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North Korea changes Asian and American political dynamics

North Korea changes Asian and American political dynamics

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Published by Frank Kaufmann
This article makes recommendations to improve US foreign policy in the Pacific Rim
This article makes recommendations to improve US foreign policy in the Pacific Rim

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Published by: Frank Kaufmann on Jan 15, 2013
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07/08/2013

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Changes in the North Pacific and American Politics
by Frank Kaufmann, 01/13/13PAGE 1
 Though the world failed to end last December, one bad event actually didhappen. The Democratic Peoples Republic of Korea – North Korea – the Far East'sonly nuclear power, broke an embarrassing three time losing streak, successfullylifting a missile into orbit.New York Timeswriter Choe Sang-Hun reported that though North Korea insistedits Unha-3 rocket, launched Dec. 12 was part of its peaceful space program,intelligence officials disagree. South Koreans recovered and analyzed the rocket’sflight data and the debris of its oxidizer tank recovered in waters off South Koreatwo days after the rocket launch and concluded that North Korea clearly wastesting a ballistic missile. The missile can fly more than 6,200 miles, with awarhead of about 1,100 to 1,300 pounds, putting the West Coast of the UnitedStates in range. The DPRK continues itsApocalypse Nowstyle-war with South Korea, and byextension with the United States and our close ally Japan. The fact that a reclusenation, inaccessible to the international community, is heavily armed with nuclearweapons and now finally has developed a delivery system capable of threateningUS cities, is not a good thing at all. The success of North Korea's missile launch reconfirms that the situation in theNorth Pacific, and the Pacific Rim as a whole is clearly one of the most tensepolitical situations on earth. There is no other place in the world where all threeelements of a genuine foreign policy crisis come so fully into harmony; clear,inarguable, nuclear war capacities, a reliable delivery system, and outrighthostility to the United States and its close allies. Not even Iran's nuclearambitions compare to North Korea's proven, fully mature, nuclear capabilities. The Far East has two of America's strongest and most economically and politicallystable allies in the world in South Korea and Japan. Likewise it has one of America's strongest self-avowed enemies in nuclear-armed North Korea, and oneof America's biggest foreign policy challenges in the mighty, growing, developing,expansionist world power, China.China, like North Korea, can by no stretch be put in the US allies column. We faceserious opposition with China in all areas including economic, military, andpolitical; Economically with the obvious liquidity and debt imbalance wecriminally brought on ourselves. Militarily in such vital areas geopolitically as the
 
Changes in the North Pacific and American Politics
by Frank Kaufmann, 01/13/13PAGE 2
South China Sea, and with the permanent hair-trigger nervousness related to USmilitary commitment to Taiwan. Politically, these two world powers vie forinfluence in arenas such as Africa, Syria and the Middle, East and elsewhere whilesidelining the U.S. and Western allies.Because the United States descended religiously from the Middle East andculturally from Europe in its inception, Americans have tended naturally to beoriented eastward, and by default this translates into our obsession withdysfunction and instability in the Middle East. Of course, the geopolitical force of petroleum production in the region fuels the outsized devotion to this region in thefragile net of our foreign policy considerations.A plain, unbiased gaze however, would provide clear evidence that a Westwardorientation, and serious devotion to the Pacific Rim holds every bit the sameurgency for our future and should properly spark equal intensity in its demand forAmerican foreign policy attention. The evolving, deep crisis of the Pacific Rim requires urgent, practical andstructural reorientation in American, political impulses and mentality.American Pacific states from California to Alaska and including Hawaii needincreasingly to be recognized as having ever greater ballast and significance inAmerica's political future. This region needs to grow in the assumption of gravitasand “centrality” in the American political mind, and slowly acquire the samestatus and unexamined presumption of political importance for Americans as doesthe old-century's habits of mind when we think of Washington DC and theNortheastern United States.Secondly, we quickly need ever more Asian descent political leaders in USpositions of leadership, both elected, and among political appointees. By this Imean not only American through and through people who happen to be “Asian”only when you open your eyes, but more particularly, Asian candidates andappointments whose orientation, identity, impulses, causes, and insights are tiedspecifically to the concerns and cultures of Asian communities and nations.Of course aggressive pursuit of greater integration into American politics mustcome from within the Asian communities themselves, but additionally allAmericans especially those who are politically engaged, savvy, and powerful mustinvest in creating a social, cultural, political environment in with such candidatesare welcomed and encouraged, and where candidates for important appointmentsare strongly considered. We all know that political access remains anunnecessarily closed club in America even to this day. The need for insights unique to Asian-Americans, most especially to influence

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