s famous advice about getting out of the kitchen if you can’t stand the heat. Obama was out of the White House briefing room the second he realized he was being outclassed by Clinton. And, boy, was he ever!

We need a leader and don’t have one. This is extremely bad news for our country, especially now.