July 8, 2017


On North Korea, Trump's on the Right Track (Bret Stephens JULY 7, 2017, NY Times)

The right answer is that we want the Kim regime out of North Korea. It isn't the nukes that ought mainly to worry us. It's the hands that hold them.

Critics of a regime-change strategy note that the only way it could be brought about -- short of war, coup or uprising -- is with China's acquiescence. Beijing could end the flow of diesel and gas to Pyongyang, invite Kim for a parley, and permanently ensconce him in the guesthouse that once housed Cambodia's deposed Prince Sihanouk. Instead, Beijing prefers to maintain the North as a buffer state, a diplomatic bargaining chip and a tool for indirectly threatening the United States.

Until recently, Beijing paid no price for this behavior. It went along with ineffectual United Nations sanctions but enforced them lackadaisically, if at all. That started to change only last year, when the Obama administration charged four Chinese individuals and a Chinese company with laundering funds for the North.

The good news is that the Trump administration has picked up the theme with a new round of sanctions on Chinese entities. It shouldn't stop there. As Anthony Ruggiero of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies notes, the goal should be to push Chinese banks and businesses to make a fundamental choice between trading with Pyongyang and having access to dollars. The market will reach its own verdict. Last month's billion-dollar United States arms sale to Taiwan, along with United States Navy challenges to Chinese maritime claims in the South China Sea, should also send the message that the administration will exact a price on Beijing for ignoring American security interests.

In other words -- gasp! -- the administration's on the right track. 

Actually, war is the right track, not least because it will destabilize the PRC too.  Happily, the regime is so paranoid that it has minimized the potential for collateral damage in Pyongyang itself. Only loyalists are allowed.
Posted by at July 8, 2017 6:46 AM