With the insolence of the Somali pirates — but a lot more weapons, including missiles and nuclear bomb fuel — proliferation-prone North Korea continues to threaten the civilized world. And President Obama is on track to continue the failed — albeit bipartisan — approach that has dominated the past 15 years of U.S. policy: paying yet more nuclear extortion to North Korea, while the United Nations pleads with Kim Jong Il to return to the bargaining table.
It’s debatable by now which is more delusional:
— North Korea’s announcement that it’s April 5th illicit missile test was actually the launch of an “experimental communications satellite,” which apparently does not exist. But that’s no bar to North Korea’s state news agency claiming that this phantom projectile, the Kwangmyongsong-2, is now orbiting the earth every 104 minutes and 12 seconds, broadcasting “the melodies of immortal revolutionary paeans” such as “Song of General Kim Il Sung,” and “Song of General Kim Jong Il.”
— Or President Obama’s attempt to deliver a “strong international response” to North Korea’s missile test by way of turning to the UN Security Council, which couldn’t even bring itself to produce a resolution, and took more than a week to finally issue a “statement” demanding that North Korea “not conduct any further launch.”
North Korea’s regime responded with histrionics to the UN’s flick on the wrist, rejecting all further talks and announcing plans to restart the production of nuclear weapons (as if they had ever stopped?). Chalk that up as Pyongyang’s standard negotiating dodge, before Kim’s envoys return to the table to collect the latest round of nuclear payoffs, some of which are right now rolling toward them in a U.S. supplemental spending bill.
The only real solution to all this would have to begin with the downfall of Kim Jong Il. One way to hasten that day would be for Obama to break the insane pattern of diplomatic tribute with which both Democratic and Republican administrations over the past 15 years have actually helped Kim survive. Where to begin? Well, if Obama feels he must “engage” North Korea, stop sending diplomats to chat with Kim’s envoys. Bring in the Navy Seals, and tell them not to bother saying anything at all. More, in my column this week for Forbes.com , “We Need Action, Not Words, On North Korea.”