No Press Corps, No Diff

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When Secretary of State Rex Tillerson decided to fly to Asia without the traditional gaggle of reporters, there was concern.

The State Department Correspondents Association was “… disappointed that Secretary Tillerson chose to travel this week to North Asia without a full contingent of the diplomatic press corps or even a pool reporter.”

Vox ran this headline: “Why Rex Tillerson’s choice not to bring a press corps to Asia is unusual — and troubling.”

Troubling? Yes, for the press that counts on a glamorous junket once in a while.

The reality is that Tillerson’s trip is being extensively covered in the mainstream and alternative press. It turns out that Japan and Korea and China all have media, and there are no shortages of reporters, cameramen, the works.

Who would have thunk!

Meantime, we shall see if the Bush-Obama strategy of just waiting out the situation will change. Strategic patience. Probably not. All the options have always been on the table, in reality.

Once this administration finishes crunching the numbers, and once the honeymoon of foreign-policy invincibility wears off, it will realize that there is no such thing as a pre-emptive strike on North Korea that would not leave millions of South Koreans dead.

For decades, North Korea has deployed thousands of conventional rockets to pulverize Seoul. At the first instance of any attack – a bit like a non-nuclear Doomsday Machine.

It’s a Mexican standoff.

What new plan does anyone have in mind that does not lead to mass slaughter? None. That’s why the Chinese are rightly telling Tillerson to take a chill pill.

To me, Tillerson seems like a good type for this position, and even his last name connotes a steady hand on the tiller of a ship. Someone I’d want on my side. He certainly looks like a Secretary of State. But can-do Americanism is difficult to export, especially to East Asia, if the Korean and Vietnam wars are any indication.

The only real solution is to move from the current status of “armistice” between North and South Korea and towards a full peace “treaty.”

At present, neither North nor South recognize one another, and each entertains notions of “reunification,” so maybe that is a good place to start.

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