You tell me, what is North Korea really up to?

Political calculation is an art and a gift. It cannot be taught and much of it is luck. Yet here we are with the whole world watching so who is to say whether this is right or not: All signs point to North Korea preparing a bait-and-switch. Certainly not “all” signs, but some definitely are. The question is, how will this unfold? We want the North Koreans to abandon nuclear weapons. They want their little shop of horrors to survive with no outside interference. You all follow the news, so what’s going to happen? What should the United States and its allies do?

As a template in this sort of thing, the until-now Secret Transcripts of the Israeli “Security Cabinet” from 1967, which made all policy decisions leading up to the Six Day War and then after it was over, have just been released after fifty years. The SC was made up of the leaders of every party in the Knesset. This is how the documents are described:

The Six-Day War: classified documents unsealed 50 years after the conflict reveal: Jerusalem conquered almost by accident; Israel’s National Religious Party, forerunner to the settler movement, lobbied for military de-escalation at every turn; and nobody in Israel’s security cabinet seems to have seen the country’s most momentous war coming.

You already know what happened, but even so these are fascinating. Read them through and listen to the deliberations that were undertaken in real time. There are two halves, pre-war and post-war.

Part 1

Part 2.

Political calculation is the way everything in politics must be since the future will always be an unknown while everything has to be weighed up since there are no facts about the future. You can only hope for level-headed decision-making but no one gets it right every time while some are worse than others. Fifty years from now we will know what had happened in North Korea, and then we can read the transcripts of how the Americans were weighing things up. By then, who knows, Pyongyang may have become the richest city in the world.

ANOTHER TAKE ON NORTH KOREA: From Pushing North Korea and Iran to the brink:

By now, this much should be obvious to anyone paying close attention: Mr. Kim regards deliverable nuclear weapons as the great equalizer, the means by which he can keep America at bay while he plots to rule the entire Korean peninsula. Iran’s Ayatollah Ali Khamenei wants such weapons in pursuit of an even more ambitious objective: dominating the Middle East and spreading what he calls the Islamic Revolution around the globe. “Death to America” is a longer-range goal, one that Mr. Kim would heartily endorse.

Nothing is obvious to me, but I hope what is clear to those involved reflects the underlying actual reality.

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