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April 11, 2009

North Korea Is In Trouble Now...Security Council Agrees On A Strongly Worded Letter

In yet another display of Obama's awesomely awesome diplomatic prowess, the UN Security Council has reached an agreement on how to respond to last week's missile launch by North Kora.

The US said it wanted a tough resolution (for what little that's worth) but not even Obama's bowing and scraping tour of Europe could get Russia and China to go for that. All the US and Japan got was a "Presidential Statement".

The US draft that refers simply to a launch, without specifying whether it was of a satellite or a missile, calls on the UN sanctions committee to designate North Korean entities and goods that should be subject to sanctions under UN Security Council Resolution 1718, passed in October 2006 following a North Korean nuclear test.

The sanctions have not been effectively enforced since that time, although UN member states are empowered to do so.

Susan Rice, US ambassador who presented the draft statement on Saturday, said it sent a “strong message to the DPRK that their violation of international law will not be treated with impunity”.

No word on whether or not she said that with a straight face.

I'm sure the North Koreans are quivering in fear of a press release warning them that the sanctions that have been ignored for over 2 years will suddenly be enforced. Obviously this is bullshit since the Security Council couldn't rouse itself to pass another theoretically binding resolution (no, I couldn't keep a straight face while typing that) but punted for the diplomatic equivalent of a blog post.

As John Bolton argued in his book, this kind of action isn't simply a defeat for the US but for the idea that the UN is a viable institution. The people who claim to support it so much are the first to emasculate it through this constant retreat from its supposedly 'binding' resolutions. They do far more damage to their beloved institution than any supposed unilateral cowboy ever did.

Maybe it's just me but I'm starting to get the idea that the UN is a fabulous waste of time and money.

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posted by DrewM. at 09:03 PM

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