Who cares?

A day after the Council unanimously passed the resolution, following nearly a week of intensive diplomatic negotiations, the South Korean government said it would still pursue economic projects with North Korea, including an industrial zone and tourist resort in the North. Those projects are not explicitly covered by the Security Council resolution, but they are an important source of hard currency for the North.

China, which shares a 870-mile porous border with North Korea and is perhaps its most critical economic gateway to the outside world, said Saturday that it had no intention of stopping and inspecting cross-border shipments, as called for, but not specifically required, in the resolution…

The relative silence on Sunday about how the resolution would be enforced, coupled with the vagaries of the resolution itself, raised concerns that the Security Council action would not have much of an impact for the foreseeable future.

Worse, some countries that are willing to enforce the sanctions aren’t able: the Royal Navy has been so decimated by defense cutbacks that it’ll be relegated to supporting the American and French fleets. The Royal. f’ing. Navy.

England expects that every man will do his duty … by backing up the French.

Whatever, though. Symbolic sanctions are a perfect non-solution to an unsolvable problem. Krazy Kim called the UN’s bluff; they had to respond but not so antagonistically that it might make Krazy do something crazy; so they passed a resolution but watered it down to make enforcement essentially hortatory. Now they can get him off the table and turn their attention back to the center of gravity in the Middle East.

Nothing else to be done. Except (a) Japan getting the bomb, which they’re slowly but surely moving towards, or (b) the liberal panacea of bilateral talks. Should we do it? Send Bush to Pyongyang to formally bestow upon him the American imprimatur of legitimacy and, just maybe, a basketball signed by Kobe Bryant? That’d be quite the Faustian bargain:

The North Korean regime’s obsession with racial purity has led to the killing of disabled infants and forced abortions for women suspected of conceiving their babies by Chinese fathers, according to a growing body of testimony from defectors…

“I defied the order to abort the foetus the prison authorities contemptuously called a ‘Chinese Chink’ and was badly beaten and kicked in my belly by a guard. His name was Hwang Myong-dong,” she said.

One week later, said Han, she was led to a prison clinic “where in a most blunt manner they extracted the dead child from my body”.

They call it a Stalinist state, but there’s more than a little bit of Reich floating around in that political DNA.

No deals with the devil. Not bilaterally, at least. If our warming a chair next to ogres like Russia and China does enough for Kim’s ego to get him to abandon his nuke program, fine. It’s dirty, but on balance it’s worth it. No one-on-one seal of approval/champagne toast, though. If you can’t draw the line at this pig, then there is no line.

Update: Just across on Fox: John Negroponte’s office says analysis of air samples in North Korea confirm that it was indeed a nuclear test.