North Korea

China and Russia Warn U.S. About Regime Change in North Korea

The best way for them to prevent regime change is to offer more attractive alternatives.

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DPRK

As the United Nations passes new sanctions against North Korea, watered down at the behest of Russia and China, the two countries warned the United States against pursuing regime change in North Korea.

The Russian representative at the U.N. expressed concern the U.S. wasn't reaffirming "the four nos"—no regime change, no regime collapse, no accelerated reunification, and no military deployment north of the 38th parallel dividing the Korean peninsula.

"The Chinese side will never allow conflict or war on the peninsula," a spokesperson for the Chinese foreign ministry said today.

That's all well and good, but if Russia and China are really concerned about what the U.S. might do on the Korean peninsula they should step in and offer solutions rather than admonishments.

Instead, the two major powers have largely remained on the sideline as North Korea inches closer to nuclear weapons capability, leaving the responsibility of reacting to the developments to the U.S., which Ambassador to the U.N. Nikki Haley stressed, is ready to act alone to stop the North Korean regime if necessary.

It should not be surprising that regime change—a flawed tool fraught with negative consequences—is still on the table. It is a tool America's foreign policy makers are familiar with and return to with regularity despite its history of failure.

Over the last seventy years, the U.S. has taken on the role of world policeman. Donald Trump, who campaigned in part on questioning the wisdom of that role, has largely embraced it as president, revealing how this foreign policy status quo is ingrained and difficult to change.

The administration hopes sanctions against North Korea might at the least bring the regime back to the negotiating table. It bases this idea on the sanctions that pressured Iran into negotiating a nuclear deal. It remains unclear, however, how much those long-term sanctions influenced Iran's decision to negotiate, given the country's internal politics. Sanctions might have delayed diplomatic efforts by offering domestic hard-liners a talking point against negotiating.

Russia and China's efforts to temper the U.N sanctions further muddles the issue. They are two of five countries with veto power in the Security Council. If they are not convinced of the efficacy of sanctions they ought to kill them.

They have not killed the sanctions, because they offer the perception something is being done about the North Korea crisis. Without sanctions the U.S. could rightly ask Russia and China what, exactly, is their contribution to a solution.

The U.S. is right to ask the question anyway. Both countries have a greater interest than the U.S. in reining in North Korea, but have opted not to expose their leadership to criticism over any diplomatic failure.

The critiques will be much harsher if North Korea spirals out of control. The U.S. is comitted to defending its allies in the region, Japan and South Korea. North Korea knows it. Russia and China do, too. The Trump administration has signaled clearly ("fire and fury") the U.S. is willing to use overwhelming force to respond to any North Korean aggression.

If China and Russia fear regime change in the neighboring Korean peninsula, and they should, they can help prevent it by assuming more responsibility for North Korea—by engaging in public diplomatic efforts that would allow, and maybe even encourage, the U.S. to responsibly pull back.

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  1. Why should sanctions hurt NK? Sanctions are basically the same thing as protectionism. It’s just that a foreign government is limiting commerce, not the domestic one. But in practice they are the same thing. So if “Making America Great Again” means taxing foreign goods and becoming more self reliant as a nation, then sanctions will only make NK great again. Don’t people know anything?

  2. What’s up with Ed?

    Admonishing the Empire to forget about escalating matters is a solution. Yankee go home is an even better solution.

  3. I don’t think the Norks can change regimes anyway. Are there even any other Kims left?

    1. Just eighty million or so.

  4. “The Chinese side will never allow conflict or war on the peninsula,” a spokesperson for the Chinese foreign ministry said today.
    War is coming to the Korean peninsula whether China likes it or not. The USA does not have to wait for North Korea to actually nuke us to do something and clearly China thinks it can control Fat Boy-Un which China is unable to do.

    If China refuses to reign in their boy threatening America, then China should just be ignored. The stupidest thing China could do is go to war with the USA. The USA would cancel all the national debt that China holds and embargo all imports and exports of China.

    1. You singing for supper money at Club Neo-Cohen?

      1. Even NAP has limits.

        If anything we know appeasement works so we don’t have to fight down the road.

        1. How about the on-going bankrupting of the country? Do you think spending all that money we don’t have on defending South Korea is good?

          Even if we were to initiate force to take out Tubby-un, we would risk losing 25,000 in Korea plus how many hundreds of thousands of South Koreans?

        2. “Even NAP has limits.”

          Maybe. But no libertarian worth the description would say that those limits include preemptive war.

  5. “The USA would cancel all the national debt that China holds and embargo all imports and exports of China.”

    It would destroy the US economy for at least a generation, but hey, China… or whatever.

    1. How would cancelling debt with an enemy destroy the US economy?

      The embargo would hurt the US economy but so will North Korean nuking the USA. Better that a recession based on war with North Korea and/or China would recover in less than a decade. A nuclear detonation would devastate the USA for (as you said) a generation… at least.

  6. Who would loan a dime to the US afterwards?

    Also, the Norks aren’t going to nuke the US, your fevered pants shittting notwithstanding.

    Anyone with a basic understand of North Korea knows the regime cares about one thing and one thing only: staying in power.

    1. I personally think it would be great if no other country would lend the US government money. I don’t want them to be able to deficit spend our economy into collapse.

    2. Every country in the World except Communist countries would loan the USA money and the USA should not be borrowing money anyway.

      I am glad you are so sure that North Korea will never nuke the USA, your shitty pants of fevered appeasement notwithstanding.

      Your lack of knowledge about Korea is apparent because North Korea would never attack a neighbor because their primary motivation according to you is to remain in power. You must also have some great insight into Chinese-North Korean politics. China would never send their own troops to kill Americans, would they? The fact that, technically, the UN (USA included) is still at war with North Korea must be of no consequence to you. The USA cannot defend itself against threats of nuclear attack and repeated missile launches, ammirite?

      1. “Every country in the World except Communist countries would loan the USA money and the USA should not be borrowing money anyway.”

        Oh sure, countries are gonna be lining up after we give a big fuck you to our largest holder of debt.

        “I am glad you are so sure that North Korea will never nuke the USA, your shitty pants of fevered appeasement notwithstanding.”

        Yeah, you’re the one who’s talking about the North Koreans nuking the US any moment now, but it’s ME who’s shitting his pants.

        “Your lack of knowledge about Korea is apparent because North Korea would never attack a neighbor because their primary motivation according to you is to remain in power. You must also have some great insight into Chinese-North Korean politics. China would never send their own troops to kill Americans, would they?”

        Yes, nothing absolutely NOTHING has changed in China since the 1950s. You can change your pants now. China is not going to war with the US over N. Korea.

        “The fact that, technically, the UN (USA included) is still at war with North Korea must be of no consequence to you.”

        No, not really.


  7. It should not be surprising that regime change?a flawed tool fraught with negative consequences?is still on the table. It is a tool America’s foreign policy makers are familiar with and return to with regularity despite its history of failure.

    While I’m not in favor of that move, to the neo-con’s and the rest of our ‘great leaders’ it’s understandable in this case because it’s not like the results are likely to be worse than a nuclear armed North Korea with ICBM’s.

    If we should have been morally obligated to intervene in World War 2 to stop Hitler’s concentration camps, what makes North Korea immune to the same moral obligation? Oh…it’s because they’re doing it to their own people? Cool. Glad we cleared that up.

    Note that I don’t think anyone here is saying we had any kind of moral obligation, I’m referring to the asshats in our government.

    And, I feel like I should mention that I’m not necessarily against all intervention in North Korea since they’ve made their intentions pretty clear in regards to the United States and what they’d like to do to us. If they can’t destroy us with an ICBM, perhaps selling a nuke to some 3rd party would be ‘just as good’.

    Unlikely? Definitely. And there are a lot of other considerations, but lets be honest for a second and admit that the people of North Korea can’t actually eat nuclear weapons. Then again, I seems doubtful that the regime has much interest in feeding them either.

  8. Neither China nor Russia care one whit about North Korea. North Korea represents a buffer keeping US troops away from their borders. To the degree NK can antagonize the US and its neighbors, well, they are good with that.

    Their pet rogue state has gotten out of control and they need to yank its leash.

  9. Who would loan a dime to the US afterwards?……. Would that force the gov’t to cut WAY back on its spending? That would be a good thing!

  10. Whether we persue “regime change” or not should have nothing to do with either China or Russia. We have NO AUTHORITY to meddle in the internal politics of any foreign nation. Thus for us topersue “regime change” is wrong, illegal, unconstitutiona… not to mention wasteful and stupid (any questionis, consider our track record all over the world…. I can think of somewhere around two dozen “regimes” we’ve overturned, substituting our own “preferences” and imposing them on the citizens of those nations by military force and/or stealth political force, up to and including the assassination of the regime leader we don’t like. This is wrong.

    On the other hand, taking steps to chill NK’s present course of nuclear weaponsgamesmanship IS wise and necessary. There are ways of making that clear to NK’s present regime. Russia and China would be wise to also persue this same goal…. but should do so because THEY see the wisdom of it, not because they perceive WE want it.

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