World War Two has long been over and Japan has transformed itself into a moral and political pillar of the world. Yet exposed nerves keep being irritated... take the issues of "comfort women" and visits to Yasukuni Shrine by successive Japanese leaders, which constantly remind the world how deep the scars of war run in a region unable to leave the politics of the mid-20th century behind. One old wound of that war in particular is now however the key to averting the nuclear exchange now threatening America, Australia, Japan and South and North Korea.
Resolving the North Korean issue peaceably will require negotiations not with North Korea but the real parents of the Korean break-up - China and Taiwan. To use "The Matrix" analogy, the "Agent" delivering the Blue Pill on Korea policy has always been China. Sanctions, recently stiffened yet again have not and will not work because of China. Satellite images released in the past month show North Korea's growth over the last decade despite them. Diplomacy has not worked because of China. The West asks Beijing to deliver messages - it does. The West asks China to intervene and back Western policy - it does not (while saying it does). Military threats do not work because of China. North Korea’s high-tech nuclear program and conventional military, while dated, remains active and in functioning condition respectively only because China allows them to be. South Korea’s very own "Sunshine Policy"failed, yes, because of China. Why would North Korea assimilate if it could keep living the "communist dream?"
China is the harbinger of nuclear apocalypse in the Asia-Pacific, not Kim Jong-Un. China keeps countering North Korean policy and the West has kept missing the real reason why for approaching a hundred years. All is negotiable, all is strategy from a country which nigh on invented it. China doesn't really want a Korean cousin in its political "kingdom." It wants its blood-brother back. China’s obstructionism can be reduced to one overarching policy end - Taiwan. And here is why the United States should take the deal.
One political Red Pill has done more to soften the Chinese Communist Party’s grip on the national political destiny in the last two decades than Western policy ever did during five decades of Cold War. Hong Kong has fostered democracy inside China immeasurably more than it ever did outside as a British colony thanks to the corrosive hypocrisy of the One Country/Two Systems policy. For Hong Kong it just traded masters and remained a provincial democracy. Unfortunately for the CCP, there is in contrast considerable and growing unease with this political disconnect among the new, politically savvy middle class of China.
Cede Taiwan under the provincial political autonomy model (democratic elections for state-level political apparatuses in Taiwan), and you have yourself the real Red Pill to win the last battle of the ideological wars of the 20th century. Taiwan has been separated from China and therefore politically dismissed, inside and outside China for almost a century. Taiwan has had absolutely no effect on China's political character; it isn't even recognised by the U.N. because of the the Chinese political blackout.
Everything China does on the Korean Peninsula has Taiwan in the equation bracket. America trades Taiwan under the caveat of the Hong Kong precedent, stops arms shipments to Taiwan of course and negotiates a peaceful reintegration with Taiwan to for once put as much diplomatic effort into peace in Asia as it has in the Middle East and all of a sudden it has a workable war avoidance policy. The trigger of automatic war should China renege on the one country, three systems model will be key (or America supports an insurgency on the island).
By clinging to conventional wisdom the Trump administration is missing the strategic picture. It actually serves the Western democratic ideal by having Taiwan accelerate intra-Chinese political change. Lose a battle to win a war over China’s soul. For almost a century, the West has protected Taiwan. Now it needs Taiwan to return the favour. Even if the policy shift doesn't produce democratic results, it's still preferable to the status quo, because it gets North Korea off the tiny list capable of triggering Def-Con 1 without hostilities.
Yes it will hurt the democratic argument in Middle East policy, but nowhere near as much as continuing to support the monarchies of Jordan and Saudi Arabia, as watching the people of Syria fight against a regime and aspiring caliphate at once or as standing idly by as the Arab Spring wilted underfoot of regional anti-democratic boots. There are only two options left to resolve the North Korea issue - nuclear war or "trade" Taiwan. Just the offer might sway Beijing to halt North Korea’s nuclear program at least. The West will win any hot war on the Korean Peninsula of course. But if played right, it could win-win the last battles of the Cold-War without still having ever seen a nuclear shot.
Allan Orr is a strategic studies researcher. His PhD thesis was examined by now NSA General Herbert McMaster, his Masters thesis was used as textbook material by the Coalition counter-insurgency Academy at Taji, Iraq during the war and his other publications can be found at http://www.intersecmag.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/int-feb-34-36-low.pdf & http://www.tandfonline.com/author/Orr%2C+Allan© Japan Today