Monday, October 09, 2006

North Korea's Bomb

Outside of a drop in South Korean stocks, North Korea’s bomb test has had virtually no impact on the U.S. or world stock markets..

The best risk barometers—namely gold and oil—have barely moved. U.S. stocks are actually higher as of this writing.

I’ve been reading about various Apocalypse Now war scenarios from assorted neo-con type bombers and warriors, but frankly, I don’t get it. The big issue in the years ahead will be how to manage the total collapse and meltdown of North Korea whose economy is 1/40th the size of South Korea’s.

Think of this: the food shortages in North Korea are so bad that inhabitants are literally eating the bark off trees.

23 million North Korean refugees will be a big management problem for China, South Korea, and U.S. military forces. But wartime bombing of North Korea is not the solution. Some kind of diplomatic and economic discussion with China, South Korea, Japan, and others has to be the answer.

(Let’s not forget that North Korea is a long way from weaponization. Their July rocket tests fizzled badly. If North Korea invaded South Korea that would be different—very different. But that’s not happening.)

Reunification of the Koreas is inevitable. It’s just a question of how this process is nurtured and managed.

Any plausible solutions to North Korea must emphasize economic connectivity in that region, as part of a deal worked out with China, South Korea and Japan. Kim Jong-il wants attention, but he especially wants economic help. We shouldn’t give it to him until a grand design is worked out diplomatically. Again—with China, South Korea, and Japan.

This goes along with the best news I’ve seen on the global terror war in general, from master politico/diplomatist James Baker, who wants to negotiate with Iran and Syria in order to create some resolution for the Iraq disaster. Global negotiations on the other side of the world with China and the Koreas may be part of this grand design process.