Wednesday, June 24, 2009

North Korean Ships

There have been various reports about the North Korean ship heading toward Burma. It's been followed by a U.S. destroyer, and is suspected of carrying weapons intended for the Burmese government, another international pariah. But under the pointless U.N. sanctions, the ship can only be inspected if North Korea agrees. 

This situation brings a couple of things to mind. Why are we so concerned about a cargo of small arms getting to Burma? If we are going to force a confrontation with North Korea it should be over something that actually matters. There is no reason for U.S. sanctions on Myanmar. The country doesn't affect U.S. strategic interests, and doesn't threaten the U.S. in any way. If the North Koreans want to sell weapons to the junta, let them. What should concern us are North Korean transfers of ballistic missile or nuclear technology to states hostile to the U.S. or its allies.

How about some real "sanctions"? Any North Korean ship suspected of carrying nuclear materials or missile technology could simply be made to disappear with no survivors. Don't take responsibility, don't say anything. Just sink the ships in a deniable way and claim to be baffled about what might have happened. That course of action could be put into place at any time, and would be infinitely more effective than any U.N. sanctions.

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