When Adolf Hitler emerged as a real threat to the world towards the end of the 1930s and those baked an appeasement policy initially found that the Fuehrer’s hunger was insatiable, the ‘good’ forces decided to come together to eradicate the menace. It took a devastating world war for the Allied Powers to see a Hitler-free world ultimately.
The point to make here is that the safety and well-being of the world was not compromised then, and the forces united unconditionally to beat the challenge.
A dictator is threatening the world, but the anti-forces are ineffective
Fast forward to 2016. We have a state ruled by the dictator of North Korea, Kim Jong-un, who cares little about the international law and continues to pose a threat to its safety by procuring and testing atomic weapons at will. The ‘white’ forces that had checked Hitler’s advances in the mid-1940s now look increasingly ‘grey’ and there is no unconditional unity even when the danger is looming large. Do we really have an international system in place?
The tension between China and the United States and its allies over an increasingly reckless North Korean regime and the lack of a consensus to check the hermit kingdom’s steady growth as a nuclear power are more than shocking. Instead of coming together and sternly ask Kim to act more responsibly, the two permanent Security Council members are more worried about how not to lose face against each other.
China, the permanent Security Council member which lies closest to North Korea, has a big duty to rein it in. But Beijing, which has its own conflict of interests with Washington and its allies in the Asia-Pacific, is using the North Korean question to its own advantage. And China’s dubious role has certainly paralyzed the Security Council from taking decisive steps against the Kim regime.
An equivalent of the Cuban Missile Crisis?
China has so much at stake in the region that for it, a North Korea with devastating weapons is better than one with an unstable regime. It is concerned over 'Thaad' -- the US-built missile defense system planned to be executed in South Korea, which Washington says is aimed at protecting its ally from North Korea’s missiles.
But China feels the system could undermine its own nuclear power. Sounds similar to the Cuban Missile Crisis of the 1960s, isn’t it?
Why China wants North Korea to survive
Beijing also suspects that the US is encircling it in East Asia and its efforts against Pyongyang’s nuclear adventures could also be a part of that game.
Still burdened heavily by the memories of the Korean War of the 1950s, China doesn’t want North Korea’s collapse in any form for that would not only remove the buffer between it and the rival powers but also see a major refugee influx from the tiny neighbor. North Korea matters the most for China as part of its anti-US strategy-making program.
The US, too, can't deny its role
Washington also cannot deny its own failure in this problem. It has expected throughout that the Chinese will take care of this problem citing the latter as North Korea’s only ally. But the fact is China and North Korea are not allies, and Kim cares little for Beijing’s advice and has cleverly utilized the opportunities that the US-China tension has given him.
By planning the missile defense system in South Korea, the US has basically extended the power politics of the Korean War era. As a global leader, it was expected to play a more responsible role in this issue.
That the visions of the Americans and Chinese in East Asia or Korean Peninsula never converge despite both calling for the end of the nuclear race in that part is the main reason why reckless nations like North Korea will be difficult to control. During Hitler’s time, the consensus was uncompromising.
Today, a Kim Jong-un alone can take the world for a ride just because so-called guardians of the international community are not ready to rise above their own self-interests. #News #Foreign Policy #Foreign Affairs