Monday, October 09, 2006

North Korea and Iran

I will spare us the back and forth accusations of the parties for the problems with North Korea and Iran. There is more than enough blame to go around. Suffice it to say that I believe that successive Administrations honestly sought to contain their nuclear ambitions. The U.S. has tried direct and multi-party talks, sanctions, bribery, international isolation, and internationalism. Nothing has worked.

I have argued that the difference between Iran and North Korea is one of rational and reasonable behavior. I still believe this to be true and humbly suggest that the approach to their respective problems must be individualized. We have reached the same point in both cases- North Korea has gone nuclear and Iran soon will.

Becoming a nuclear power makes both nations unassailable. It is simply as inconceivable today, as it was in 1962, that a conventional assault on a nuclear power could be contained. This effectively takes the "military option" off the table.

With regards to Iran, economic and political isolation dramatically helps the regime maintain itself. She has a largely self-contained economy, however weak, and continued dispute and international condemnation is not likely to be more effective in the next six years than it has in the last thirty.

With regards to North Korea, her people are on the edge of starvation and their economy is nonexistent. South Korea, Japan, and China are in the best position to move things along so we will have to follow their lead.

The point of this post is twofold:

First, I want to suggest that the US has no interest in maintaining the animus with Iran. Iran has a well-educated populous that clearly wants greater freedom of thought and action... albeit in a distinctly "Persian" way. We need to accept that "liberty" may take on different forms and that the Western experiment with unlimited personal and individual freedom may not be adaptable to nations with a root in communalism.

Second, I want to suggest that the US cannot take unilateral action- military, economic, or diplomatic, to bring North Korea to a state of reason. We are dealing with a collective inability to reason and a leadership that is not in touch with reality. Furthermore, our interests in the region are dwarfed by those of China. It is time to come to an agreement with China that increases her international prestige in exchange for a regime change in North Korea.

I am suggesting that the US should privately request the dismantling of the present regime (and the death of the midget king) and the installing of a subject/satellite regime in North Korea, in exchange for public acknowledgement of, and accolades for, China's pivotal role in the region. China is desperate for international prestige and a role in defining the future. We have it in our power to voluntarily cede regional hegemony and should do so.

More broadly, I envision a reinstablishment of the stability that the world enjoyed during the Cold War.

We should carve the world up into sectors of political control and negotiate only with the parties that are in the driver's seat in each sector. Iran can effectively control the Gulf states and South Central Asia. China can effectively keep the lid on Asia proper. Egypt can control North Africa and the western side of the Suez. South Africa can control Sub-Saharan Africa and Nigeria, with support, can bring Western Africa to heel. Kenya is the natural master of East Africa. Obviously Russia needs to be reinstalled as the undisputed ruler of the mountain lands of Central Asia.

So, what is left for us? Well, the Europeans will easily bring Eastern Europe under their sway, so we needn't worry about them. This leaves the US as the masters of the Western Hemisphere. We can easily bring South and Central America to us with economic and immigration policies that affirm our interrelatedness.

At the end of the day, our security rests not with our trying to control each and every threat to our interests but in placing responsibility for regional security in those nations that have the greatest interest in preventing chaos. Since our greatest contributions to Man stem not from control of land an peoples but from our influence in areas of intellectual development, technology, economic systems, and law, we need to work towards stability.

In my opinion, stability comes not from the world accepting our model of society, culture, and government but from relations between nations, devoid of military conflict. Without conflict, self-interest rules and self-interest is inherently disposed towards economic activity. Since we can't force those out of our sphere of influence, we need to accept regional hegemony as a remedy to national self-determination. If this means accepting brutality by a regional power over a smaller nation, so be it.


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