Friday, October 13, 2006

Darkness in North Korea... (updated)

North Korea might now have The Bomb, but it doesn't have much electricityDaily Mail:
As the world grapples with how to rein in the "axis of evil" state which this week conducted a nuclear test, this spectacular satellite photo unveiled yesterday by US Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld shows in stark detail the haves and have-nots of the Korean peninsula.

The regime in the north is so short of electricity that the whole country is switched off at 9 p.m. - apart from the capital of Pyongyang where dictator Kim Jong-il and his cohorts live in relative luxury. But even there, lighting is drastically reduced.
A great North Korea Update from Bryan at HotAir:
...The bottom line now is that the United Nations will probably prove to be useless in preventing crisis again. China and Russia will use their vetoes to water down any punishment, and the US will acquiesce rather than play hardball and get them to stop protecting North Korea. South Korea will duck. Japan will do what it has to do to survive, with our without help from anyone else including us. We’ll work with our allies and use the Proliferation Security Initiative as well as we can, but as long as China props North Korea up Kim will go on menacing the world. This won’t solve the North Korea problem, and will only kick it down the road until North Korea’s missiles and nuclear weapons actually work. The window for dealing with a mostly toothless North Korea will have passed. And when North Korea’s weapons work, so will Iran’s.

Unilateralism has its disadvantages, but in the current environment multilateralism may have even more. You can’t depend on despots to do anything other than protect their own narrow self-interests. Expecting them to do anything else is naive and foolish, and failing to leverage the political environment against them will probably lead to very serious problems and confrontations in a year or two. And the UN these days is dominated, or at least stymied, by despots in Beijing and Moscow. It’s unlikely to be very useful for the foreseeable future.
Reject the U.N.

Update: The Patriot Post chimes in:
Democrats at home and liberal softies abroad argue that President Bush is to blame for not having engaged North Korea directly. This is folly. First of all, bilateral talks don’t work with this rogue regime; the Clinton administration proved that. Second, if we sit down one-on-one with North Korea, we will again be rewarding them for their bad behavior, proving that we are in fact a paper tiger.

Even Gary Samore, Director of Studies at the Council on Foreign Relations, a former National Security Council staffer and a key negotiator of the Clinton administration’s failed 1994 Agreed Framework, rules out the possibility of disarming Pyongyang at this point. Rather, he concludes, the U.S. must rely on Chinese influence to contain North Korea’s existing nuclear capability.

The realism of such a strategy, however, is in serious question. Stratfor, the private analytic-intelligence provider, among others, has begun to call into question the breadth and depth of Chinese influence over their communist brethren on the Peninsula. “Beijing likes having North Korea as a dog on a leash, allowing it to bark and throwing it a bone if it barks a bit too much. But this time,” Stratfor analysts conclude, “the dog has apparently broken its chain.”

Kim has to be made to realize that the only solution is for him to stop his nuclear program unconditionally and allow full transparency and international inspections. This is non-negotiable. In the parlance of the day, anything else would be unacceptable.
Right on.

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