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May 14, 2018


Naimisha Forest

Hello Mick. I'm a long time reader and admirer of your blog. However I think you are probably wrong about the current US-Korean talks. It is precisely because the North can now hit the US with nuclear weapons that its past behavior is no longer a good guide. Now for the first time the North can negotiate an agreement on its own terms.

Hate Trump as you will, where the 'America-Firsters' will probably get credit in the long-term historical perspective is to have seen the possibility that the likely N Korean terms are also in the US national interest, because both countries face the same long term strategic threat: China.

I argue this case more fully here: https://naimisha_forest.silvrback.com/towards-the-korean-century

Mick H

Thanks for that.

I don't agree that the North has any interest in what the US would understand as denuclearisation. Nor do I see the North as keen to escape on an over-reliance on China. The recent Kim-Xi meetings would seem to argue against that. Kim knows the importance of China. And the only reunification plan that Kim - and Xi - would agree to, it seems to me, is one in which the North would set the ideological tone, and American influence would be reduced to nothing.

Let's not forget that China is reverting under Xi to the kind of totalitarian autocracy that it was under Mao. An independent western-looking unified Korea is not something they're going to contemplate right on their border.

So, I'm not as optimistic as you. But...we'll see.

Naimisha Forest

Thanks Mick,
Actually I think the Kim-Xi meetings are more supportive of my case. If Kim's offer to Trump had been planned with Xi, there wouldn't have have been the need for one much less two meetings. The Chinese were blindsided. The two meetings, one hurriedly on top of the other, suggest they are panicked, worried about what Kim is up to. The FT article by Jamil Anderlini that I quote in my post is right I think - the North has every reason to resist growing Chinese domination, on top of deeply embedded anti-Chinese racism, and Korean nationalism in general. But you're right, we must wait and see.
I totally agree about China reverting to totalitarian autocracy. But I'd say it's not reverting to what it was under Mao. Rather it is evolving to a form of totalitarianism more sophisticated and potent as a danger to Western liberal democracy than any that has come before. One concern is that large parts of the Western elites are now quite demoralized, and have lost faith in democracy, especially after the populist upsurge in the US and parts of Europe. Just read the editorial pages of the FT and the Economist these days. China as the savior of Davosian globalization! These elites are now quite susceptible to the attractions of the Chinese model.
But I've probably been reading too much dystopian political fiction for my own good!

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