Leveraging - The Politics of Persuasion

The ongoing international discussions on how best to deal with North Korea have landed on the old strategy of strangulation. While this method is effective it also affords opportunities for world powers to illustrate their commitment of preventing military dictatorships from threatening global communities with nuclear fallout.

President Obama has directed Treasury to begin actions against Hong Kong Electronics, an Iranian-based company (imagine that) believed to be involved in North Korea's missile proliferation networks. This action will effectively seize any company assets discovered in the US. Also key elements of North Korea’s financial sector is being targeted as well. These banks are largely used by Kim Jong Il and his family.

UN sanctions are also targeting the ruling inner circle by prohibiting shipment of all luxury items to NK. US Diplomats are pushing for additional sanctions on private individuals and companies that are suspected of involvement in NK weapons sales.

Certainly the effectiveness of these sanctions will be determined by China’s cooperation. Beijing must certainly be concerned with being tarnished by relations with Pyongyang. "China looks out for itself and is worried about reputational risk," said Michael Green an adviser to President Bush on North Korea.

The revived economic sanctions aimed at strangulating the NK regime will no doubt stimulate the smuggling trade as reported in The Daily NK. Effects are already being felt with prices of goods and services heading higher which “chokes” everyday economic activity on multiple levels. I pity the people...

While this strangulation may not be effective in convincing Pyongyang to rethink nuclear aspirations, it is cheaper than war.


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