Friday, July 30, 2010

Pyongnang, Excuse Yourself and Go To Bed---No Dessert for You

When I finally hit the Powerball jackpot of $250 million dollars and after I take the $187 million dollar cash out prize and after I pay the US government $60 million dollars for taxes--I will devote a portion of what is left toward being an intolerable and unkillable bug on the skin of the North Korean government.

If governments of nations are like family members sitting at a Thanksgiving dinner table, trying to get along, North Korea is the petulant little bastard spoiled asshole kid everyone wants to send to bed early without dessert.  There is conclusive evidence that the March 26th sinking of the Chenoan, a South Korean naval vessel, was caused by a North Korean torpedo.  You can read about it in this Washington Times Report

The attack on the Cheonan killed 46 South Korean sailors and injured dozens more.  On top of the death caused, this attack constitutes an elevated act of aggression by one nuclear state upon another nuclear state. It also marks a shift in North Korean's aggression towards its southern neighbor from passive to active.  A swift and unified response from the international community must be decided upon and enacted. This incident is nothing like North Korean diplomats walking away from a negotiation table. This incident is torpedoes in the water; this is warring behavior and must be curbed immediately.

"We cannot allow this attack on South Korea to go unanswered by the international community. This will not be and cannot be business as usual. There must be an international, not just a regional, but an international response." - Secretary Hillary Clinton, (from The Guardian)

The official U.S. response does not appear to be formulated as yet, however, Secretary Clinton has gone on record saying severe economic sanctions must be taken.  Whereas this attack was taken against a military naval vessel and not a civilian vessel, the state department is reluctant to classify the attack as international terrorism.  North Korea will, for the time being, not be put back on our terrorism blacklist.

Calling North Korea the petulant child at the dinner table is not unreasonable or outlandish.  While an international team was conducting its investigation into the sinking and while evidence was surely ruling out internal explosions and sea mines, North Korean officials furnished an indignant response to the allegations of their involvement.

"If the South puppet group comes out with 'response' and 'retaliation', we will respond strongly with ruthless punishment including the total shutdown of North-South ties, abrogation of the North-South agreement on non-aggression and abolition of all North-South co-operation projects."

As evidence from the sinking investigation seems now to be conclusive, North Korean now stands alone.  Even China, a key North Korean ally, seems ready to stand with the United States, Japan and South Korean in formulating a harsh response.

Severe economic sanctions must surely be in order against North Korea.  Economic stability for the greater international community must always take precedence.  If the U.S. State Department plays its cards right, they could successfully recruit China, North Korea's patron, as a fellow in issuing the sanctions and punishment.

It seems to me that, when it wants something, North Korea "acts out", and uses the negative attention as a platform to advance its agenda.  Perhaps a win-win scenario would be that both the U.S. and China cooperate in a measured out set of economic sanctions, creating a healthy, hard to ignore slap on North Korea's wrists.  In exchange for enduring the punishment and admitting to being caught red-handed in the attack, North Korea may be allowed to publicly explain why they had initiated the attack and obtain a hearing by the U.N. for mediation of whatever dispute about which they'd like to be vocal.

All in all though, this particular incident has the upside of being an opportunity for China and the U.S. to work together, as they should, in keeping their international economic partners in check, keeping the undeserving child's hands out of the cookie jar.  Afterall, if there's going to be any significant international fighting its going to be the Autobots vs. the Decepticons----not Stupid-Dumba- North Korea vs. Completely-Cool-and-Always-Innocent- South Korea.

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