Same caution here as the last time I posted about Korea news: I have no expertise in these matters whatsoever. But, perhaps because Korea has been a policy sideshow for official Washington, a lot of what does get written about the Koreas seems somewhat less caught in a intellectual straightjacket than what we hear about such chewed over, if ill-digested, regions as the Middle East. Hence the title of this post.
I found this an interesting conundrum:
One of Podvig's Bulletin colleagues made an even more challenging suggestion:
I think of Hymans as applying an "origins of World War I" hypothesis to the Korean situation. In 1914, complex modern European societies set up a series of assumptions and trip wires that put them on a path to a war that few sought, but none could interrupt once they entered on what they had defined as their national critical paths. Hymans sees something like that developing in East Asia. The irrational strains in each of the societies involved could come into play. Scary prospect; worth pondering.
Meanwhile, at least some who know point out there is no prospect of North Korea's neighbor, China, taking a hard stance against nuclear weapons development.
This one I picked up via James Fallows.
The articles I've excerpted above made my picture of what is happening in an unfamiliar part of the world more nuanced. Another contribution to the Bulletin was discouraging:
I have an unhappy feeling that more of us need to start grappling with understanding this situation.