The diary I posted three days ago, nominally about the views of four neocons on U.S. nuclear weapons, had comments totaling 45 as of last night, largely because the comments thread had morphed into a discussion of the ongoing Korean crisis. It seems desirable to continue that discussion in a way that is not diverted by the views of four foolish people that Obama is wrong to (allegedly) dial down the U.S. nuclear presence.

Statue in the DPRK

Contrary to mainstream media reports, is the Obama administration antagonizing the DPRK?

To begin, the commenters to that diary were largely in agreement that the U. S. announcement yesterday of intent to deploy an anti-missile system on the island of Guam was terrible, because it would be viewed by the leadership of the DPRK (popularly called “North Korea”) as a serious provocation: Although the move is being sold as a matter of defending U. S. Pacific territories, it gives the U.S. first-strike capability (just as was discussed for Nixon’s proposed ABM in 1969 and Reagan’s “Star Wars” in 1983): It can launch a nuclear attack on the DPRK in confidence that it can shoot down any missiles fired in return. Fortunately, however, the deployment will take “weeks,” according to the Guardian’s article on the subject. Not fortunate at all (what was thinking): If the DPRK feels provoked enough, it could decide it must act before the system arrives.

Of course, those who accept the current narrative that it is the DPRK that is doing the provoking will not be able to see this. Thus Rupert Murdoch’s WSJ is reporting that the Obama administration is now “dialing back” its posture after those B-2s and F-22s were sent over, “put[ting] the next steps in the playbook on hold,” and in the process reported the Pentagon’s claim that the anti-missile deployment was “defensive — rather than offensive” with a straight face.

It is also worth noting that yesterday’s WaPo editorial, while rejecting any proposal to actually talk to the DPRK, calls for tightening the screws on it by increased financial sanctions.

There is no question that the DPRK leadership views the situation as serious. The MSM are reporting today on “increased rhetoric” and moving a missile battery to the east coast, but the most significant development is the effective shutting down of the Kaesong industrial complex that has been operating jointly with the ROK (“South Korea”) since the early 2000s when Kim Dae Jung led the latter country.

In short, the situation is serious, and O and his acolytes are doing or saying all the wrong things.

Photo by Denis Bakfiets released under a Creative Commons Share Alike license.