Monday, February 11, 2013

North Korea nuclear test

North Korea appears to have used a nuclear weapon. In response, the US must lead a major international effort to tighten sanctions against Kim Jong-un's dictatorship. The Supreme Leader must be made to understand that his nuclear blackmail is utterly unacceptable. Developing this security posture would also send a clear message to Iran. Anyway, for me, the new sanctions should focus on three key areas.
  • Target Chinese financial entities that do business with North Korea.
  • Aggressively pursue the criminal syndicates which fuel the patronage networks of the North Korean ruling elite.
  • Deny North Korea access to international institutions and aid.
Here's what I wrote a few days ago -

North Korea is threatening a further nuclear test and evidence suggests that this threat is more than rhetoric. While the North Koreans are steadily improving their ICBM capability, we already know that they have an albeit basic nuclear weapons facility. To be honest, although the North Koreans are loud, aggressive and seemingly unpredictable, their unpredictability has predictable contours. In essence, North Korea's foreign policy is similar to the actions of a young child. When a child wants attention or gifts, they cry. When North Korea wants attention or gifts (economic aid), it threatens war. True, the North Koreans sometimes take major action, most recently sinking a South Korean ship in 2010. But it's also true that whether headed by il-Sung, Jong-il or Jong-un, the North Korean regime resides on a foundation of luxury and patronage. It's leaders don't want to die. For all their threats, the North Koreans are cognizant that war with the US would be an act of suicide. With American resolve and strength, North Korea can be deterred.

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