Four cautionary views about North Korea, including from the Australian perspective

Update 24 April 2017: Ramesh Thakur, James O’Neill, and Mack Williams in Pearls and Irritations.

The recent voyage of the USS Carl Vinson will for some time tie Australia and North Korea together, as the ship’s original destination and the country adjacent to its final destination, although where the ship and its companion vessels were in the meantime is still a little uncertain. While the Vinson has chugged across the ocean, Australian analysts outside the mainstream media have been cogitating.

Former senior diplomat, Richard Butler, one of Honest History’s distinguished supporters, wrote on John Menadue’s Pearls and Irritations blog that we should not fall for the line that the North Korean situation is another Cuban missile crisis. Any military attack on the North would be disastrous; the United States cannot solve the problem on its own.

Also on Pearls and Irritations, Richard Broinowski, a former Australian Ambassador to the Republic of Korea, sets out four myths about the bloodymindedness and bloodthirstiness of North Korea and appeals for reasoned negotiation through the United Nations. Quentin Dempster, formerly of the ABC, asks (Pearls and Irritations again), asks what should Australia do next in relation to the United States, China and North Korea; he argues for greater self-reliance in foreign policy. (There is lots more along these lines on the Honest History site; look particularly under ‘Features‘ or ‘Getting on with the world‘ or search ‘foreign’ and ‘defence’.)

Finally, on The Conversation, Benjamin Habib appeals for non-military solutions. (His previous article links.)

One could be forgiven for observing the current US-North Korea standoff as a game played by privileged men in suits on either side, gambling with the lives of ordinary citizens. Millions of lives on both sides of the demilitarised zone and beyond are placed at unnecessary risk through such high-stakes brinkmanship.

21 April 2017

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