Thursday, June 19, 2003

After my last blog denouncing self-opinionated prigs, I have decided to join their ranks. I was most offended at the myopic, ill-researched, lazy-journalism which resulted in the inadequate article on Korean blogs in the Joongang Ilbo - no links provided as the article failed to mention my blog. That article is a personal affront!

In other news, the ASEAN forumhas been the scene for US officials to try and get more support on the crackdown in North Korean exports/imports. The US Secretary of Sate gave a speech that is very poltically correct but does give a bit of information on the North nuke issue. Needless to say, with 11 countries now in tow, the idea is gainging ground. While I can agree that the issue should not necessarily be a US-NK matter there is a basis for rejecting this kind of pressure.

An article which I linked to a bit back analysed the effectiveness of sanctions in gaining poltical leverage to induce countries to do the will of sanctioning country/ies. The analysis found that in smaller matters sanctions had recorded some success but in larger issues, it was not found to be a feasible means of achieving poltical/economic goals. When I linked it, I was discussing the futility of sanctions against Iraq to deter their supposed secret weapons programme. And I beliee the same holds true for the North Korea case. The poltical goal is too large in this case as well.

But of course, Korea is not Iraq and several other factors should be considered. Firslty, North Korea already has the wepaons which would make sanctions seem less likely to have an impact. Secondly, it is extremely difficult to tell how the sanctions will impact the country/economy. We can guess that the money from weapons and illegal matter is not going toward feeding the people and at stretch we may summise that if the monetary gains only go to military machinery, then the economy won't collapse either as it is separate from the military economy, and we can guess, that if they have already got the weapons, one or two more, though desirable, is not necessary, and we can guess that the North Koreans will still be able to get stuff out and make sales regardless of an ambitious (and illegal) blockade.

Talks between North Korea, US and other sidelined nations, are admittedly not going very well. The disagreement between the allied countries opposed against the North Koreans is only detrimentally affecting any possible progress and no amicable solution is in sight. Indeed, they seem to be getting farther apart. The next round of talks, then, should be seen as extremely critical by all sides. Everyone is getting antsy, this issue has been going on too long and US is starting to get bored with Iraq the same way they did with Afghanistan which will probably rasie North Korea's stress level another notch. Meanwhile the North is getting more belligerent in its speech which is proably doing nothing for US stress levels either. After the failed previous talks, its imperative that these talks, at least lead to more talks with a definite date, schedule and list of participating nationS.

Currently reading:

"Hell" by Yasutaka Tsutsui