The Increasing Obviousness of a Pacific NATO

Pressure Mounts on Pyongyang to Return to Talks: U.S.: Maintain 6-party framework even without North Korea,” by Heo Yong-beom, Digital Chosunilbo,, 16 February 2005 (from One Free Korea).

Korea, U.S. in Marathon Talks with China,” by Cho Jung-shik, Digital Chosunilbo,, 17 February 2005.

The U.S. and other world players are virtually ignoring North Korea’s declaration last week that it has nuclear weapons. Instead, they are trying to bring the country back to six-party talks on its atomic program through a mixed carrot and stick approach.

U.S. deputy secretary of state nominee Robert Zoellick reiterated Tuesday that the U.S. would stick to the basic format of the six-party talks, saying, “It is important for the United States to stay constant with the core strategy here.” Zoellick made the comment during a Senate confirmation hearing, where he also said it was important to convey messages simply and clearly to the world’s most isolated country.


In a hectic round of meetings, the heads of the South Korean and U.S. delegations to six-party talks on North Korea’s nuclear program on Thursday pressed China to persuade Pyongyang back to the negotiating table.

After writing on the Concert of Asia and Bush’s multilateral Korean policies, I was struggling with how to “frame” this. It’s so obvious we are setting up a Pacific NATO, in fact if not in name. It’s not quite the Deadly Viper Assassination Squad, but when the club to deal with North Korea no longer needs to talk to DPRK, it’s pretty clear what “dealing” means.

It’s also obvious North Korea wants to break this up. It has struggled to unseat the governments that are hostile to it. In both the United States (through John Kerry) and Australia (through the Labour party) it is hoping the Five Parties wil fall apart.

To me, it is so clear that I happy letting the articles speak for themselves

Meanwhile, Australian media reported that Pyongyang’s Ambassador to Australia Chon Jae-hong on Wednesday told the Australian Labor Party’s foreign affairs spokesman the best way to secure a peaceful solution was direct talks between the U.S. and North Korea. He is reported to have asked the Australian foreign minister to convey that message to Washington.

Deadly Viper Assassination Squad

Dear Mr. President, Here’s How to Make Sense of Your Second Term, Secure Your Legacy, and, oh yeah, Create a Future Worth Living,” by Thomas P.M. Barnett, Esquire, 15 February 2005 (from Thomas P.M. Barnett :: Weblog).

I blogged a post based on the article a few days ago. But not the whole article is out. The snazziest part:

Kill Kim: Volumes 1, 2 & 3

NOW WE GET TO THE GOOD PART. The Koreas issue is the tailbone of the cold war: completely useless, but it can still plunge you into a world of pain if middle-aged Asia slips and falls on it. North Korea is the evil twin, separated at birth, and yet, because it’s still joined at the hip with its sibling, its better half grows ever more irrationally distraught as time passes, contemplating the inevitable invasive surgery that lies ahead.

So while it might seem at first glance like a job for Team America: World Police, you’ll want something less South Park in its comic simplicity and a little more Tarantinoesque in its B-movie grandeur. That’s right, we need a Deadly Viper Assassination Squad to make Kim an offer he can’t refuse.

Kim Jong Il’s checked all the boxes: He’ll sell or buy any weapons of mass destruction he can get his hands on, he’s engaged in bizarre acts of terrorism against South Korea, and he maintains his amazingly cruel regime through the wholesale export of both narcotics and counterfeit American currency. Is he crazy? He once kidnapped two of South Korea’s biggest movie stars and held them hostage in his own personal DreamWorks studio. But if that doesn’t do it for you, then try this one on for size: The Kim-induced famine of the late 1990s killed as many as two million North Koreans. If that doesn’t get you a war-crimes trial in this day and age, then what the hell will?

Here’s the squad we need to assemble: China, Japan, South Korea, Australia, and New Zealand, plus Russia.

Read the whole article.

Baghdad Rules

Hama Rules,” by Thomas L. Friedman, New York Times,, 17 February 2005.

I am a fan of Tom Friedman. His Geo-Green strategy is right-on, and he recognizes we are currently fighting an Iraqi Civil War. His latest column on the assassination of former Prime Minister of Lebanon Rafik Hariri is perfect. Excerpts below:

About two weeks ago, a friend of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri stopped by my office to update me on Lebanon and pass on a message from Mr. Hariri, whom I have known since reporting from Beirut in the late 1970’s. The message was that the Lebanese opposition to the Syrian occupation was getting united – inspired both by the example of Iraq and by the growing excesses of the Syrian occupation. Mr. Hariri, his friend said, was planning to use the coming Lebanese parliamentary elections, and a hoped-for victory by the opposition front, to send a real message to the Syrians: It’s time for you to go.

There is no excuse anymore for Syria’s occupation of Lebanon, other than naked imperialism and a desire to siphon off Lebanese resources. If the U.S. government and media really care about democracy in the Arab world, Mr. Hariri’s envoy said, then the U.S. has to get behind those trying to rescue the oldest real Arab democracy, Lebanon, from the Syrian grip.

When Syria’s Baath regime feels its back up against the wall, it always resorts to “Hama Rules.” Hama Rules is a term I coined after the Syrian Army leveled – and I mean leveled – a portion of its own city, Hama, to put down a rebellion by Sunni Muslim fundamentalists there in 1982. Some 10,000 to 20,000 Syrians were buried in the ruble. Monday’s murder of Mr. Hariri, a self-made billionaire who devoted his money and energy to rebuilding Lebanon after its civil war, had all the hallmarks of Hama Rules – beginning with 650 pounds of dynamite to incinerate an armor-plated motorcade.

Message from the Syrian regime to Washington, Paris and Lebanon’s opposition: “You want to play here, you’d better be ready to play by Hama Rules – and Hama Rules are no rules at all. You want to squeeze us with Iraq on one side and the Lebanese opposition on the other, you’d better be able to put more than U.N. resolutions on the table. You’d better be ready to go all the way – because we will. But you Americans are exhausted by Iraq, and you Lebanese don’t have the guts to stand up to us, and you French make a mean croissant but you’ve got no Hama Rules in your arsenal. So remember, we blow up prime ministers here. We shoot journalists. We fire on the Red Cross. We leveled one of our own cities. You want to play by Hama Rules, let’s see what you’ve got. Otherwise, hasta la vista, baby.”

What else can the Lebanese do? They must unite all their communities and hit the Syrian regime with “Baghdad Rules,” which were demonstrated 10 days ago by the Iraqi people. Baghdad Rules are when an Arab public does something totally unprecedented: it takes to the streets, despite the threat of violence from jihadists and Baathists, and expresses its democratic will.

Nothing drives a dictatorship like Syria’s more crazy than civil disobedience and truth-telling: when people stop being intimidated, stand up for their own freedom and go on strike against their occupiers. The Lebanese can’t play by Hama Rules and must stop playing by the old Lebanese Rules. They must start playing by Baghdad Rules.

Read the whole thing.