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Pundit Roundtable: Leaks.
July 9, 2006
A WILLisms.com(ic), by Ken McCracken
July 14, 2006
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Hello once again! Welcome back to the PUNDIT ROUNDTABLE, and sorry for the hiatus - I am your slacker-in-chief Ken McCracken, and here are our topics for this week:
Topic 1: North Korea tested seven missiles this week. What, if anything,
can or should be done about Kim Jong-Il, his missiles, and his nuclear program?
Topic 2: How far should the administration push back against leaks by the New York Times and other news outlets? Is the media paying a price with the public for their actions?
Topic 3: What is your favorite place you have been to?
I am pleased to welcome back Pundit Roundtable stalwart Rick Moran of Right Wing Nuthouse. Welcome back Rick, what's on your mind?
Glen Lake, in Glen Arbor, Michigan
Next we have returning pundit and author of Ski-Blog.com, Justin B. Justin took me to task this week for being a slacker in not posting the Roundtable the last few weeks. His punishment for this completely justified swipe at me? Why, an invitation to the Roundtable, of course!
The Host's Last Word: as far as North Korea goes, I think Rick has half the story. China has an interest in keeping us tied down there, surely, but the other half of the story is that China cannot risk the entire population of North Korea flooding into northeast China, which is exactly what would happen if the Pyongyang regime collapses. South Korea still has the DMZ and its billion or so mines there keeping out any unwanted refugees. China has no such buffer, and already has a refugee problem from North Korea. (China would like their trains back, however).
China also dreads the idea of a united Korea. South Korea alone has the world's seventh-largest economy - reunification would hamper the South for a while, but only for a while, and then Korea could become a direct economic threat to China as a whole. There isn't a lot of love lost between the Chinese and Koreans in any event.
Thus, political realities limit the effectiveness of China as a mediating influence on Kim Jong-Il.
The emerging key element is Japan. The threat of Japan becoming a military and possibly nuclear power seems to be the only thing that chills Kim Jong-Il at the moment, and there seems to have been more to Koziumi's Graceland visit than meets the eye - Japan and the U.S. have not been this close diplomatically since the Cold War.
Rearming Japan is the best way to deal with North Korea. Japan is no longer a nascent imperial power just waiting for the right moment to reconquer East Asia. And could any nation be trusted to understand the responsibility of having nuclear weapons more than Japan? Japan has dealt with all six powers in good faith in my estimation, and they have proven themselves to be a dependable ally. They have even more to lose than we do, because Kim might actually be able to hit them with his missiles (it is no accident that Kim's missile tests are usually aimed at Japan).
As for the New York Times, the SWIFT story presents a great political opening for prosecutions. It is of great concern that Bill Keller and the Times lack the basic judgement to know when national security trumps the public's right to know - it is of greater concern that some CIA employees lack this basic judgement also. Finally, at long last, at least one of these CIA leakers needs to be prosecuted to set an example. The Department of Justice needs to empanel a Grand Jury to find the leakers - and then prosecute the Times as well, if the law allows it. There simply is no immunity for journalists in this type of case - though a sort of precedent of immunity is being set by a DoJ that until now has done nothing to stop these leaks (Plame, not being a real 'leak' implicating actual national security concerns, is quite beside the point). Our national security is too important for this type of 'immunity' to solidify into ongoing practice. Enough is enough.
My favorite place? It ain't glamorous, it ain't chic, but I love my hometown of Downers Grove, Illinois. I've been around the world, I've seen some crazy stuff, but I always end up at or near my home in the western 'burbs.
That's it kids! Come back next time for another edition of PUNDIT ROUNDTABLE!
Posted by Ken McCracken · 9 July 2006 01:51 PM
It seems pretty universal that the problem with North Korea is not lil' Kim, but rather China. It was in 1950 and it remains so. It is a proxy fight with the Americans just like Vietnam was.
I think it makes sense to take this one step further and ask what to do about China. I believe they are on the verge of impending chaos, but the world is doing everything we can to prevent it. Three Gorges displaced 100M people who are all pissed off and who live in a police state. Collectivism does not work and sooner or later people get sick of sacrificing for someone else's good. (See the USSR) China's media is almost as good at supressing things as Cuba or North Korea, but there is an undercurrent of discontent.
This is not going to get solved until China gets off the fence and decides whether to embrace Democracy AND CAPITALISM or to remain a Communist nation and follow Mao, Stalin and Marx over the edge. North Korea is a true test of where they stand, and so far, the results should scare the entire rest of the world.
Posted by: Justin B at July 9, 2006 02:09 PM
I will admit, at great risk to my reputation, that I like the Cote d'Azur in July. Beautiful weather, beautiful topography, beautiful flora, beautiful towns, beautiful women, and unbelievable food. It is the best place in the entire world to hang for a couple of weeks.
Posted by: TigerHawk at July 9, 2006 10:00 PM