How to resolve the dispute with N. Korea’s continuing firing of ICBMs over Japan. In all humility, we seem to be making very little progress. Too little to be left entirely in the hand of our current decision makers.
On the one hand, we have DJT’s bellicose attempts threatening hell and fury unlike anything we have ever seen before, with few apparent results, and then on the other hand, Putin’s remarks that sanctions will not work because he says, the leaders in N. Korea would prefer to eat grass, and what’s more sanctions, he says are not effective. But we don’t have to believe this.
On the “third hand”, by way of digression I don’t think the Russians are openly eating grass even though sanctions have been imposed on Russia, maybe Putin is himself highly allergic to grass. And maybe sanctions have been more effective in Russia than he wants to let on. So I guess the conclusion is that the Russians obviously prefer to have sanctions and don’t have the stomach to eat grass.
This takes us to the Pandora’s box, the Chinese position. A real dilemma exists as they wish to retain power over what they consider to be their “legitimate” sphere of influence in the South China Sea (and all their ongoing land reclamation activity), and understandably they are not very happy about a growing US presence in the area. In addition, there is also the risk posed by highly effective sanctions on N. Korea which DJT has been flirting with and arguing for, and which might effectively cripple N. Korea, turning it into a failed state, thereby creating a huge refugee problem in a bordering country.
This very broadly is how I see the current impasse. So what might work? The solution in fact might be very simple. Too simple for our “responsible” decision makers.
Instead of sanctions per se, we could have combinations, sanctions in combination with a fund where the amount to be penalised by sanctions is paid into a fund. This fund would be the property of N. Korea but not accessible until N. Korea modifies its nuclear programme and ambitions. This would give N. Korea real financial incentives to change current praxis, but does not directly address the problem in N. Korea’s eyes of safeguarding against the outcomes faced by Saddam Hussein and Gaddafi. Both of whom might have preferred to eat grass.
Any other ideas? Share please if it triggers something in your thinking.
Brian Turner Sept 15th 2017
Feel free to circulate!