While most everyone in America is obsessing over the impeachment follies, the situation on the Korean peninsula has gone from bad to worse, at least in terms of the goals of the United States and the west. Russia and China have prepared a UN resolution that would lift many sanctions on North Korea. The stated goal is to “enhance the livelihood of the civilian population.” But as admirable as such a goal might be, it would effectively take the handcuffs off of Kim Jong-un, leaving America and her allies nothing to go on but Kim’s promises to be a better actor on the world stage. And history has shown us repeatedly what his promises are worth. (Reuters)
China and Russia proposed a draft U.N. Security Council resolution on Monday, seen by Reuters, that would terminate some sanctions on North Korea “with the intent of enhancing the livelihood of the civilian population.”
The draft also welcomes “the continuation of the dialogue between the United States and the DPRK at all levels, aimed at establishing new US-DPRK relations, building mutual confidence and joining efforts to build a lasting and stable peace on the Korean Peninsula in a staged and synchronized manner.”
The resolution tries to strike a positive note, likely in an attempt to gain support from the White House, calling for continued bilateral negotiations between the United States and North Korea, as well as continuing rapprochement efforts between North and South Korea. But most of the countries in the UN have been on board with the sanctions for a long time now and the goal of eliminating the North’s nuclear weapons capabilities seems as far off as ever.
But if the resolution fails to pass, it’s not difficult to see what the next move by China and Russia would likely be. They can simply drop a bunch of their own sanctions and throw Kim the lifeline he’s been looking for. I can’t lay claim to any extraordinary prescience on this, but here’s what I wrote only a week ago.
There’s one unpleasant possibility on the horizon that we haven’t given much thought to up until now. You’ll recall that Russia and China have recently been teaming up in an obvious challenge to American military and economic dominance. Also, we’ve known since last year that both countries have been quietly violating international sanctions and tossing Kim a lifeline.
Put all of these facts together and it’s hard to ignore the possibility that Kim Jong-un has grown tired of waiting for Trump to cave on the sanctions question. If that’s the case, what if North Korea is cutting a deal to openly become an ally with those two nations, standing fully against us? China and Russia could simply decide to announce that they were lifting all sanctions and will begin openly trading with North Korea and providing them with foreign aid and other forms of relief.
As I mentioned in the previous article, both Russia and China have already been forging stronger alliances with Iran, Venezuela and Turkey. And what do all of those countries have in common? They are all under international sanctions to one degree or another, they all demonstrate hostility toward the United States and they all have oppressive regimes that subjugate their own people. Looked at in that light, North Korea is a natural fit as a potential member of their club. And Kim has nukes. If the world can’t force him to give up on his nuclear ambitions, Russa and China could simply accept that new reality and make sure that the madman is on their side.
Such a move would create a formidable military block, leaving the United States and most of NATO out in the cold. And by all appearances, it seems to be happening right before our eyes. Keep an eye on these developments because this is a potentially disastrous situation in the making.