Sunday, November 28, 2010
Rather than surprised at the recent conflict between North and South Korea, I am more plagued with a sense of Deja Vu. Wash, Rinse, Repeat. Or in the case of North Korea, violate a previous treaty, respond to increased repercussions with conflict, agree to return to negotiations and form a new agreement, repeat as necessary until North Korea becomes accepted as a nuclear weapons capable state. From the violated 1991 North-South Denuclearization Accord, to the violated 2005 Six Party Joint Statement, to the violated 2007 and 2008 Six Party Agreements, North Korea has done a fine job at repeating. However, the one variable that has not remained constant for this most recent escalation of tension between North and South Korea is Kim Jong-Un, the son of and likely successor to Kim Jong-Il. Unfortunately, Kim Jong-Un, an individual with no previous North Korean military experience, is attempting to bolster his political standing and legitimize his future as leader of North Korea in a time where the regime is much more fragile than during Kim Jung-Il's time. Therefore, the world response to North Korea's most recent political-military stunt to leverage power and legitimacy may end up reaching farther and lasting longer than either the father or son would have anticipated, creating a more dangerous situation that may break North Korea's cycle of treaty and conflict for better, or for worse.