With North Korea perilously close to becoming a nuclear-weapons state and Pyongyang declaring invalid the 1953 armistice agreement with South Korea, the already-fragile security situation in the region is hanging by a thread -- hostilities have commenced on paper, even if no attack is actually undertaken. By now, the Obama administration must realize that the UN Security Council is unlikely to impose measures sufficient to change the thinking in the North, and a potential attack on the Korean Peninsula risks involving 27,000 US troops pledged to come to the aid of the South. It’s time for significant actions by the Obama administration to restore the region to stability and turn North Korea, which cannot open up and survive -- as the Kim regime itself well knows -- away from its current perilous trajectory.
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Few hard facts are available in the outside world on the economy of North Korea. Consequently, analyses of the DPRK economy often take place in a sort of data-free vacuum. There is, however, one relatively reliable source for an aspect of North Korean economic performance, and its data suggest that the DPRK is more dependent upon politically supported trade today than it has been for decades.
The president will not save his pivot by racking up frequent flyer miles. “Showing up” is important, but not nearly as important as what the president has in hand upon his arrival.
In the midst of the greatest threat to European stability since the Balkans war of the 1990s, and perhaps back to the Berlin Crisis of 1961, U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon just announced that the European Union's primary focus should be on fighting climate change.
The Spartans needed only 300 men to hold off tens of thousands of Persians at Thermopylae. To chitchat with democratic leaders of the G-7 this week in Europe, Barack Obama required 900 -- a pefect example of government decadence in post-modern, post-republican America.
In the press conference after the US-Japan-ROK trilateral gathering, President Obama made an almost bizarre statement. The president was quoted as saying, "Over the last five years, close coordination between our three countries succeeded in changing the game with North Korea." That is a completely different view of reality than most observers of Northeast Asia have.