6 Two 3 Nine

Expert Unexpert Advice

McCain on North Korea – Regime Change. McCain to China – That’s enough.

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Maybe indeed.

The question is; who exactly is supposed to believe that we’re serious about this?

For those just tuning in, this whole conflict is a lower stakes proxy conflict between the United States and China (just like the Korean War).  Kim Jong Il shelled South Korea because China wanted to test whether we’re still willing and able to stare the Chinese down.  We’re sending the USS George Washington to do coordinated naval exercises with South Korea in an area right along the North Korean border.  This is meant to call their bluff.  Best case scenario the North Koreans watch the US/South Korean naval exercises and do nothing, as this means the Chinese aren’t willing to allow this to escalate.

My guess is that McCain realizes that the success of the naval exercises is dependent on the Chinese believing we’re more willing to go to war with them than they are willing to go to war with us.  If they don’t buy it, chances are the US will have to make some concessions (probably in the area of the 6 party talks).  If we don’t, the North Koreans do some escalation, and the ball is in our court to escalate it further or puss out.

Knowing this, I kind of feel a patriotic obligation to pretend as if there was a realistic chance that the US will go hard for regime change in North Korea.  Considering the amount of military pressure we’d have to get this accomplished (an unrealistic amount, like bombing Beijing pressure), I feel my patriotic duty to state the obvious trumps it.  Are we really supposed to believe Obama’s going to take a harder line than Bush against North Korea?

Still, while the boats are in the water, why wouldn’t we talk it up?  Presumably we’ve figured out how much we’re willing to give up, and the message the USS George Washington needs to send is “not much.”  Frankly, we could use more of this from the President (but hey, the last time we picked a President I voted for McCain, so I guess my position is to be expected).  Sure, no one really expects us to bring about regime change in North Korea, but the Chinese need to know that we’re still the most powerful country in the world and we don’t find this shit amusing.



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