North Korea

Putin Warns: Don't Push North Korea Into 'Dead End'

He's right. But he shouldn't leave diplomatic efforts to the U.S.

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face to face/ZUMA Press/Newscom

Russian President Vladimir Putin has rejected a proposal by South Korea's president, Moon Jae In, to deal with North Korea's latest missile tests by cutting off the country's oil supplies.

"We should not act out of emotions and push North Korea into a dead end," Putin told reporters at a joint press conference with Moon. "We must act with calm and avoid steps that could raise tensions."

He is not wrong. But Moscow's inability or unwillingness to pursue its own diplomatic efforts with Pyongyang have rendered Putin's calls for a political solution toothless.

Putin also met with Japan Prime Minister Shinzo Abe yesterday, and he declared afterward that Abe and he "decisively condemned" North Korea's missile tests.

Russia and Japan have been engaged in a different diplomatic effort, aiming to end their World War 2 hostilities. (The fighting stopped in 1945, but the two nations never formally reached a peace.) In addition to discussing a peace treaty, Putin and Abe talked about joint economic activities in the disputed Northern Territories, Japanese islands captured by Soviet forces at the end of World War 2.

Meanwhile, Admiral Scott Swift, the commander of the U.S. Pacific Fleet, claimed this week that America's North Korean strategy of sanctions and diplomacy has worked so far.

"I say it has worked because we are not at war," he told The Washington Post, insisting the U.S. had not foreclosed on diplomacy even as "all options are on the table."

That's all well and good, but the U.S.'s best move may be not to play. Every other country in the six-party talks with North Korea that collapsed in 2009—South Korea, Russia, Japan, and China—should have more incentive to pursue a diplomatic solution than the United States does. Their stake in regional security and stability is much bigger than America's.

But the U.S. made itself a guarantor of global security after World War 2, effectively taking responsibility for those regional stakes. Were North Korea to launch a nuclear warhead at an American ally or outpost, the U.S. is still capable of the "assured destruction" portion of the "mutually assured destruction" policy that kept the Cold War free of nuclear strikes. That's not so for the countries in the region.

Returning the responsibility for regional security to regional actors would be a much more powerful alternative to sanctions, military exercises, and other sorts of pressure that can only make armed conflict more likely.

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  1. The H-bomb is fake Jew science. It’s a hoax like the moon landing.

    – Every Trumpkenstein about a year ago

    1. DajjaI|9.8.17 @ 2:40PM|#
      “The H-bomb is fake Jew science. It’s a hoax like the moon landing.
      – Every Trumpkenstein about a year ago”

      This is a lie, like every Dajjal comment ever posted here.
      Fuck off.

      1. Humor-impaired?

        However, I did know a Jewish kid some years ago who thought the H-bomb was indeed a hoax?that all it did was result in a more complete fission rxn. I know him as an adult now, & he no longer believes it, but it’s a cute coincidence.

  2. So how much taxpayer money should the US give to North Korea to get the little troll to retire under his bridge (as that is what negotiations wil lead to)?

    1. Once you pay the Danegild, you never get rid of the Dane.

      NK has been a hostage situation for decades. Not just the NK people, but everyone under threat of the NK military. And the people under threat grows and grows.

  3. The last time Russia cut off North Korea’s oil supply, it was that coupled with floods that initiated mass starvation in North Korea. They became completely dependent on coal for electricity, and when the coal mines flooded, there was no electricity to pump out the floodwaters, no electricity to pump irrigation into the grain fields, no harvest the next year because of that, etc. I consider that strategy immoral, but maybe even worse than that, it ignores the lesson of the last mass starvation in North Korea.

    If there’s anything to learn from North Korea’s mass starvation in the 90s, it’s that the North Korean people are so beaten down, you can even starve them to death by the hundreds of thousands, and they still won’t/can’t rise up against their oppressors. By starving the North Korean people of fuel and possibly food, you’re not really putting any significant pressure on the North Korean regime. You’re just inflicting suffering on the North Korean people.

  4. It’s time for us all to brush off our Jeane Kirkpatrick textbook..What’s the difference between authoritarians and totalitarians? Yeah, totalitarians don’t just try to control what you do–they try to control what you think and how you feel. And what did Jeane Kirkpatrick teach us about how that translates into action on American foreign policy? One of her lessons was that totalitarians are basically immune to both internal pressure and insulated from pressure by their neighbors and the world. Pinochet held a referendum on his rule and respected the results–because he was not a totalitarian.

    The Kim Regime is totalitarian. Beating their people until morale improves isn’t just immoral. It’s pointless.

    If you want to try pressure, pressure them indirectly by pressuring China. Schedule a state visit either to or from Taiwan. If that doesn’t have much chance of actually working, at least no one will freeze or starve as a result of our efforts.

    1. Ken, I agree WRT to starvation; the ‘officials’ and the Army eat while the population starves and it seems that most accept that as part of being ‘special people’ (see “Nothing to Envy: Ordinary Lives in North Korea”).
      The Chinese are certainly not happy with that loose cannon across the border, but they seem quite concerned with having to feed several million people if the regime collapses, so I can’t see a visit to Taiwan having any effect on that.
      Maybe the US gov’t has no choice but to offer the ChiComs whatever assistance it takes to clean up after one more commie fuck-up. Certainly cheaper than a war against that turd and the costs of cleaning up anyhow.
      Man, I’m tired of paying the costs of picking up after some brain-dead lefty leave the room a mess!

  5. Putin Warns: Don’t Push North Korea Into ‘Dead End’
    He’s right. But he shouldn’t leave diplomatic efforts to the U.S.

    Reason’s offices were raided Thursday afternoon by Chief Inquisitor Mueller:

    Russian collusion is the greatest threat America has ever faced. All collaborators with Russia, and those advocating collaboration with Russia, will be interrogated and rehabilitated.
    Confessions by Nick “The Jacket” and Cathy “Double Agent” Young will be broadcast Friday morning. Other confessions will be broadcast as rehabilitation efforts warrant.

  6. Meanwhile, Admiral Scott Swift, the commander of the U.S. Pacific Fleet, claimed this week that America’s North Korean strategy of sanctions and diplomacy has worked so far.
    “I say it has worked because we are not at war,”

    Translation:

    Paying Tribute to NK in return for them refraining from mass murder has been a dandy success, and will only get *more* successful as NK expands the number of people it can annihilate. Paying Danegild to terrorists is a time honored strategy with no downsides, and it will certainly not encourage any other state actors to play the same game.

  7. Returning the responsibility for regional security to regional actors would be a much more powerful alternative to sanctions, military exercises, and other sorts of pressure that can only make armed conflict more likely.

    NK is a hostage situation. Either you pay the ransom, or you try to kill the hostage takers.

    Once you pay the Danegild, you never get rid of the Dane, and you encourage many more Danes. But the world community has paid.

    That’s been our strategy with NK for decades, and we’ve been rewarded with “peace in our time”, and a vastly more dangerous NK with many millions more hostage to their increasingly powerful weapons.

    It’s fine to say “fuck you guys, I’m going home” now, and let regional powers deal with it. File under “not our problem”.

    But the US has the most powerful military, and most powerful weapons, and would best be able to minimize loss of life should anyone ever decide on military action.

    If the international community submits to nuclear extortion, this problem will only get worse. That path also has costs.

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