Monday, August 30, 2010

Obama's flat footed approach to North Korea

US president Barack Obama [BHO] has issued expanded sanctions against the DPRK [Democratic People's Republic of Korea aka North Korea]. They re enforce earlier sanctions against individuals, firms, and agencies. Will these sanctions prove more successful than the previous ones which did not achieve desired goals? Probably not.
The enforcer is the Stuart Leavey in the department of justice. He is no stranger as the US hit man to use the full licence of his office. A hold over from the Bush administration he threw his full weight in seizing a mere us$23m in a North Korean account in Banco Delta Asia in Macau. In the end the US had to resort to legal hocus pocus to release these funds, owing to the sad effect it had on US China and US DPRK policy.
So it is of little surprise that Mr. Leavey is sharpening his tools of search and seizure. GuamDiary asks how will he perform the due diligence of his task when the object of his mission is North Korean firms headquartered say in Iran? Simple answer, he cannot. What form of retaliation can he take against friends of the US who violate the sanctions and do business with North Korea? The question answers itself.
BHO's decision to harden sanctions, and with an eager hawkish Hillary Clinton, his secretary of state, to use her muscle to employ them to the full extent of the law, is founded on teaching Kim Jong il & co. a lesson. It is predicated on the belief that owing to a declining economy, a country on the verge of famine, turbulance in the transition of power, and a general feeling that stronger coersion especially economic will in the end fell an 'axis of evil' state.
It is also founded on the conviction that the DPRK torpedoed the ROK [Republic of Korea aka South Korea] courvette 'Cheonan' in March 2010, resulting in the loss of 46crew. North Korea firmly denied blame and even went so far to issue its own findings and expressed a willingness to go to Seoul to examine South Korea's and US' evidence. Permission was firmly denied.
Now after months of shilly shalling the ROK Lee Myung bek government is going to release the full report on the sunken 'Cheonan'. And suddenly the report as Steve Chao reports from Seoul, it is the object of contraversy. Immediately, South Korean naval experts suggest that the report's findings are not only questionable but reveal a government cover up. [GuamDiary has oft reported that others have established that the Lee government had tampered with the evidence and officers on the 'Cheonan' at the hour of its sinking, were drunk. And if that was not all, the South Korean government took its time to alert the US embassy and the US led UNC [United Nations Command] of the true timing of the ship's going down.]
As we know, the sunken 'Cheonan' proved a bonanza for the US and the ROK to wage a war of propaganda against the DPRK. It failed. China and Russia refused to march in lock step with the US at the UN Security Council.
BHO's proclamation of harsher sanction comes on the heels of Jimmy Carter's errand of mercy to Pyongyang to seek the release of the convicted and imprisoned naive Aijalon Gomes who illegally entered the DPRK to bring the good tidings of evangelical Christianity.
Once again BHO missed an opportunity to take advantage of renew dialogue with the DPRK. [It repeated it ham handed attitude after Bill Clinton came home with two journalist sentenced to 12 years of hard labour for violating North Korea's territorial integrity.]
Mr. Obama's pen scraching on the sanctions document is further proof that the 'war party' still holds the upper hand in dealing with the DPRK, even though the 'peace party' avocating a nuanced, more flexible approach begin to make their voices heard.
America's North Korean clerisy who depend on US governmental largesse and access to information and high ranking bureaucrats and elite, are of the opinion that confrontation is the programme of the day. [GuamDiary has commented on the CFR [Council on Foreign Relations] report of the grand pooh bahs who chew and rechew the cud of failed policies towards the DPRK. The report grandly entitled 'US policy towards Korea' is not only stirs the cold embers of the Cold War but it is a waste of tax or ratepayers monies. You cannot turn the clock back to the late 1940's & early years of the Korean war!]
Mr. Obama's signature is a sign of failure. It is an indication of how deep in the mud US thinking on North Korea remains. And it is a sure sign of impotence and senseless rage.

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