Kim throws a tantrum

posted at 10:14 am on April 14, 2009 by Ed Morrissey

The UN Security Council finally waggled its finger at Kim Jong-Il and the DPRK for violating one of its resolutions in launching a long-range missile more than a week earlier.  Kim has decided to break off all negotiation as a result, declaring an end to the six-party talks and announcing his intent to rebuild Yongbyon to produce nuclear fuel:

Fuming at the U.N. Security Council for condemning its recent missile launch, North Korea said Tuesday it will restart its plutonium factory, junk all its disarmament agreements and “never participate” again in six-country nuclear negotiations. …

It called the Security Council’s statement a “brigandish,” “wanton” and “unjust” infringement of its sovereignty. It said that six-party nuclear talks with the United States, South Korea, Japan, Russia and, even its closest ally, China, had “turned into a platform” for forcing the North to disarm itself and for bringing down its system of government.

“We have no choice but to further strengthen our nuclear deterrent to cope with additional military threats by hostile forces,” North Korea’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement released by its state news agency.

If it follows through on Tuesday’s bluster, North Korea will walk away from six years of slow, fitful but sometimes productive negotiations that have led to substantial disablement of the North’s main nuclear reactor and partial disclosure of the scale of its weapons program.

That last sentence might be the first mainstream media recognition that the Bush administration actually made progress with North Korea.  Unlike the previous administration, George Bush pushed for verification and actual disablement before sending food and fuel to Kim, stabilizing his regime in the face of massive starvation and poverty.  Spiking Yongbyon and having inspectors verify the shutdown kept Kim from producing more nukes, even if he managed to keep what he had.  It wasn’t perfect, but it was progress.

However, none of us were fooled into thinking that Kim would willingly give up his nukes without some serious bending by the West.  That’s what nukes buy these days, and at some point we would have to pay that price.  That would come in the form of recognition, an official end to hostilities, and serious food and energy assistance.  That would serve to prop up Kim’s regime, so the trick for us was to get complete verifiability on his disarmament.  Bush had worked hard for that, but Obama fumbled this point from the beginning, conceding presidential-level talks in a YouTube debate that Obama would like to forget.

Kim throws these temper tantrums for a purpose.  He lashes out to see what the reaction will be.  Joe Biden predicted Obama would get tested on the international stage, and this explicitly falls into that category.  Will Obama overcompensate with concessions, or will he stand firm on verification and adherence to UN resolutions?  Kim is essentially bluffing, as he needs food and fuel to keep his starving subjects from either running across the northern border or erupting in revolution before they die of malnutrition.  Obama needs to call his bluff.


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I wonder what kind of distraction Oslime-a will come up with to take the focus off this latest foreign policy blunder?

The GM bankruptcy? More bonuses? A glitch in the Cuba deal?

csdeven on April 14, 2009 at 10:20 AM

“Get Obooba on this – stat!”

Akzed on April 14, 2009 at 10:20 AM

He is mad about the President’s Cuban policy change.

Probably out of Scotch and oil.

getalife on April 14, 2009 at 10:21 AM

You mean Kim wasn’t cowed into submission by the Navy SEALs’ take-out of the three Somalian pirates? And that in order to keep America safe, Obama’s going to have to keep acting tough for the next 3 1/2 years on foreign policy? Claude Rains couldn’t be more shocked if he found gambling in Rick’s bar…

jon1979 on April 14, 2009 at 10:22 AM

“we will not torerate this!!!”

“f*ck you hans brix!”

blatantblue on April 14, 2009 at 10:22 AM

Same crap, different flies.

leetpriest on April 14, 2009 at 10:22 AM

Wait! I thought Bush was a cowboy, and handled the North Korean threat horribly. Also, Bush was making the midget from North Korea mad, and was going to get us into a war. That’s what the left was telling me for 8 years. Well i guess the chickens are coming home to roost. Lets see how well amateur hour handles this.

MDWNJ on April 14, 2009 at 10:23 AM

Kim is essentially bluffing, as he needs food and fuel to keep his starving subjects from either running across the northern border or erupting in revolution before they die of malnutrition.

Why isn’t the Left accusing Obama of starving the North Koreans. That’s what they said about Bush when he tried to use sanctions against Iraq.

Disturb the Universe on April 14, 2009 at 10:24 AM

You mean Kim wasn’t cowed into submission by the Navy SEALs’ take-out of the three Somalian pirates? And that in order to keep America safe, Obama’s going to have to keep acting tough for the next 3 1/2 years on foreign policy? Claude Rains couldn’t be more shocked if he found gambling in Rick’s bar…
jon1979 on April 14, 2009 at 10:22 AM

LOL!!! I agree!

DCJeff on April 14, 2009 at 10:24 AM

Look, if you have a point to make, then make it. But can we knock off the juvenile name-calling, please? Leave that sort of thing to the far-left ‘Bushitler’ crowd. We’re better than that.

Paul_in_NJ on April 14, 2009 at 10:24 AM

Has anyone tried a group hug yet? I thought not.

I say that Kim just doesn’t know that he is loved. After 8 years of cowboy diplomacy can you blame him?

mankai on April 14, 2009 at 10:25 AM

China would rather have Kim there than us…they get just enough food from big brother to get by…

DCJeff on April 14, 2009 at 10:25 AM

Kim throws these temper tantrums for a purpose. He lashes out to see what the reaction will be.

Yup. He’s a poker player, with seven or eight nuclear aces up his sleeve. Now we’ll see whether or not Obama will call… or fold.

Paul_in_NJ on April 14, 2009 at 10:26 AM

csdeven on April 14, 2009 at 10:20 AM
——

The new White House dog? (gives “Wag The Dog” a new scale..)

One nit to pick – Ed left off the two ugliest options: Doing nothing and letting North Korea implode – likely messy.
Doing nothing and/or fumbling badly and watching as North Korea destroys (either via nuke or, more likely, traditional artillery) Seoul, South Koreas’ capital and largest city.

Bush was quietly successful with the North Koreans – we didn’t hear much, but they also didn’t fall into either of the above.

I look on this as living next door to a violent, suicidal addict and maybe dealer, with a wife and four kids…. You want him to quietly leave, not turn into a media circus. …

Mew

acat on April 14, 2009 at 10:26 AM

Smart diplomacy in action:

A. NK- We’re going to test a “satellite.”

B. US- Might be a weapons test. NK, don’t do that!

C. NK- Boom.

D. UN- Um, er, um- you probably shouldn’t have done that.

E. NK- (Stamps foot) Give me $ and let me do what I want or I’ll continue my nuke program! (Wait, did I say that out loud?)

F. US- ??? (What will Obama do now? The world is waiting…)

cs89 on April 14, 2009 at 10:28 AM

He’s just ronry.

The best outcome is to let Nork collapse , cause china is using them as a pawn. Like Russia is using Iran.

the_nile on April 14, 2009 at 10:30 AM

The UN Security Council finally waggled its finger at Kim Jong-Il and the DPRK

Ed, please don’t call it that. It’s not democratic, it’s not of the people, & it’s not a republic.

jgapinoy on April 14, 2009 at 10:30 AM

at least NK now has a ballpark figure (9 to 10 days) to work with whenever they decide to invade SK and how much time it will take before the UN decides to do something. lil’ kim probably feels that he can be all the way down to Pusan by then.

stormin1961 on April 14, 2009 at 10:31 AM

A third of the people in his country are starving, and he wastes money on trying to achieve nuclear capability. How does someone like this say in power in power? Do you suppose Obama is taking notes?

Tommy_G on April 14, 2009 at 10:32 AM

At least as awful as Kim Dung Hill’s nuke build-up is his brutal treatment of the starving masses, but since that doesn’t threaten anyone else, it gets little or no coverage.

jgapinoy on April 14, 2009 at 10:32 AM

NK won’t collapse like the USSR collapsed. The Soviet Union was huge and complex; unrest was far less manageable and outside influence far more prevalent than in NK. Kim just needs enough cash to feed his army… he can breed cats to feed the rest of the country (who believe that they’ve been saved from the horrifying conditions the people in SK have to endure).

mankai on April 14, 2009 at 10:34 AM

Maybe the Chicago Jesus can take his Teleprompter to North Korea and give a huge free beer bash and one of those America bashing whizbang speeches!! Worked in Europe didn’t it??

Dire Straits on April 14, 2009 at 10:37 AM

Kim just needs a stimulus package (if he can muster the votes in parliament, that is). Somebody needs to tell him that infrastructure spending and green technology will save NK from its economic troubles. I’m sure he’s never considered a centrally-planned economy. His reliance on failed capitalist policies are surely at the root of all his problems.

mankai on April 14, 2009 at 10:38 AM

Ed, why do you insist on whitewashing the Bush
admin’s many insufficiencies? We always had
a much stronger hand wrt NK than he was willing
to play. Right now China is almost totally
dependent on access to our market. That won’t
last forever and yet we’ve never taken proper
advantage. Without China’s support, NK cannot
even continue to exist let alone continue
to develop and export nuke and missile tech.

edshepp on April 14, 2009 at 10:39 AM

Can we offer every North Korean citizen a 20 dollar McDonald’s gift certificate if they all agree to sucker punch their leader?

MadisonConservative on April 14, 2009 at 10:41 AM

One big problem with N. Korea is that S. Korea has no interest in unification. They saw what happened to Germany. Germany had to sink a trillion ‘Marks’ into East Germany to recover that mess. S. Korea would have to invest even more to recover N. Korea and they don’t want to. China likes its crazy yard dog too ’cause it takes the heat off of them. N. Korea will smolder on until the people there get clue that they’ve been had. Only a lot of bloodshed in a revolution will cure this mess.

Mojave Mark on April 14, 2009 at 10:42 AM

Look for the Black Caucas led by Barbara Lee and Bobby Rush to visit North Korea and then give a News Conference saying that the people in North Korea have it better than the people in Oakland and Chicago.

Dire Straits on April 14, 2009 at 10:44 AM

Can we offer every North Korean citizen a 20 dollar McDonald’s gift certificate if they all agree to sucker punch their leader?

MadisonConservative on April 14, 2009 at 10:41 AM

Not a bad idea… which makes me wonder why NK’s Chinese masters haven’t encouraged him to open up NK to a little bit of “evil” capitalism. Having coca-cola and McDonald’s in Peking has done more for China than all the economists at Harvard and Berkeley combined.

mankai on April 14, 2009 at 10:46 AM

The way I see it Obama and the UN’s weak response to the Norks clear provocation is exactly the sort of response Kim was hoping for. In short he smells weakness in the new administration and sees it as an opportunity to extort as much as he can from the international community in order to prop up his regime.

Also now that a country like North Korea has shown that the Obama administration hasn’t got the balls to come down hard after a clear provocation like this all the other two bit dictatorships around the world as well as a few major players will take it as a sign that they can do as the choose with little or no interference from Obama.

Dreadnought223 on April 14, 2009 at 10:52 AM

The problem with these tests is that when Obama gets an “F”, we get “F’d”.

right2bright on April 14, 2009 at 10:53 AM

Weakness from the USA is showing these thugs they are now free to do whatever they want.

Bravo D’ohbama!

Neo on April 14, 2009 at 12:42 PM

As my lib father would say, “We need to just ‘Be Peace’”. If we just ‘Be Peace’, then Kim will stop being such a murderous dictator.

Why can’t us cons just get this? If somebody points a nuclear weapon at you, you just have to ‘Be Peace’ and he won’t fire! It works on the streets of New York . . .

If that doesn’t work, the elves on dragons will come to our rescue . . .

PastorJon on April 14, 2009 at 12:49 PM

Bama ain’t up to the task.

Susan Rice will be back at the Security Council whining for them to do something. Nothing will happen, and P2 (President Pantywaist) will have his own rhetoric inserted firmly in his nether regions.

It was Bush’s military that took out the pirates, not Bama’s, and their success likely will ease his mind into cutting more deeply into the defense budget.

At least Bama left open the path to use force, and congrats on that. Carter likely would have just made a speech, stern letter to follow, with some foreign aid monies.

I don’t think Kim will start a fight. Even the Chinese couldn’t back him on that without looking pretty foolish. It would be messy, but let Kim collapse. Aid just staves off the inevitable, like bailing out GM.

Harry Schell on April 14, 2009 at 1:32 PM

Kim can afford to up the ante, he’s playing against the ultimate rookie.

Maquis on April 14, 2009 at 2:05 PM

Paul_in_NJ on April 14, 2009 at 10:24 AM

No we’re not. It’s time to hit back. These guys need to be taken down.

jakabok_botch on April 14, 2009 at 2:09 PM

They have got to do something about those silly looking BIG hats. They look like kids wearing their uncles dress green garrisson hat they found while rumaging in the attic.

Alden Pyle on April 14, 2009 at 2:11 PM

What I mean is, being better than the opposition hasn’t been very effective. It’s time to get in the mud and give back what we’ve been given for the last hundred years or so.

jakabok_botch on April 14, 2009 at 2:13 PM

It’s time to start doling out real cowboy diplomacy and putting these lunatics away.

jakabok_botch on April 14, 2009 at 2:14 PM

What I can’t believe is that the MSM attacked Bush’s decent handling of foreign policy, and now they cover for Obama’s blunders. Who hasn’t figured out they’re in the tank? Why do they get any respect at all?

Al in St. Lou on April 14, 2009 at 6:54 PM

I have read that Bush didn’t get anything either. The article said that Yongbyon was falling apart and that it had to be closed for maintenance in any event. How much better to get something for what you were going to do anyway.

burt on April 14, 2009 at 7:11 PM

I say that Kim just doesn’t know that he is loved. After 8 years of cowboy diplomacy can you blame him?

mankai on April 14, 2009 at 10:25 AM

Because he was just so perfectly behaved during 8 years of Clinton, now wasn’t he?

Chuck Schick on April 14, 2009 at 8:18 PM