There is no diplomacy with maniacs. North Korea has been the grip of one or another
lunatic for 60 years; with the succession still unsettled, Pyongyang is now a salon for the insane. The escalation of posturing, violence and the nuclear programme is a brazenly mad strategy to
bribe other countries in exchange for good behaviour; it’s piratical.
The world’s geopolitics may be changing, but the US President remains supreme among leaders. Yesterday, Iain Martin argued that Barack Obama had to make a strong and unequivocal statement about the
situation, at least to encourage China to reprimand its errant ally. The President did so. In a long interview with the ABC
network, Obama reiterated his unqualified support for South Korea and Japan, offered to work multilaterally and urged the Chinese to make clear that “there are a set of international rules
they (North Korea) need to abide by.” He eschewed his trademark flights of fancy, and, for the first time in a while, looked like the leader of the free world.
Whether he’ll be successful remains to be seen. Obviously, China is crucial. But commentators around the globe agree that China is struggling to influence the erratic North. For Pyongyang,
China is a rich country wedded to the stability won by peace, a power to be exploited like any other. That is what the Russian Foreign Minister means by the ‘colossal danger’ in the