If China drops support of North Korea, NK fails. Then what?
Of the consequences listed, the first - that there is a refugee rush into China - seems least likely to cause concern. This would only happen if NK failed and become a protectorate of China. This can be managed. NK is 1.8% of China's population - 10% moving into China a year cannot be an issue, especially given the low living standards those people are accustomed to.
The third concern - China worried about US based on China's border - do you really think they care? With all the existing bases, would moving a couple of based a few hundred kilometres closer really make a difference?
Failure then unification with SK is the problem. NK has 24M people to SKs 50M people - a significant problem for SK, but one which it would accept. The unified country would have a struggle to rebuild it self, but would undertake that effort. The likely success of that effort would raise questions in China about the Chinese model of governance - should state control be eased? Not an outcome the China's current leadership might want to consider.
Supporting NK costs China almost nothing and prevents a unified Korea whose success would increase doubts about the China model of state control. I think that support will continue.
On reflection, these last few paragraphs appear to be a get out of jail free card, not for Bush, but for all the pundits and think tanks who created his positions and argued so forcefully for those positions, and for the mainstream media who published those positions.
Bush was the microphone for positions created by the neocon cabal who ran Washington during his tenure and to some extent still do.
While Bush takes the fall for delivering their lines, the people behind all those lies continue to influence policy today - even with a Democrat president and Senate.
Fischer suggests that the real goals of the Iraq war were: to bring down Saddam Hussein by means of war, thereby creating a new, pro-Western Middle East.
If this was the case, then why did the US disbanded the Iraq army and civil authority as soon as it defeated Saddam and took control of the country.
Fischer goes on to describe the ultimate effect of US actions was to destroy Iraq. He says destabilize, but destroy is a much better word. The country will be decades rebuilding its infrastructure, civil society, institutions of governance.
Fischer apparently thinks this destruction was an accident, an unfortunate result of US ineptness.
Perhaps if the author were to begin with the premise that this destruction was the goal and go back over his analysis he might come much closer to the truth.
Given this premise, disbanding the army makes sense. Peace so early in the war would have not destroyed Iraq. It was essential that the war continue until Iraq had been bombed back into the stone age.
All the apparent errors made by the US now appear as successes. If instability in the region was the goal, then the war was a success.
One final general comment on the article. How is it possible that anyone could write an article on the Iraq war and not mention Israel even once?
Most of the stimulus efforts have gone toward recapitalizing the wall street banks who created the last couple of bubbles. We know they will create another bubble if they can, taking their billions in bonuses along the way. This type of stimulus is certainly counterproductive.
Unfortunately, not helping those banks may have taken most pension plans down the drain as well. Was there a choice?
Failure to investigate, indict and prosecute the people behind the fraud is the worst part. Yest, save the pension funds and the banks, but punish the banksters.
The other part, the innocent bystanders in all of this, how to limit damage to them? Austerity would punish them more.
Given the choice, stimulus is the only possible course.
Smart stimulus amounts to picking winners, a dangerous obsession.
General stimulus right away, find out where the economy then heads (something you cannot predict) then get out in front and start to lead.