Thursday, December 2, 2010

North Korea, Latin America, NATO

Many of you might recall that I claim to be an “expert” on North Korea. It’s really not that difficult as all one has to do is to listen to their rhetoric – especially those press pieces which are intended to send a message – and imagine the worst. They usually do what they threaten to do. Also, some of you recall that I had penned a piece a few years ago that is still relevant. [See: ]

Well, NK has been in the news over the past week or so, and there have been several good op-eds on the situation and way-ahead. The best of the op-eds is written by Edward Luttwak []. I think it’s the best because he states things very clearly and understands the nature of the regime very well.

Another one that is very good is by Steve Hayes [] In it he points out the obvious, we have been involved thus far in a 60-year war. If any of you have ever served in the ROK, you innately know how ready US and ROK forces are and must be … and that you never use the phrase “peacetime” to describe the present condition. Instead you use “Armistice.”

The final piece is by Stephen Peter Rosen []. In it he argues that the real world is different that the one inhabited by the policy community.

Secondly, Latin America has long been a region to which the US does not pay enough attention. Two pieces by Andres Oppenheimer were recently published in the Miami Herald. The first points to threats to Latin American democracies: The second (to me) is more worrisome. It points to the longest democracy in South America -- Colombia – distancing itself from the US and getting closer to Venezuela. In a previous note, I urged, as a matter of national security, that the Senate should move quickly to ratify the Free-trade Agreement with Colombia. It still has yet to act. You can find the second piece on our website at:

Finally, Anne Applebaum, in the Washington Post, has some solid recommendations to keep the NATO alliance vibrant. She posits that there are indeed threats to the borders of NATO nations and much work remains to build the plans to defend some of the newer members. While I don’t necessarily agree with her recommendations, both Europe and NATO are important to the US and need attention. I cringe when I hear many in Washington use the term “NATO” interchangeably with “Europe” – almost as if the US and Canada are not members of NATO. You can find her piece at:

For your consideration.


Michael M. Dunn
Lt General (Ret), USAF
Air Force Association

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