Sunday, June 18, 2017

Korea, Trump, Australia

I was asked in March to write for the Journal of Political Criticism an academic journal published biannually in Seoul. The article is forthcoming in the June 2017 issue. The past few months have seen tempestuous developments in global affairs and in Korea the election of an administration that seems a breath of fresh air. This [more radical] and this [general news service] are useful sources on current developments in Korea.

The article is not so much academic as in the form of writing with which I am most familiar, of policy and strategy advice to government. In the middle of the advice is that of the need to accept the status quo in North Korea. Diplomacy, negotiations, that seek regime change or simple de-nuclearisation by the north are useless.

This is the abstract of my article.
I can send a copy of the whole article if you write to d e n n i s a r g a l l @ g m a i l . c o m .... without the spaces.

The Dilemmas of Middle Powers:
Australia and South Korea in The Age of Trump
A new and different administration has taken office in the Republic of Korea with warm and enthusiastic expectation for change on the part of voters.
The experience of a radically new Australian government, elected in 1972 but defeated three years later, may offer useful lessons. We learned that a government making changes on many fronts risks being misunderstood, risks its own coherence, risks defeat if there is not adequate coordination and adequate public knowledge and understanding of what is happening. Officials and defence force individuals need to have a clear view of the government’s perspectives and their roles in the future.
This is a period of great turbulence in world affairs and western leadership by the United States. There are clashes between different types of organisation and different social perspectives that need to be considered in addressing the Trump White House, the DPRK leadership… and the chaebols.
The United States’ position in the world is no longer unassailably dominant. The ROK’s future is not sensibly tied as in the past back through alliance to western perspectives. It is important for the ROK and China to develop vision statements of their future together.
There is a stagnation in approaches to the DPRK and new ways forward are essential. The ROK needs to assert its right to a commanding role in discussions with the DPRK. ‘Diplomacy’ is not an objective. To seek by diplomacy to get the DPRK to disarm is unrealistic without consideration of and empathy towards the DPRK’s perception of threat and need for deterrence. Acceptance of the status quo is important for any progress.
There must be clear directions for US and ROK officials and defence forces about who decides what defence activities may be carried out and what forces may be introduced or exercised. These directions must reflect ROK sovereignty.
There is a great pressure on the Korean situation from long-established rules, military plans and manoeuvres, tabloid hostilities and mockery of the DPRK and simple-minded opinions in too many high places that the North Koreans are simply crazy.

The ROK needs freedom to put historical baggage aside in dealing with the North. The future of the Korean peninsula has to be resolved in a process of self-determination. Every step must be documented and clear at every level.


While looking for something else, I stumbled on this record of a lunch I attended in 1976, between US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger and Andrew Peacock, Australian Foreign Minister.

Peacock with Shirley MacLaine
who when asked about their
relationship replied that all she
would say was that he was the only
politician she knew who had a Gucci
Kissinger 1976, source.
""Power is the
ultimate aphrodisiac"
My recall of the occasion has been of Kissinger's regard for countries as no more than proxy for his global ambitions, rather than as having their own character and interests.  More alarming in the room than in prior reading and radio and TV.

In the record, Peacock comes across much as he was, skating and fawning. Also anxious about China, as his successors remain, not least because they fear more than they know.

Kissinger much more 'clear headed' about China than Peacock, also ruthless and angry about things done to the Nixon and Ford administrations by the Congress. 'Clear headed' in not getting the jitters but also clear headed in his ruthless Metternichian view of states. Though regarding Metternich as an ideal, without Metternich's notions of balance of power,  more concerned with dominance.

There is no mention of Kissinger's excitement when Peacock told him of John Ridley's access to porn on the hotel TV in New York and his inquiries about how and where to access it.