North Korea: Syria was an excuse


Rizwan Ghani

NORTH Korea has no chance to make its case against America. The biased reporting of pro-US western media on its situation, like Iraq and Afghanistan, is just another ploy to allow Washington to achieve its strategic objectives against China and Russia in Korean Peninsula. The recent US military action in Syria was an excuse to achieve US strategic objectives in Korean Peninsula. Behind the media fog, a great game has been enacted in which presence of US forces in the South Korea and Korean Peninsula waters have been expanded.
The experts have rejected Pence’s warning as mere blustering in which he said that the “Era of strategic patience” has ended. Reportedly, in a recent US policy review on North Korea it was concluded that a combination of sanctions, enhanced pressure and negotiations can work against North Korea. There is no need for military action and it will be counterproductive. North Korea is no military match against America. But it has enough firepower to damage South Korea. The political situation in South Korea has been exploited. The fall of pro-west Park, upcoming presidential election and likely win of pro-unification socialist presidential candidate forced accelerated completion of deployment of US ground troops, installation of missile defence system in S Korea and naval force arrival in Korean Peninsula waters ahead of the new government.
It explains the prolonged delay in bringing down of Park. It has undermined democratic process in South Korea. The absence of functional government and settling in time required for new government has been used to complete the occupation of South Korea which in turn will have negative impact on the process of bringing both Koreas together under the Sunshine Policy.
It is an established model. A similar situation was faced in Japan which allowed Abe to come to power. His predecessors made election promises to end US military bases in Japan but failed to do it. They lost elections. The new government of South Korea will also witness similar challenges. Also, it will be difficult to have free and fair election in the country when geo-strategic interests of powerful foreign players are at stake. It shows West’s hollow support for democracy.
On the regional front, Pence has warned Beijing and Moscow as its regional allies to reign in North Korea or else all the options are on the table. It is a classic war tactic. Washington has gained strategic advantage in South Korea and now it asking its allies to control North Korea. How could Beijing be on board with US while its defence system in South Korea is aimed against China? And for that matter Moscow cannot be expected to support US against its regional ally and after its role in Syria and Afghanistan. If Washington is really serious about peace in the Korean peninsula, it should withdraw its forces from the region and allow people of both Koreas to decide their future. Reportedly, people of South Korea want to have good relations with North Korea. They take them as their kith and kin. Let both Koreas unite like Germanys and they will settle their own problems.
Trump promised to end US interference in the world. But the recent policy shifts in Syria, South Korea and Afghanistan are complete u-turns. He has also changed his position on NATO and now says it is “no longer obsolete”. He criticized his predecessors for their “interventionist ” policies, waging wars on fake evidences and supporting NATO at the cost of US money and national interest. He saw Russia as friend. He opposed regime change policy in Syria but now he is calling Assad a butcher which has prompted speculation that he advocates regime change. West has played a dirty role in Turkey also. Amid disputed allegations about use of foreign hand in chemical attack in Syria, there are now demands for death penalty for coup plotters in Turkey. It is counterproductive move because international media has already termed it as ‘manufactured’ to change country’s political system to protect West’s interests in the region. This policy should stop before Turkey is lost like Syria and Iraq.
Trump administration needs to review their Afghan policy. The MOAB was dropped on the day Russia had called talks to help restore peace in Afghanistan. Reportedly, Indian armed forced took part alongside US military forces in the operation also. Islamabad needs to end this situation on its borders because it has far reaching implications for Pakistan. Delhi will have to end its presence in Afghanistan and Kashmir to have normal relations with Pakistan and other regional powers.
—The writer is senior political analyst based in Islamabad.

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