29 June, 2009

The world is an interesting place

Don't believe me? Let's open the newspaper. South Korea and Japan have agreed, according to the South Korean president, that they "will never tolerate" a nuclear-armed North Korea. This, despite the historic animosity between Koreans and the Japanese. On the other hand, what are they going to do about it? They call for implementing current UN sanctions, and "the need to deepen cooperation with China."

Where to look next: China. There are reasons why China wants and needs a North Korean buffer on its border, but only if NK isn't falling apart internally.

The US general in charge in Iraq reports the American troops are out of the cities, and the al Maliki government has taken the responsibility for urban security. One problem: General Odierno spoke of turning over authority to the "Iraqi Federal Government." There is no federal government in Iraq. It has been proposed, but the US blocked it, relying instead on centralization under al Maliki. For his part, al Maliki referred to the end of the American "occupation" of Iraqi cities. That plays well to the Iraqis, but it's a bit of a slap to the US.

One more example of how you can press for control by force, but you can't make someone your friend. Gratitude has a very short half-life among States.

Khomeni and Akmedenijad have done a thorough job of putting loyalists in charge of the army. Opposition leaders are falling over themselves to support the regime. The unrest now moves to discussions at dining room tables, and the economy continues to decline.

The Honduran ouster of president Zelaya is being described as a coup. Yet it was in defense of the Honduran constitution, in keeping with a Supreme Court finding that an upcoming referendum to allow Zelaya to run for a third term was unconstitutional. Apparently a lot of officers found themselves dealing with cognitive dissonance. What is superior: the orders of the Commander-in-Chief, or the law? On balance, they chose to back the rule of law.

What would the American military do under similar circumstances? I hope we never have to find out.

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