On Korea, Joe Biden Is Choosing Every Bad Option, by Ted Galen Carpenter

Continually insisting that North Korea abandon its nuclear weapons is not likely to make North Korea any less belligerent. And South Korea doesn’t need the U.S. to underwrite it’s military. From Ted Galen Carpenter at libertarianinstitute.org:

Joe Biden has managed to embrace nearly all of the worst, most dangerous options with respect to U.S. policy on the Korean Peninsula. Washington’s policy toward North Korea is utterly sterile and ineffective. The glimpses of hope during Donald Trump’s administration that the United States might adopt a fresh approach instead of clinging to its longstanding, unattainable demand that North Korea abandon its nuclear weapons program have vanished. Biden abandoned even Trump’s modest policy deviations. Instead, his administration has resumed the insistence on Pyongyang’s complete denuclearization, along with placing strict limits on the country’s ballistic missile capabilities. North Korea continues to test missiles with ever longer ranges as U.S. leaders fume impotently.

At the same time, the Biden administration shows no inclination to re-examine the risk-reward calculation with respect to Washington’s alliance with South Korea, even as Pyongyang is now acquiring the capability to strike the American homeland. Indeed, administration officials are moving in the opposite direction, emphasizing the U.S. defense commitment to its longstanding dependent and discouraging any hints that Seoul may wish to take greater responsibility for its own defense—especially if such an initiative includes the acquisition of an independent nuclear deterrent. Instead, U.S. leaders are working to enlist South Korea as a pawn in a geostrategic chess match directed against China in exchange for a more robust U.S. commitment to defend Seoul against its North Korean adversary.

The continuing, if not intensifying, patron-client relationship between the United States and South Korea was underscored in the joint declaration that Biden and South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol issued following their April 26, 2023, summit meeting; “The ROK has full confidence in U.S. extended deterrence commitments and recognizes the importance, necessity, and benefit of its enduring reliance on the U.S. nuclear deterrent.” If that wasn’t enough to emphasize South Korea’s continuing security dependence on the United States, the declaration added, “President Yoon reaffirmed the ROK’s longstanding commitment to its obligations under the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty as the cornerstone of the global nonproliferation regime.”

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One response to “On Korea, Joe Biden Is Choosing Every Bad Option, by Ted Galen Carpenter

  1. Just saw the Live, Love, Laugh of Lil’ Kim with the submarine in the background.
    China’s Junkyard Dog has been quiet lately.


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