No Respite for US Foreign Policy

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Robert Kaplan notes in the FT (Attacks that may signal a Pyongyang implosion) that the Obama administration has up to now been emphasizing its focus on East Asia, partly as respite from the mixed news (at best) from Afghanistan and Iraq. So much for that. The optimistic take on renewed North Korean hostility is that it is a sign of a regime in its death throes, but be careful what you wish for, says Kaplan.

A sudden implosion could unleash the mother of all humanitarian problems, with massive refugee flows toward the Chinese border and a semi-starving population of 23m becoming the ward of the international community - in effect the ward of the US, Chinese and South Korean armies. Yet while regime change in the North is welcome in the abstract, we should remember that the only thing that might be worse than a totalitarian government is no government at all: a lesson we all should have learnt from Iraq.


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Clive Crook is a senior editor of The Atlantic and a columnist for Bloomberg View. He was the Washington columnist for the Financial Times, and before that worked at The Economist for more than 20 years, including 11 years as deputy editor. Crook writes about the intersection of politics and economics. More

Crook writes about the intersection of politics and economics.

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