CHRUNK

What's good for the goose is good for the gander

The military leaders from three countries had assembled with their interpreters in Beijing’s historic Forbidden City. Chinese general Wei Fenghe hosted North Korean vice-marshal Kim Jong-gwan and the Russian army general Valery Gerasimov. Those gathered were feeling quite jovial, as they clinked glasses of champagne.

“Fight fire with fire. Isn’t that what they say,” said vice-marshal Kim.

They all raised their glasses again.

Kim likened the newly formed CHRUNK (China-Russia-North Korea) to the AUKUS collaboration where the United States and United Kingdom agreed to partner and supply nuclear submarines to Australia. CHRUNK would see North Korea being provided with nuclear submarines by China and Russia.

“Uncle Sam isn’t going to like this,” added Kim with a wry grin.

“And what is Uncle Sam going to do about it?” said the usually dour-faced Gerasimov.

“What can Uncle Sam do about it?” said the wispy-haired general Wei. “Nothing.”

Kim and Gerasimov smiled at their Chinese host.

“You can probably expect an increase of American navy ships through the South China Sea,” said Gerasimov, waving his right arm off to his side. “And they’ll probably come with a flotilla of nuclear submarines. I hope they can navigate the sea,” he added referring to the USS Connecticut‘s recent collision.

“Let them come,” said Wei. “We each will have our own nuclear submarines now.”

“But the Americans, and of course the Brits and Aussies — the barking pets of the Americans — will complain about us contributing to nuclear proliferation,” considered Kim.

“Well, the Americans should have thought about that before providing nuclear submarines to Australia, and pissing Macron off in the process,” countered Gerasimov.

“The thing is that the Aussies don’t have nuclear weapons and you do,” said Wei looking at Kim.

“True, but we have a no-first-use policy just like China does,” demurred Kim.

Gerasimov struck a pose with his left arm across his body, his right elbow on his left hand, and his right hand tucked under his chin like Rodin’s “The Thinker.”

“There is nothing much more to sanction in any of us, as it is,” chuckled Gerasimov.

“And it helps that we cooperate to overcome the sanctions. At any rate, we Koreans will maintain our juche,” said Kim.

*****

Back in Washington, the mood was decidedly different than in Beijing. In the Oval Office president Joe Biden was fuming. “How dare they do this,” he bellowed, thumping his clenched fist on the table.

His inner circle sat silently. Vice-president Kamala Harris switched placement of her hands, one on top of the other on the lap of her pantsuit, à la the fashionista Hillary Clinton. National security adviser Jake Sullivan nodded his head. Secretary of defense Lloyd Austin sat stern-faced. Secretary of state Antony Blinken chimed in, “We have to do something about these communist upstarts.”

Austin turned to his colleague and looked at him solemnly. He thought to inform the secretary of state that Russia was no longer communist, but he bit his tongue. Then he spoke, “What do you propose we do? We have sanctioned them, done our best to get our allies to not do business with them, had their tech CFO holed up with extradition proceedings. We broke our One-China undertaking, and we sent gunboats to try and scare them. Where has all that gotten us?”

The air in the room grew heavy and tense. Aside from Biden, who now appeared to be nodding off, the others knew what the retired general Austin hinted at: the unthinkable. War. War with nuclear-armed adversaries.

*****

The Beijing meeting of CHRUNK concluded with a next agenda that proposed discussing freedom of navigation flotillas in the Straits of Florida, support for Puerto Rican independence, and possible CHRUNK expansion to Cuba and provisioning it with nuclear submarines.

Kim Petersen is a former co-editor of the Dissident Voice newsletter. He can be emailed at: kimohp@gmail. Twitter: @kimpetersen. Read other articles by Kim.