Open Sources, October 17, 2012

THE ONION: Seed Of World War III Planted In Beijing Middle-School Gym Class.

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AGREED FRAMEWORK III WATCH:  North Korea still isn’t interested in nuclear disarmament, and our diplomats are still secretly chasing a deal, knowing full well that North Korea won’t disarm.  But for what conceivable purpose?  I repeat my suspicion that these contacts wouldn’t be happening if the Obama Administration wasn’t laying the groundwork for more “flexible” post-election diplomacy.  Those involved (Bosworth, Wit, etc.) are connected with the administration and sympathetic to its positions, but can be disowned if necessary because technically, they’re “private citizens.”  Just like Jimmy Carter.

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FOR ALL THE SURVEY DATA we used to see about foreign perceptions of America – remember when Bush was President? – we seldom saw, and still seldom see, much data about how Americans perceived foreign nations and our relationships with them.  It’s good that this survey at least measures both U.S. and Korean public perceptions of the alliance, but the conclusions and the survey are both flawed.  Sixty percent isn’t an especially wide degree of support for the alliance, and who doubts that that support will plummet the minute it looks like we’re about to be dragged into a ground war in Korea?  The low support for the non-specific reference to “regime change” suggests as much; most of those surveyed were no doubt thinking “Iraq,” were never presented with the concept of subversive regime change in this short menu of false choices.  I doubt that any of them knew that the entire deterrent basis for the alliance is something called OPLAN 5027, which is exactly the kind of regime change that Americans are weary of.

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LARA LOGAN ON AFGHANISTAN:  It’s not often that I watch something that I find this persuasive.  I can see that simply leaving will concede the field to a re-ascendant Al Qaeda, but I’m still waiting for either of the candidates to propose a plausible policy for averting that.  I can see us constructing a plausible policy from training, equipping, and allying with many individual tribes, but I can’t see how we can prepare the Afghan central government to secure the country by 2014.  As weary as most of us are now, I doubt we’ll hear that explanation before the election.  I sure as hell hope it happens before Al Qaeda plans and executes another attack on our civilian population from Afghan soil.  The problem with waiting for the danger to America to become direct and imminent is that usually, by then, you’re out of good options for addressing it.  Our weariness won’t protect us, and it’s no substitute for a plausible policy.

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