So much for strongly-worded memos. The US has signaled that it will not enforce a UN resolution allowing the interdiction of North Korea’s shipping when suspected of illegal arms traffic. Instead, the US will ask permission to inspect, and retreat when refused:
The United States will not use force to inspect a North Korean ship suspected of carrying banned goods, an American official was quoted as saying Friday.
An American destroyer has been shadowing the North Korean freighter sailing off China’s coast, possibly on its way to Myanmar.
Defense Undersecretary Michele Flournoy met with South Korean officials in Seoul on Friday as the U.S. sought international support for aggressively enforcing a U.N. sanctions resolution aimed at punishing Pyongyang for its second nuclear test last month. The North Korean-flagged ship, Kang Nam 1, is the first to be tracked under the U.N. resolution.
North Korea has in response escalated threats of war, with a slew of harsh rhetoric including warnings that it would unleash a “fire shower of nuclear retaliation” and “wipe out the (U.S.) aggressors” in the event of a conflict.
Let’s get this straight. The Obama administration insists on pursuing the UN path to resolving the dispute with North Korea. It demands — and gets — stronger sanctions to keep North Korea from profiting off of its arms manufacturing, which funds its nuclear program while North Koreans starve. Instead of acting on the resolution, the Obama administration backs away after Kim Jong-Il threatens war over the enforcement of sanctions.
So why did we bother to get the resolution in the first place? If the Obama administration didn’t see that threat coming from miles away, then they are even more clueless than I’d imagined. Instead of Obama looking tough, Kim has shown the world that he can bully the US into retreat at any time. He exposed Obama as a paper tiger.
Kim now knows he can do whatever he wants in the Pacific Rim and suffer no consequences at all. He can sell missiles, proliferate nukes, and the worst that will happen will be the US Navy asking, “Mother, may I?” when it comes to inspections. This, Obama wants us to believe, is “smart power”; in reality, it’s neither. It’s Jimmy Carter-style weakness, and our enemies will derive the obvious lessons from it.
Joe Biden warned that dictators would test Obama early in his presidency to test his mettle. He also warned that Obama’s response would look bad. Biden’s smarter than I thought.