Thankfully things seem to have calmed down just a little on the Korean peninsula. It is reasonable to assume that if the Americans were serious about taking military action against the North then they wouldn’t have sent the Vice President to South Korea and he certainly wouldn’t have taken his daughter along. The second reason to be just a little more relaxed about the whole thing is that I always thought that should America really want to do some serious damage to North Korea they would need at least one more carrier group in the area. Just before the weekend there were reports that the Eisenhower carrier group may well sail for Korea – if this proved to be the case then I think we may well have been much closer to the resumption of the Korean war. As I write this I don’t believe it has been dispatched so that is a positive sign.
However, before we start to breath a little easier there are now reports that both Russia and China are sending naval ships to the area to monitor what America is up to. Both of these are symbolic of course but nonetheless having so much hardware in relatively close proximity to one another isn’t something to welcome. Of course the biggest unknown in all this is just what the North Koreans are going to do, with or without China’s permission/interaction. Their foreign minister has made the usual bellicose noises about more missile tests et al. Whether they take place is another matter but this is yet another complex uncertainty to add to the whole mix of threat/counter threat back channel pressure. This of course assumes that the person sitting where the buck stops in Florida (these things always seem to happen whilst the President is taking yet another golfing holiday at his, sorry his son’s – silly me for thinking that the resort still belongs to the President of the United States of America, Palm Beach country club) is a rational and thoughtful person with an eye for the detail and nuance that high stakes diplomacy requires. I will let you decide whether that description describes the current President of the United States – personally I have my doubts.
So that has cleared that up in much the same way that Sean Spicer cleared up his missteps last week about Hitler. This really is a long distance runaround.