Belmont Club

Curses, foiled again

Reuters quotes diplomatic sources as saying that UN Security Council is unlikely to impose any sanctions on North Korea for firing a missile in defiance of earlier Security Council Resolutions.

U.N. Security Council diplomats have told Reuters on condition of anonymity that no country was considering imposing new sanctions but the starting point could be discussing a resolution for the stricter enforcement of earlier sanctions.

Both Russia and China have made clear they would block new sanctions by the Security Council, where they have veto power.

“If the United States and Japan insist on a new resolution and new sanctions at the United Nations, China will most likely use its veto,” said Shi Yinhong, professor of international security at Renmin University in Beijing.

Unless something drastically changes, then the likely outcome of a diplomatic offensive to make North Korea pay for its missile launch is nothing. “Stephen Bosworth, Washington’s special envoy for North Korea, said ahead of the launch last week that he hoped to bring the North back to the talks once the ‘dust’ had settled.” The matchup between North Korea and the UN is an interesting one. North Korea is short of every quality except audacity, but the UN so lacks anything remotely resembling audacity that the deficit negates all of its other advantages. One the one hand you have a comical tyrant firing missiles over the second richest country on earth towards the most powerful country on the planet, and on the other you have a “World Body” that can barely say — anonymously — that they aren’t going to do anything about it, though they may carry out sanctions they had announced earlier but had never quite enforced. They’re so timid they can’t even bring themselves to throw in the towel openly.

Nobody should have been disappointed, though I sure that some people are. The question is: what were they expecting? Politics in the modern world has become something like episodes of the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers, where nothing happens without hours of posturing. Today you can’t simply go on a diplomatic offensive. You have to announce it first. Nor is it possible for organizations to just fold, like the Security Council. They have to leak the fact they will fold. Only Israel, with a kind of Old Testament quaintness, seems to think that secret strikes should be secret. They are behind the times.

The BBC has announced that the North Korean missile has reached orbit where it was reportedly playing the “Song of General Kim Il-sung” and “Song of General Kim Jong-il” to anyone who will listen. But there we go again. It’s not enough to broadcast such a musical masterpiece without having to announce the fact on the media. Here’s a rendition of that rousing number so that readers don’t have to listen to the music from the stars. But personally I think that the “Song of General Kim Jong-il” is less a testimony to the Dear Leader’s greatness than the absurdity to which modern statecraft has descended. Two generations ago, to have been conquered by the likes Hitler would have been a tragedy; but to bow and scrape before this clown — that is truly farce.

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