On Thursday the South Korean government did something important. It told the truth about North Korean aggression. On March 26, a North Korean submarine attacked a South Korean naval corvette with a torpedo. Forty-six South Korean sailors were killed in the unprovoked attack. And on May 20, the South Koreans ended all ambiguity about the nature of the attack and placed the blame where it belongs.
In its write-up of South Korea's statement, The Los Angeles Times assessed that South Korea's acknowledgment of North Korea's murderous aggression will return the region to the days of the Cold War. The paper quoted Prof. Kim Keun-sik from Kyungnam University outside Seoul claiming that in the period to come, North Korea and China will face off against South Korea and the US.
Sadly for South Korea, while China can be depended upon to block the passage of effective sanctions against North Korea in the UN Security Council and to take any other necessary action to protect the North Korean regime, South Korea cannot expect the US to take action to rein in North Korean aggression. For while the South Korean government acknowledged reality on Thursday morning, the US under President Barack Obama remains in reality denial mode.
It is true that on Thursday Obama released a statement saying that the "act of aggression is one more instance of North Korea's unacceptable behavior and defiance of international law." And it is true that the international media is pointing to the White House announcement as an indication that the US will stand with South Korea.
But the Obama administration's relations with China on the one hand, and its emasculation of the US Navy on the other demonstrate that the US will not defend South Korea against North Korean aggression. The administration's actions in the days leading up to South Korean President Lee Myung-bak announcement make this clear.
Lee reportedly told Obama on Tuesday that his government's investigation of the attack proved beyond a shred of doubt that North Korea had attacked the ship. Wednesday the State Department announced that next week Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will be making a weeklong visit to Asia.
Clinton's trip includes one day in Japan, one day in South Korea and five days in China. Clinton's trip to China will center on advancing the US's aim of ensuring that China continues to finance the US's national debt. Given the US's priorities, it is impossible to imagine the White House taking any forthright action against Pyongyang.
Caroline B. Glick is the senior Middle East fellow at the Center for Security Policy in Washington, D.C., and the deputy managing editor of The Jerusalem Post, where this article first appeared.
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