Wikileaks and the International Community

Recently I’ve had several friends approach me with questions pertaining to international relations, specifically the recent actions of North Korea and the infamous Wikileaks release. These two topics in the past week have been twisted and misconstrued, leaving people with a poor conception of the situation. First we’ll examine North Korea and their recent attack on South Korea on the Yeonpyeong island, which resides in disputed waters that North Korea claims are rightfully theirs.North Korea has a unique type of government being classified as a ‘ohereditary dictatorship, which is ruled with a military junta and has a centrally planned economy. I hesitate to call it communist, only because technically the communist movement is international, while the North Korean government consists of maintaining a single state presence. The official name is called the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) which is of course is irony at its finest considering it has one of the most repressive regimes of modern history.The artillery barrage from last week marks one of the most aggressive moves the DPRK has made to its southern neighbor, claiming that the islands south of the Northern Limit Line belong to them. However, there are ulterior motives at work here: North Korea has no interest in starting a regional war, especially one that they would surely lose. North Korea’s internal stability like all nations in the world revolve around keeping their populace content, of course each nation has their own agenda and how they view a problem. For the DPRK it’s simple: they face chronic food shortages which lead to inflation in the economy and eventually stagnation. In addition to this, some speculate that the attack is simply related to the succession of Kim Jong-il as a test of strength, which could be true as well. No single reason can explain this event easily.North Korea’s diplomacy in the past has been one of aggression to bring key nations to the diplomatic table. In response to this, Russia, China, Japan, South Korea, and the United States formed the six-party talks in hopes of halting the cycle of violence. For future details, the New York Times has an interactive timeline showing the more prominent events with the clashes between the two Koreas, including the six-party talks. The most recent incident is nothing new, with North Korea wanting attention and diplomatic power by threatening war; however, it’s no secret that the leadership wants direct talks with the United States. This would enable the DPRK to cut a deal so to speak with the United States on the trade embargo imposed on them and the foreign aid they receive, instead of getting their requests watered down in the six-party talks as mentioned before.Hence, North Korea has nothing to gain for starting a peninsular war with its southern neighbor, since even China, their closest “ally” in the loosest sense wants to prevent this at all costs. Having North Korea engage in a war means refugees crossing into China controlled Manchuria; a logistical and domestic nightmare. It would also mean American troops being stationed directly on China’s border, which would ruffle the feathers of the Chinese leadership. Finally, North Korea would most likely not launch a nuclear strike on the United States because, not only does their missile technology pale in comparison to ours, but they would also never be able to come to any diplomatic table from the international community.In relation to this, we know from the Wikileaks fiasco that China is having second thoughts when it comes to their alliance with North Korea. The DPRK is proving to be too troublesome and closed-minded even for Chinese standards, damaging their relations with the international community and their slow transition to democracy. For now, the best course of action for the United States is to continue the six-party talks and have direct discussions with the Chinese leadership over North Korea. Only China can rein in their unruly neighbor, which would dramatically change the dialogue of negotiations considering they’re North Korea’s main trading partner.This would not be the first time Wikileaks has given the public access to high level diplomatic information; in fact, the website is starting to change how the public views governments and the complex relationships between them. If you are completely unfamiliar with Wikileaks, here’s what you need to know: Julian Assange is an Australian citizen who is the editor-in-chief and spokesperson for the website Wikileaks. The website, through various internal sources predominately in the United States Military, obtains and releases sensitive high level data on government operations which only until now have been quite serious. The servers are located throughout the world and the legal status is complicated to say the least, however if one could label a headquarters it would be Sweden due to their strong laws to protect confidential journalistic sources. In fact, one of the main computer servers has been described as a James Bond villain style bunker, located 30 meters underground in a Cold War facility.It’s hard to judge if Wikileaks is legal, however it is providing what many see as a veil lifted from the public’s eyes on the inner workings of governments. Congressman Ron Paul was quoted on the subject saying, ‘oIn a free society we’re supposed to know the truth, in a society where truth becomes treason, then we’re in big trouble. Naturally many, including most notably former Canadian government adviser Tom Flanagan said that Julian Assange ‘oshould be assassinated, though most government officials view Wikileaks as a security risk, potentially ruining delicate balance of diplomatic relations.Regardless, Wikileaks has given journalists, bloggers, even ordinary people a wealth of information to analyze and digest. Frankly, there is so much more I could write and speculate on but for now expect Wikileak documents to be part of my regular analysis in the future. This article was intended just to introduce anyone to the website, and of course use its cables to explain China’s relationship with North Korea. In turn, North Korea’s recent actions are unacceptable to the international community and the six-party talks should resume with China in particular taking the lead in condemning the attack. Only China can effectively neutralize the DPRK’s leadership, making them think twice about future attacks, lest they risk their trade relations and overall economy.