Has been interesting watching some of the messages being sent out and the way they've been interpreted.
- is it that Kim Jong Un doesn't know how to ratchet down (Offer them a set of choices? Make signal too indirect and they may not understand it? Too direct and they may just ratchet it up again.)? or is he being influenced not to go down? Based on what I've read about him this doesn't seem like his 'natural personality' or his wording/phrasing (if feels like they've learnt from or were taught by the Iranians). Need further information though. Likely need a combination of greater background work by intelligence analysts (keep in mind the notion of 'projection' when doing analysis) and analysis by defectors.
- this is as much about us as about them. For a long while now, North Korea has used provocations and other techniques as a means of gaining concessions. They've been pushing back members of the international community and we've been responding to threats. Shutting down all communications is simply another means of controlling the situation from there side. Become proactive whether it has to do with offers of peace, aid, war, etc...
Basically, engage rather than respond to them. We need to break the cycle provocations/response at some point. Possibly link a stop of threats to a growth in aid over time? a reduction of sanctions? Then link any increase in provocations to the opposite as well?
- present all a wide range of options at next meeting. Figure out whether they are just looking for attention/aid? whether they simply aren't going to except anything? and are simply going to be a nuisance for a short while... if it is the latter would be looking carefully elsewhere.
- if it is the case that we aren't really dealing purely with Kim Jong Un then we should be thinking about those people are all 'pulling the strings'? if my reading of the background of some of the people who may be 'pulling the strings' is correct then we may need to factor in other issues as well. Personal experience indicates that that people who have been under intense stress, wars, famine, etc... often have an extremely tarnished view of the world. Factor this in as well...
- are they ratcheting things up because they are trying to solidify or is this going to be the tone of things to be come? support a possible uprising? chances of success (note difference between Mail and Iraq/Syria. Support was clear in Mali and we intervened early. Highly unlikely this is going to be a 'clean operation')?
- if the regime is at breaking point? does he simply need a way out of this for himself and other members of the regime?
- if Iran/North Korea are co-operating/distracting international community efforts for arms control then it's likely that messages are going to be 'massaged' as well. Factor this in. Use what we have learnt in past confrontations. Don't just give up, poke, prod, learn, feel...
- if you honestly believe that he is going trying to solidify things (with a chance of piece down the line) suggest you make the offer big and credible but not enough to make us look 'weak'. That will only encourage further provocations.
- look at trying to increase the size of the buffer zone if at all possible. That way we can reduce the chances of misunderstandings/accidents in future. You can't shoot/provoke someone if they aren't within range.
- if you want to ratchet it down, consider ratcheting down a lot... A simple re-schedule is unlikely to be enough. Something that can be seen to be a genuine concession. If they are to de-nuclearize the concessions are probably going to be high/almost unpalatable. This is more than just a regional problem. China, Japan, South Korea, United States, and other neighbours are all vital to the world's interests from both political, military, economic, and other interests. Hope that the if peace can be negotiated the burden of re-building North Korea is going to shared by all.
- reading further and clear that re-unification is unlikely going to be smooth/easy and if it is going to happen it's going to be in the distant future. It will take time. Don't try to do too much at once but don't give up an short/medium term stability. Many barriers are going to have to be broken down. Consider 'PSYOPS' type operations. Broadcast international media into North Korea, drop leaflets, etc... Try to ensure that it's not just propoganda. Try to make sure that there is no threat of invasion unless provoked. If we are to give aid make sure that it's the type of aid which can not be re-used for dual purposes. Make sure that it is the type of aid that can only be used to help the citizens of North Korea and ensure that they know where exactly it's coming from. Be more aware of the implcations of some of sanctions that have been imposed. Try to make it targeted towards the regime rather than the people. Done incorrectly it will just harden their resolve and case against us. Be aware that like Iran they have 'hardened' their economy against sanctions and it's likely that anytime you do ratchet it up their likely to simply take it away from the people. Keep in mind that the UN and international laws have not caught up or are applicable to our circumstances. In this case, we have to consider alternative options...
- if there is an issue of pride/face at stake consider sending aid via China. History seems to play a more important role in Asia then in some of the cultures that I have most often been exposed to.
- believe that more work needs to be done into exactly why Kim Jong Un was chosen to be North Korea's new leader. Don't think that this is as simple as it first appears.
- history indicates that no countries that possess nuclear weapons have been invaded. Need to see how they view the rest of the world. Work back from there...
- delivery of message is poor in some cases. If someone like me is analysing your responses it can be guaranteed that there will be an army of staff on their side analysing the way you deliver your messages. Nuance/inflections points are important in guaging the mood of someone and their conviction behind the message being conveyed.
- if considering change of regime think about Libya/Syria. Not going to be smooth. Believe that the following quotes are relevant, "it was once said of Prussia that it wasn't a country that had an army, but an army that had a country. And North Korea is a garrison state, a society organized for war", and "the conventional army loses if it does not win. The guerrilla wins if he does not lose."
- China and other countries need to understand that while territory does play an important role in defense it is pointless unless you have some relative control over it. It is in China's best interests that they bring North Korea under control during peacetime than during war. Moreover, with some of the weapons in circulation and under development now, North Korea could be (depends on the level of risk you're willing to take) rendered fairly useless in the early part of any campaign. The strength, survival, growth, and stability of North Korea is important for both itself as well as that of it's neighbours so don't look at this whole situation like it's not your problem. Allies (or even 'attack dogs') who can not be brought to heal are just as dangerous for their owners as well as strangers/enemies. Moreover, while China plays an important cog in the world economy they should realise that they aren't indispensable. Others can and are likely willing to take their place. Continued military provocations can only serve to hinder relations and future trade between them and the rest of the world. Peace is in everyones best interests.