Barack Obama, meet reality:
North Korea said on Tuesday that it was abandoning an agreement it made in February with the United States, in which it promised to suspend uranium enrichment, nuclear tests and long-range missile tests.
The North Korean Foreign Ministry said that it “resolutely and totally” rejected the United Nations Security Council’s condemnation of its failed rocket launching last week, and that it would continue to launch rockets to try to place satellites into orbit.
The ministry’s statement hinted, but did not make clear, that the North may now conduct a long-range missile or nuclear test.
North Korea is the most predictable mercurial oligarchy on the planet. It cannot feed its people on its own, juche being nothing more than a ghastly joke, so it has developed a way to dupe the US and our allies into sending them food. Going back to the Clinton years, no deal with North Korea has ever stood up for long. Pyongyang makes deals to get food that naive outsiders believe or hope will go to the kingdom’s starving people, but instead goes to the army and the political elites. That food doesn’t last forever. When it suits them, Pyongyang violates the deal, misbehaves to get splashy headlines, then makes another deal to bring in more food. North Korea essentially creates a food harvest out of threatening to rain fire and death on their cousins in the south and on Japan across the water. The threat is just credible enough to work, every time, because North Korea’s ruling family and political elites behave as if they are all insane, and Seoul is within striking distance of North Korea’s artillery, which is dug into mountains on the north side of the DMZ. China’s duplicitous and enabling behavior keeps the game going, and keeps North Korea from collapsing and sending a massive stream of refugees into China.
At some point, this macabre game will end. Hopefully with a whimper, and not a nuclear bang.