Saturday, November 27, 2010

Weekend Quick Hits - Korea, Wikileaks, START

China is stepping up to control the dangerous situation on the Korean peninsula - and if you don't think it is dangerous keep in mind that the political atmosphere in Seoul is toxic and another attack by the North Koreans may not be met with great restraint. However, this remark by its Foreign Ministry is an interesting example of how China views a US carrier battle group steaming around its front yard:

We oppose any military act by any party conducted in China's exclusive economic zone without approval.
From an international law standpoint, China is not on shaky ground here. There is no ground. If China somehow claiming that the Yellow Sea is off limits to any naval units then the Foreign Ministry in Beijing needs to go back to school.  I prefer to think this is for domestic consumption which is fine, but inherently dangerous as it sets up the reply: "Or else, what?" resulting in the loss of face from the ultimate climb down.

On another front, Wikileaks is about to publish another release which even the US is warning will contain some embarrassing documents including, it seems, US support for the PKK, Turkish support for al Qaeda supporters in Iraq and some unflattering characterizations of Russian leadership.  Of course, this is as yet speculation and it could very well be that the US was talking to the PKK - which is a terrorist organization but secular and opponents to the Kurdish Hezbollah which works with al Qaeda. This is called realpolitik. The idea that Turkey officially supports al Qaeda is absurd merely because it would involve the military which is not known for supporting non-secular movements.  Nevertheless, this could be fun. Really.

And entering the world of he terminally stupid (the US Republican party), Senator Richard Lugar (R - Indiana) one of the last of the breed with brains, had to warn members of the lizard party that the failure to ratify the treaty could have drastic consequences for other facets of U.S.-Russia nuclear cooperation -- especially the Nunn-Lugar effort to secure loose nuclear materials throughout the former Soviet Union. If START fails, the cooperation between the United States and Russia on securing loose nukes could be imperiled, representing an even bigger risk for national security, Lugar said.

The money quote:
There are still thousands of missiles out there. You better get that through your heads.

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