Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Tensions are rising on the Korean peninsula

Relations between the two Koreas have become increasingly tense lately, and the longstanding divisions among South Koreans over policy toward the North show no signs of disappearing. See this piece by Blaine Harden in the Wash. Post today. H/t: Open Source Geopolitics.


El Jefe Maximo said...

Korea is, I think, about the scariest geopolitical situation out there at the moment, although Pakistan gives the place a run for its money. (Iran's gaining in third mainly because of the strain the drop in oil prices is likely putting on its domestic stability).

Essentially North Korea's Zimbabwe with nukes and a really big army.

It looks as if the Kim Jong Il succession struggle might be under way; either that, or the Dear Leader's preparing a heap big purge and wants to see who stirs on the rumors of his failing health.

The North Korean state does not appear to me to have another generation left. If this is the case, the question statesmen must answer is how the thing can crash without taking the ROK and probably Japan with it, or at any rate breeding a huge war.

LFC said...

I agree that the future of N. Korea is murky, problematic and yes, perhaps scary. The best scenario for regional stability -- i.e. a smooth succession to Kim Jong Il -- is not necessarily the best scenario for the people of N. Korea, but I'm not sure how that circle can be squared.

El Jefe Maximo said...

And that's it in a nutshell, LFC. What's best for stability and peace cannot be squared with what's best for the people of North Korea, lest the regime in its death throes do terrible things with WMD's and its huge army. Absent a miracle, any solution must be purely internal. . .and the odds of that toast landing jelly-side side up aren't good.

Yes, a Captain Obvious conclusion I admit, but still dreadful.