North Korea: A Very Rational Country

 

By: inoljt, http://mypolitikal.com/

It’s popular amongst the media to characterize North Korea as an irrational state run by a madman. North Korea continuously provokes the West, it is said, for no apparent reason. Proof that it’s an unpredictable, irrational actor that could do anything.

There are in fact very few states in history that could actually can be said to have behaved irrationally. I can only think of one state in the twentieth century which fits the description above. That was Germany just before and during the Second World War.

North Korea has in fact behaved quite rationally throughout the past few years. As a pariah state with only one ally, a very weak economy, and the enmity of the world’s superpower – the government of North Korea has to realize a way to protect itself. This is especially true given that said superpower has repeatedly used its military to strike down dictators such as Saddam Hussein and Muammar Gaddafi who have earned its hostility.

Muammar Gaddafi is an extremely telling example. One unfortunate side-effect of the successful American intervention there is that the intervention has probably permanently ruined any possibility of North Korea giving up its nuclear weapons. Just look at Muammar Gaddafi to see what happens when countries hostile to America give up their nuclear weapons. And in fact, North Korea has done just this. The rational, logical conclusion: the only sure deterrence is nuclear weapons, especially with Seoul and Tokyo as hostages located so conveniently close to North Korea.

The death of Kim Jong-il also explains a lot of North Korea’s recent aggressiveness during the past couple of years. North Korea’s leaders knew that Kim Jong-il’s health was in dire straits after his stroke, and that he was probably going to die very soon. They were thus preparing hastily for his succession. The new leader needed a military accomplishment to add to his belt before entering power. Thus the artillery bombardment of a South Korean island, repeated nuclear tests, and the sinking of a South Korean ship. These were designed to be just enough for the new leader to boast about without actually getting North Korea in any danger of being seriously attacked.

North Korea is not another Nazi Germany. It’s just a very weak, very poor country whose government is trying its best to survive against the might of the world’s superpower.

 

 

New North Korea Sanctions: Where to go From Here?

 

North Korea seems like the mecca of rogue states in this day and age.  The US has imposed several sanctions on the country itself, and other countries aren't stranger to this action either, but little headway has been made in reaching any sort of agreements or peace declarations between the two countries.

Al-Jazeera reported earlier that the US will impose new sanctions on North Korea in hopes of deterring illegal money sharing to finance nuclear arsenals throughout the state.  North Korea's people have been through hell most likely their entire lives.  I genuinely feel for the citizens of the country that wish to live a normal life, one not under the quasi-omnipotent watchful eyes of Kim Jong-Il and his regime.  Its sad to read about, and even sadder to see, how poorly the citizens of the country are treated and how malnourished and abused they are.  

But what is the United States to do aside from sanctions?  This seems to be the age-old question in regards to the present-day North Korea (yes I realize that statement is borderline oxymoronic).

 

The United States will impose new sanctions on North Korea in a bid to stem its nuclear weapons ambitions, Hillary Clinton, the US secretary of state, said.

Clinton said the measures were designed to stamp out illegal money-making ventures used to fund the nuclear programme.

"They are directed at the destabilising, illicit, and provocative policies pursued by that government,'' she said.

"These measures are not directed at the people of North Korea, who have suffered too long due to the misguided priorities of their government,'' Clinton said after talks with defence and military officials in South Korea on Wednesday.

 

Source:  Al-Jazeera

No, the measures aren't directed at the people of North Korea.. but ultimately they are the ones who unfortunately are forced to put up with the drunken disorderly that is Kim Jong-Il.  His cognac binges and careless disregard for humanity as a whole leaves his now staggering population even worse off than what they already were before.

This tone may suggest I disagree with the sanctions imposed, but that is not true.  I agree with sanctioning North Korea, but feel as though it has little effect with governing their actions as a government.  Being that they run a closed-economy and 9 times out of 10 will not accept even emergency aid from groups like the UN, what is the US to do?  

 

New North Korea Sanctions: Where to go From Here?

 

North Korea seems like the mecca of rogue states in this day and age.  The US has imposed several sanctions on the country itself, and other countries aren't stranger to this action either, but little headway has been made in reaching any sort of agreements or peace declarations between the two countries.

Al-Jazeera reported earlier that the US will impose new sanctions on North Korea in hopes of deterring illegal money sharing to finance nuclear arsenals throughout the state.  North Korea's people have been through hell most likely their entire lives.  I genuinely feel for the citizens of the country that wish to live a normal life, one not under the quasi-omnipotent watchful eyes of Kim Jong-Il and his regime.  Its sad to read about, and even sadder to see, how poorly the citizens of the country are treated and how malnourished and abused they are.  

But what is the United States to do aside from sanctions?  This seems to be the age-old question in regards to the present-day North Korea (yes I realize that statement is borderline oxymoronic).

 

The United States will impose new sanctions on North Korea in a bid to stem its nuclear weapons ambitions, Hillary Clinton, the US secretary of state, said.

Clinton said the measures were designed to stamp out illegal money-making ventures used to fund the nuclear programme.

"They are directed at the destabilising, illicit, and provocative policies pursued by that government,'' she said.

"These measures are not directed at the people of North Korea, who have suffered too long due to the misguided priorities of their government,'' Clinton said after talks with defence and military officials in South Korea on Wednesday.

 

Source:  Al-Jazeera

No, the measures aren't directed at the people of North Korea.. but ultimately they are the ones who unfortunately are forced to put up with the drunken disorderly that is Kim Jong-Il.  His cognac binges and careless disregard for humanity as a whole leaves his now staggering population even worse off than what they already were before.

This tone may suggest I disagree with the sanctions imposed, but that is not true.  I agree with sanctioning North Korea, but feel as though it has little effect with governing their actions as a government.  Being that they run a closed-economy and 9 times out of 10 will not accept even emergency aid from groups like the UN, what is the US to do?  

 

New North Korea Sanctions: Where to go From Here?

 

North Korea seems like the mecca of rogue states in this day and age.  The US has imposed several sanctions on the country itself, and other countries aren't stranger to this action either, but little headway has been made in reaching any sort of agreements or peace declarations between the two countries.

Al-Jazeera reported earlier that the US will impose new sanctions on North Korea in hopes of deterring illegal money sharing to finance nuclear arsenals throughout the state.  North Korea's people have been through hell most likely their entire lives.  I genuinely feel for the citizens of the country that wish to live a normal life, one not under the quasi-omnipotent watchful eyes of Kim Jong-Il and his regime.  Its sad to read about, and even sadder to see, how poorly the citizens of the country are treated and how malnourished and abused they are.  

But what is the United States to do aside from sanctions?  This seems to be the age-old question in regards to the present-day North Korea (yes I realize that statement is borderline oxymoronic).

 

The United States will impose new sanctions on North Korea in a bid to stem its nuclear weapons ambitions, Hillary Clinton, the US secretary of state, said.

Clinton said the measures were designed to stamp out illegal money-making ventures used to fund the nuclear programme.

"They are directed at the destabilising, illicit, and provocative policies pursued by that government,'' she said.

"These measures are not directed at the people of North Korea, who have suffered too long due to the misguided priorities of their government,'' Clinton said after talks with defence and military officials in South Korea on Wednesday.

 

Source:  Al-Jazeera

No, the measures aren't directed at the people of North Korea.. but ultimately they are the ones who unfortunately are forced to put up with the drunken disorderly that is Kim Jong-Il.  His cognac binges and careless disregard for humanity as a whole leaves his now staggering population even worse off than what they already were before.

This tone may suggest I disagree with the sanctions imposed, but that is not true.  I agree with sanctioning North Korea, but feel as though it has little effect with governing their actions as a government.  Being that they run a closed-economy and 9 times out of 10 will not accept even emergency aid from groups like the UN, what is the US to do?  

 

The Limits of Incentive-Based Diplomacy.

(cross-posted at kickin it with cg and motley moose)

Once again, Kim Jong-il is testing the resolve of the international community. The latest North Korean nuclear provocation - an underground detonation yesterday - is the biggest trial of the Obama administration's foreign policy and of China's newfound global status to date.

The stakes are high not only because Pyongyang's provocations undermine security in northeast Asia, but also because a critical issue facing the US is nuclear proliferation to Iran. Should North Korea acquire the status of a nuclear-weapons state, any effort to prevent the nuclearization of Iran would lose validity. Additionally the prospect of a nuclear Iran could unravel U.S. Middle East policy, threatening the survival of Israel as well as the security of Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the Persian Gulf oil-exporting states. For China, the stakes in North Korea are no less important. It has banked its credibility on restraining Pyongyang through the diplomatic process of the six-party talks on Kim's nuclear program.

The Kim family dynasty's determination to secure its survival through the acquisition of nuclear weapons not only threatens South Korea, but also may provoke Japan (the only country that suffered an atomic bombing) to weaponize its advanced nuclear technology. Yet Kim has success doing what he has been doing in the past - winning foreign aid to stave off his people's hunger and provoking diplomatic apoplexy to feed his megalomania.

A unscrupulous dictator, Kim bankrolls his state by counterfeiting U.S. currency and the export of narcotics. He has no fuel for his factories and no foodstuff to feed his people yet finds the time to kidnap teenagers from the beaches of Japan. He goes through the motions of building nuclear reactors, then wins subsidized oil shipments from the outside world in return for suspending construction. With thousands of land-based missiles pointed at South Korea and 1.2 million soldiers under arms, Kim has long had the West over a barrel.

The response to the removal of North Korea from the U.S. list of countries supporting terrorism has been for Kim to renew his campaign of nuclear blackmail. He has no fear of the UN Security Council, whose resolutions he has defied on multiple occasions in the past five years.

With yesterday's events broadcast through the global airways, North Korea created critical mass.  No doubt a nuclear arms race in northeast Asia would undermine the U.S.-Japan security treaty and inflame a fear of Japanese militarism in the rest of Asia, especially in China, where bitter memories of Japan's aggression simmer just below the surface.  It's pretty safe to say that a scramble to acquire a nuclear stockpile in any region of the world is not what the international community is hoping for.

The only way to restrain Kim from his course is the joint and explicit cooperation of the rest of the participants in the six-party talks, led by China and the United States and supported by Russia, Japan and South Korea. China's swift condemnation of this week's nuclear test by North Korea signals that its patience is at an end.

In the coming days, we will see whether the international community can rise to the challenge. The limits of incentive-based diplomacy have been reached. The world must now tolerate imposing painful sanctions on Pyongyang. The price of inaction is too high. The risk of a war that would once again devastate the Korean Peninsula has deterred any military option. So it would seem that only close co-ordination between China and the United States to devise sanctions (such as a total energy embargo on a state that has no domestic source of oil) might constrain the continued operation of the North Korean regime without firing a shot.  However it could also provoke a suicidal attack on South Korea or Japan from a power-crazed and desperate neighbour.

Kim threatens the world with the push of a button out of weakness, not strength. The world may ultimately be forced into an uncomfortable and uncharacteristic game of brinkmanship, because clearly it seems the international community is running out of options.

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