Generational Dynamics: Forecasting America's Destiny Generational
 Forecasting America's Destiny ... and the World's


Generational Dynamics Web Log for 18-May-2010
18-May-10 News -- Korean tensions grow prior to Cheonan announcement

Web Log - May, 2010

18-May-10 News -- Korean tensions grow prior to Cheonan announcement

Iran may have snookered the West in its nuclear deal with Turkey and Brazil

Korean tensions grow as Thursday's Cheonan announcement approaches

The South Korean warship Cheonan was sunk on March 26 by an explosion, killing 46. For a long time, South Korean President Lee Myung-Bak has carefully avoided accusing the North of being responsible for the explosion, for fear that merely saying so would also compel him to a declaration of war.

However, it now appears that an international forensic investigation involving the South Koreans, the US and the Europeans has been completed, and the report to be released on Thursday will say that the explosion was almost certainly caused by a North Korean missile.

Many South Koreans are furious about this attack, but Lee has stalled for almost two months, allowing for tempers to cool. But he's also vowed "clear and resolute measures" against the responsible parties.

Some non-military measures may already have begun. The South announced on Monday that they would suspend funding certain joint activities with the North, according to AFP. Media reports say the South is also considering cutting trade with the North and the defence ministry has said it may resume anti-Pyongyang loudspeaker broadcasts across the border.

We've been reporting on developments in this situation almost on a daily basis, especially as regards the role of China. The Chinese are caught in the middle of this situation, since they're North Korea's benefactor and because China's mediation is the only hope, if there is any, of avoiding all out war. War might well be the outcome, for example, if China simply sides with the North Koreans.

Still, it comes as a surprise on Monday that South Korea's JoongAng news service is reporting that China has rebuffed a special aid request that N. Korean president Kim Jong-il personally made during a trip to Beijing two weeks ago.

The article quotes an unidentified source as saying that Kim cut short his trip to China:

"At the luncheon between Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao and Kim on May 6, the Chinese government informed the North that China will not provide aid outside the framework of the United Nations Security Council sanctions against Pyongyang. After Beijing’s position was explained, Kim shortened his schedule in China."

The article quotes a Chinese analyst in Beijing as saying that Kim's visit "highlights a distinctive rift between Beijing and Pyongyang."

The article does not give a motivation for Beijing's refusal, but my own guess would be the obvious one: That Beijing doesn't want to provoke South Korea into military action against the North, by appearing to reward Kim for the Cheonan sinking.

It's widely believed that North Korea is headed for a major crisis, as Kim Jong-il is increasingly frail and without a clear successor. A collapse of the North Korean government would give China the opportunity to annex North Korea, to take control of its rich mines and transport systems.

North and South Korea are in generational Crisis eras, and it would take very little to trigger a war between them. North Korea seems almost like it WANTS a war. The Cheonan incident is one example. Another is the provocative act of two North Korean patrol boats entering disputed South Korean waters on Saturday.

From the point of view of Generational Dynamics, it would not be surprising at all if the North Korean people wanted a war. This would be the same fantasy self-denial that led the American Confederate South to celebrate when the American Civil War began, or that led the Japanese to bomb Pearl Harbor. It's the worst form of self-delusion, and it's not uncommon in history, especially during generational Crisis eras.

Assuming that Thursday's announcement blames the North for the Cheonan sinking, as analysts expect that it will, it will be a further tremendous humiliation for Kim Jong-il, especially after being rebuffed by China. It will not make Kim any less provocative; to the contrary, it will probably provoke him into taking even more dangerous actions.

Iran may have snookered the West, with the help of Turkey and Brazil

For years, through the Bush and Obama administrations, the US has been leading the West in trying to force Iran to shut down its uranium enrichment operations. Enriched uranium can be used to build nuclear weapons, but Iran claims that it wants the enriched uranium only for peaceful purposes, especially for producing electricity and treating cancer.

And so in 2009, Russia, France and the West made a very clever proposal to the Iranians. Iran would ship its low-enriched uranium to France. France would enrich it and return it to Iran a few months later. Iran could then use it for producing electricity, but since the United Nations would be keeping track of it through its IAEA organization, Iran would not be able to build a bomb.

Now Iran has come up with a very clever response. At a meeting in Tehran, Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad made a deal with Brazil's President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva and Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan to do almost the same kind of thing that the West proposed last year, according to the London Times.

Under the agreement, Iran will ship some low-enriched uranium to Turkey, and Turkey will ship back highly enriched uranium provided by Brazil. So the West is completely shut out of the deal. Furthermore, the deal won't prevent Iran from continuing to enrich uranium.

According to the article, Lula has completely "boxed in" President Obama with this proposal, because Obama cannot reject a proposal similar to the one that he himself offered last year. Lula hailed the deal as a "victory for diplomacy," as he joined hands with Ahmadinejad and Erdogan in a "show of non-aligned triumphalism."

Iran's very clever response has stymied the Obama administration, as it seeks to convince the United Nations Security Council to impose economic sanctions on Iran for violating its obligations under the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty that it has signed. According to the Washington Post, the deal will give China a new excuse to veto any UN sanctions.

The Iran nuclear situation is becoming increasingly dangerous for many reasons, one of which is the possibility that Israel will make a military strike on Iran to take out Iran's nuclear enrichment plants. Iran would counterstrike, and a larger war could result.

And as I've said many times (see, for example, "China 'betrays' Iran, as internal problems in both countries mount"), when all is said and done, I expect Iran to be on the side of America and the West, including Israel, when forced to make a choice in the coming Clash of Civilizations world war.

Additional links

A recent poll shows that popular support for the Spanish government has fallen sharply, following last week's announcement by Prime Minister José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero of harsh austerity measures. Financial Times

International purchases of US Treasuries by foreigners, including China, soared in March. Market Watch

More homeowners are choosing "strategic defaults": when their houses are worth less than their mortgages, they stop making payments and let the bank foreclose. New figures show that this is becoming a much larger problem. Market Watch

Men lose the ability to sleep soundly as they grow older, because of loss of testosterone. Telegraph

Why does anything exist at all? Christian scholars will say that it's for the glorification of God, but any philosophy student will tell you that that answer only "kicks the can down the road," since it doesn't answer the question of why God exists. Now scientists are saying that the key to understanding existence is the newly discovered B-meson particle, but it turns out that only tells us why we're not made of anti-matter. NY Times

When you live in Shanghai, it's very stylish to wear Western-style pajamas in public. But now, with the 2010 World Expo in Shanghai, "pajama policemen" are patrolling neighborhoods, telling pajama wearers to go home and change. NY Times

On Tuesday morning in Europe, the euro fell to its lowest value against the dollar since April 2006. However, other analysts are saying that the sharp fall in the euro makes it likely that it will bounce back up. Bloomberg

(Comments: For reader comments, questions and discussion, see the 18-May-10 News -- Korean tensions grow prior to Cheonan announcement thread of the Generational Dynamics forum. Comments may be posted anonymously.) (18-May-2010) Permanent Link
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