Surprise, surprise…North Korea’s tinpot dictator, Kim Jong Il, is sabre-rattling again in a routine which has become old hat:
a) When internal resources begin running low, make random, Yosemite-Sam-like threats about nuclear ambitions or missile tests to neighboring Democratic countries (e.g. South Korea, Japan), and their Western allies (e.g. the U.S.).
b) Continue tantrums until West (e.g. the U.S.) gives you a binkie in the form of food and billions in financial aid.
c) Shut up for 12-16 months.
d) Repeat steps A & B.
There’s a term for what Kim is doing here: extortion.
And no one seems to know how to handle it.
God knows China (Kim’s only ally) won’t do much because if they cut off all foreign aid—which they have been providing for decades—to North Korea the regime will collapse, resulting in millions of starving people storming the Chinese border for help.
Yet why does the West keep Kim in power as well, despite a human rights record rivaling Adolf Hitler's?
In part, America doesn’t want to see the humanitarian crisis described above, but they also don’t want to see Kim—in a desperate bid for fresh income—sell a small part of its enriched uranium cache to a terrorist group like Al Qaeda, which many—including myself—feel that Kim would not hesitate to do if it kept his little empire afloat, with no concern whatsoever of what said uranium may be used for (terrorism). After all, China has his back, so retaliatory nuclear strike or invasion on North Korea would be almost unthinkable.
So that’s the Catch-22 with Kim Jong Il.
You can’t ignore him, but you don’t want to help the little fucker too much either. And yes, the West can wait Kim out until his death—God help us were he overthrown in a military coup--but there’s no telling when that will happen, plus he’s got sons who may (or may not) be as crazy as their father.
As is, the best the West can hope for is for Kim to drop dead as soon as possible, and hope for something better in North Korea/U.S. relations after the dust settles.