Monday, July 10, 2017

Conservative Columnist Bret Stephens Goes from WSJ to NYT and – Leaves Radical World and Goes Completely Into Fantasyland

Solution to Korean Crisis – Not Just Nutty, Peanut Butter Nutty

The New York Times in a failing effort to find a rational conservative for its editorial pages chose former WSJ radical Bret Stephens to grace its opinion pages.  Apparently they found him in the nuthouse.  Stephens touts his option for dealing with a nuclear threat from North Korea this way.

The right answer is that we want the Kim regime out of North Korea. It isn’t the nukes that ought mainly to worry us. It’s the hands that hold them.
Critics of a regime-change strategy note that the only way it could be brought about — short of war, coup or uprising — is with China’s acquiescence. Beijing could end the flow of diesel and gas to Pyongyang, invite Kim for a parley, and permanently ensconce him in the guesthouse that once housed Cambodia’s deposed Prince Sihanouk. Instead, Beijing prefers to maintain the North as a buffer state, a diplomatic bargaining chip and a tool for indirectly threatening the United States.
. . .
 Washington can recognize a North Korean state, even a nuclear one, provided the Kim dynasty doesn’t control it. Beijing should recognize that its interests are best served with Kim gone and North Korea intact, stable and under control.

Yes this apparently is not a joke and you are reading it correctly.  Stephens wants China to kidnap the North Korean leader, imprison him and then, miraculously a new regime takes over which can have all the nukes they want.

Now the U. S. has a history with regime change.  In the 1950's America effected the overthrow of the elected government of Iran and replaced it with a despot, the Shah.   Iranian relations and problems can be traced to that stupid mistake.  In the 1960's part of the strategy was regime change in South Vietnam.  That was a disaster.  Overthrowing Noriega in Panama did not do much harm, but regime change in Iraq was, well, we all know how that worked out.

Even worse, the North Koreans may regard publications like the Times as official government news, since they have no experience with the Freedom of Press thing.  So they might interpret the Stephens piece as an official recommendation, or at least something the Administration is considering.  If they do think this, that the American government is working to overthrow them, it will make them much more difficult to work with and give them a reason to provoke the U. S. into a confrontation.  

Mr. Stephens can and should be able to write whatever he wants.  But shouldn’t sanity, intelligence and restraint be a requirement to publish opinion in the Times?

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