The countries which fought on the United Nations side of the Korean War are meeting in Vancouver. China, Russia -- and North Korea -- won't be there. The United States is pushing for more sanctions. But, Andrew Coyne writes:
Sanctions . . . will only be as effective as China allows them to be. And while the Chinese have tightened the screws to some degree, they are also likely to oppose any serious attempt to enforce them: for example, by means of “maritime interdiction,” the multinational quasi-blockade that is also up for discussion in Vancouver. North Korea has already denounced the idea as an “act of war,” but China is unlikely to be much happier.
So that leaves accepting the reality of a nuclear North Korea. And what does that mean? It means deterrence:
Surely deterrence can be made to work on the Korean peninsular, as it has these past seven decades in Europe. But to live with a nuclear-armed North Korea is essentially to live with what Hawaii has just endured, in perpetuity. Much effort has been expended to suggest the Kim regime is “rational,” as in non-suicidal. But non-suicidal is not the same as stable, predictable, responsible, prudent or wise. The possibility of error is ever-present. And the consequences of error are catastrophic.
It means, Coyne writes, anti-ballistic missile defence. You thought we were getting rid of nuclear weapons? And Hawaii has just reminded us that, with all those weapons, it's easy to make a mistake.
We are not making progress.
Image: China National News