World View: Diplomatic Silence in North Korea Raises Military Alarms

World View: Diplomatic Silence in North Korea Raises Military Alarms

This morning’s key headlines from

  • Syria’s Bashar al-Assad (and Vladimir Putin) guilty of more war crimes
  • U.S. accuses Syria of not complying with chemical weapons agreement
  • Diplomatic silence in North Korea raises military alarms

Syria’s Bashar al-Assad (and Vladimir Putin) guilty of more war crimes

Before (left) and after pictures show that the al-Assad regime destroyed entire civilian neighborhoods, killing many women and children in just a few days (CNN/HRW)
Before (left) and after pictures show that the al-Assad regime destroyed entire civilian neighborhoods, killing many women and children in just a few days (CNN/HRW)

It seems that almost every day, new evidence comes forth of war crimesand crimes against humanity by the genocidal monster president ofSyria, Bashar al-Assad. A new report by Human Rights Watch shows thatthe Syrian government “deliberately and unlawfully” destroyed entirecivilian neighborhoods. Just counting the suburbs of Damascus andHama, thousands of homes were flattened.

Once again, this is a war crime on the part of Bashar al-Assad. And,once again, Russia’s president Vladimir Putin is guilty of war crimesas well, for supplying the weapons to al-Assad. Human Rights Watch and CNN

U.S. accuses Syria of not complying with chemical weapons agreement

For the first time, U.S. administration officials are accusing Syria’sBashar al-Assad regime of not complying with its agreement to allowits chemical weapons and manufacturing facilities to be destroyed,with only 4% of the “low hanging fruit” so far delivered fordestruction. At first, there were excuses that the weather was toocold, and so forth, but as the weeks have gone by, it’s becomeincreasingly clear that al-Assad is stalling.

Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel said “The United States is concernedthat the Syrian government is behind in delivering these chemicalweapons precursor materials on time.”

Apparently Hagel wasn’t listening on Tuesday when President Obama gavethe State of the Union address:

“You see, in a world of complex threats, our securityand leadership depends on all elements of our power – includingstrong and principled diplomacy. American diplomacy has ralliedmore than fifty countries to prevent nuclear materials fromfalling into the wrong hands, and allowed us to reduce our ownreliance on Cold War stockpiles. American diplomacy, backed bythe threat of force, is why Syria’s chemical weapons are beingeliminated, and we will continue to work with the internationalcommunity to usher in the future the Syrian people deserve – afuture free of dictatorship, terror and fear. As we speak,American diplomacy is supporting Israelis and Palestinians as theyengage in difficult but necessary talks to end the conflict there;to achieve dignity and an independent state for Palestinians, andlasting peace and security for the State of Israel – a Jewishstate that knows America will always be at theirside.”

Actually, it’s been one debacle after another, especially PresidentObama’s “red line” flip-flop. American diplomacy has made America alaughingstock, especially in the Mideast. The Israeli-Palestinianal-Qaeda linked jihadism, Bashar al-Assad is committing “industrialstrength” torture and extermination on his own civilians, is nowsuspected of developing biological weapons, and has already used saringas on his own people, which he’ll be free to do again since heapparently is reneging on his agreement to have his chemical weaponsdestroyed. ( “30-Jan-14 World View — Syria a ‘huge magnet’ for terrorists – and perhaps biological weapons”)

A lot of people have written to me over the years saying that theydon’t like me saying that America is policemen of the world. Whatthey usually say is, “Who the hell appointed America to be policemanof the world?” Well, the answer to that question is President HarryTruman, who enunciated in 1947 the Truman Doctrine, saying thatintervening in international conflicts may cost money and treasure,but it’s only a tiny fraction of the money and treasure spent in WorldWar II. Like it or not, America has been policeman of the world sincethe end of World War II.

Well, what happens to a city when the policemen stop enforcing thelaws? The criminals and thugs take over, as has happened in PresidentObama’s home town, Chicago. And what happens to the world when thepoliceman of the world starts “leading from behind?” You’re seeing itin Syria. President Truman said that the cost of militaryintervention was tiny compared to the cost of fighting a world war,and that lesson is being brought home today. McClatchy and CBS News

Diplomatic silence in North Korea raises military alarms

Commentary from KGS Nightwatch indicates that Kim Jong-un’s governmentis in chaos since the execution of his uncle, Jang Song-thaek:

North Korean policy is disjointed. That condition suggests the charmor reconciliation offensive is not real and might be part of adeception plan.

Supporting that judgment is the absence of diplomatic activity. NorthKorean media have reported the arrival or departure of no foreigndelegations since 14 January. The last was by a member of the JapaneseHouse of Councilors. Prior to that, the last foreign delegation wasthat led by Dennis Rodman. North Korea has sent no delegations abroadapparently since the death of Jang Song-thaek.

In times of political normality, foreign delegations arrive at ordepart from Pyongyang several times a week. The absence of diplomaticactivity reinforces the observation that North Korea has turnedinward. It is not engaging in significant foreign initiatives and notresponding to its own initiatives on North-South relations.

The absence of normal diplomatic activity is a general warningindicator. That means that conditions in the North are not normal butthe reason is not yet clear.

The last comment is significant because North Korean media almostdaily repeat the propaganda theme that North and South Koreans can andmust solve the challenge of reunification. Nevertheless, the North hasfailed to respond to South Korea proposals and ignored its ownproposals.

The disconnect between North Korea’s words and actions justify a highalert condition by South Korean and Allied military forces. It alsosuggests that the overtures to the South are gestures withoutsubstance. They might provide cover for the continuing purges andcampaigns to guard against counter-revolution. They also might coverNorth Korean preparations for a military provocation.

China Relations. A South Korean news outlet reported that on 10January Kim Jong-un approved a security plan aimed at eliminating theJang Song-thaek to attract Chinese investment in North Korea.

If confirmed, as seems likely, this North Korean internal securityprogram means that Chinese relations with North Korea are severelystrained again. China has no credibility to act as an honest brokerfor restarting the Six Party Talks. KGS Nightwatch

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