Tuesday, June 22, 2010

[North Korea] Perhaps Financial Sanctions on North Korea Might Not Be Such A Good Idea Right Now...

Apparently, the United States, according to Josh Stanton, is once again considering imposing financial sanctions on North Korea, which is arguably the most potent weapon that the United States has against North Korea. But, while I thought these sanctions to be a good idea under the Bush administration, I think the situation in North Korea has changed sufficiently enough that it might as well be a good time to consider holding off on such sanctions and instead just deflect the issue (North Korea) to China -- by sending a 97,000 ton U.S. aircraft carrier to the Yellow Sea. I had earlier commented this would probably be one funny development and which The Washington Post reports might actually turn out to be a reality shortly

Anyways, North Korea is once again experiencing widespread food shortages again and Kim Jong Il is preoccupied with concerns of succession and domestic stability. Moreover, consider that the country has ditched any pretense of being a Communist country, by making changes in the regime's constitution, and, much more recently, has fully and formally absolved any rules that make market activity illegal in an effort to stave off starvation. So, clearly the country is bankrupt both ideologically and materially. Why press for further substantive sanctions now?

And, while it might seem at times that I am all for unification at all costs, I think the U.S. has more pressing issues at the moment, which unfortunately look far more important than Korean unification -- which itself the South Korean people are not yet ready for. For example, Iran's nuclear weapons program, finding a global consensus on ways to amend the world's financial system, and the on-going war in Afghanistan -- which the South Korean government refuses to aid on a substantive basis not unlike South Korea's "heroic" troop deployment to the peaceful Kurdish regions in Iraq -- seem far more important. I would also add a flexible Chinese currency regime in here as well, which China seems to have budged on even with the crisis in Europe. Probably the best course of action that's in the best interests of the United States would be to once again overlook the transgressions of the worst regime in the history of the world. Of course, it looks like this is actually in the best interests of the five remaining parties not inclusive of North Koreans, of course.

I mean is it not China's duty at the moment to ensure that North Korea does not torpedo another South Korean boat? So, along with token sanctions that have been extended for another year very recently by the U.S., a 97,000 ton aircraft carrier in the Yellow Sea will send a crystal clear message to China about what is exactly at stake when China is unable to actually rein in North Korea. Simply, North Korea doesn't want war and I don't think the country will be stupid enough to incite another incident out of fear for China's wrath when China is fuming at the country that there is a giant aircraft carrier parked near China's capital and less so out of a North Korean belief  that the U.S. will actually bomb or invade North Korea. So, for the time being, as it is increasingly clear that North Korea is both a financially and ideologically bankrupt regime, it would be best to deflect the matter to China -- which means maintaining the status quo for the time being and, yes, millions of Koreans suffering and starving -- while the rest of the world waits to see how the succession issue plays out.

Of course, if people were willing to die for starving North Koreans -- as well as a united Korean peninsula, then it would be an entirely different situation as it would present additional options. However, this is just not the case and unlike the past two decades it looks like the DPRK might soon implode on its own accord.

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