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January 21, 2011

An Unexpected Backbone

Remembering back to all their previous encounters, where President Obama displayed all the spine of a Democratic planarian, I really haven't expected much from him on the foreign policy front. In particular, I imagined that he'd continue to be pushed around by the Chinese, who have been using North Korea as a distraction from their own activities. This President has always valued his verbiage too highly, and his confidence in using it to achieve foreign policy goals has been completely misplaced.

So I must say that this was completely unexpected, and very, very welcome (if true):

Obamabows1.jpg
2009: Backbone check Fail!! Will 2011 be different?
The New York Times said Obama warned his Chinese counterpart that if Beijing did not step up pressure on North Korea, Washington would redeploy its forces in Asia to protect itself from a potential North Korean strike on U.S. soil.

Wow - the old iron fist in a velvet glove. I expected the velvet glove, but the iron fist? Quite a pleasant surprise.

The Chinese reaction so far has been exactly what you'd expect - vague threats to test our resolve:

Wang Dong of Peking University's School of International Studies said Washington's reported warning to Beijing was a slap in the face for the Chinese leader, who has urged the two Koreas to resolve their differences through dialogue.

"Playing tough like this, it might just backfire, I'm afraid," Wang said. "If this article represents the real thinking by American leaders, the danger of war on the peninsula can never be dismissed."

Exactly, friend Wang: walk a little more softly, because the danger of war can never be dismissed.


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posted by Geoff at 07:46 AM

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