“After a couple of days of such discussions, I realized that America is now the odd man out in this drama. Why? Because China and South Korea have one thing in common: The thing they fear most is not a North Korean nuclear missile blowing them up.
It’s North Korea either blowing itself up — economically collapsing under the weight of sanctions — or being blown up by America.
That would spill refugees and fissile material into China and South Korea, presenting both with a huge cleanup bill and China with a possible united Korea with a nuclear weapon next door.The U.S. — by contrast — now fears North Korea blowing us up, or at least Los Angeles. It would not be an exaggeration to say that Washington fears North Korea more than ever, while China and South Korea fear a unilateral U.S. strike on North Korea more than ever.”
Bravo Tom Friedman. Lets teach the horse to sing. I do have minor problems with your analysis. The Koreas are not our backyard, they are China’s backyard, It is for China, not the US, to lead on this mess. Much to my surprise, I find myself today agreeing with the controversial commentor Richard Luettgen, who suggests we offer to China, if they engineer South Korea taking over North Korea, we will remove our troops and armaments from South Korea. By writing this, I realize the possible flaw in Leuttgen’s idea, is that there could possibly be a future need still to protect Korea under the South Korean Government, from attacks, incursions or pressure from China. Nevertheless, it is still China’s backyard, and we have a big future with China as one of our largest trading partners. We would have to let South Korea determine the amount of US protection that they will need, and not dictate it from the opposite side of the world.
Have you ever eaten kimche? Have you ever SMELLED kimche? Why would anyone with a nose that still functions ask you to pass it?
I note not in passing that eventually the solution to squashing North Korea like a bug is not really in the hands of the U.S., unless you count preemptory nuclear aggression a legitimate response: it’s in the hands of China. If Kim Jong-un fired a missile at us or at South Korea, it’s a given that there would be catastrophic response, and China could just go play Mahjong. However, anything less than that places the fate of the North, its client, squarely in China’s orbit. And why is it such an issue with China to keep the North as a viable counter to the South? Because of our presence in force, 64 years after the division of the peninsula and creation of the DMZ by North Korea, China and a United Nations led by us.
Tell China that in return for their support of a reunification of the peninsula under South Korean leadership thereafter friendly to China (and us), we would remove our troops and weapons. What they do with Kim Jong-un and his goons in preparation for such a move would be up to China. Announce that initiative publicly and await the North Korean response – do it soon, before the goons have the ability to strike a nuclear suicide blow.
Who knows, after all? The horse may learn to sing.