Stop me if you’ve heard this one before. The North Koreans do something provocative (nuclear test, missile launch, etc.); the world rises as one to soundly and firmly condemn this grave violation of United Nations Security Council (UNSC) resolutions, a demonstration of solidarity that lasts perhaps, if we’re lucky, 24 hours; then the squabbling begins as to how severe the consequences will be. This results in a watered down UNSC resolution with some new (unlikely to be completely enforced) sanctions, an expression of outrage by Pyongyang and then another act of provocation.
To quote my childhood hero, the late New York Yankees catcher Yogi Berra, it’s deja vu all over again.… Seguir leyendo »
One of the main criticisms against Washington’s attempt to sanction Russian President Vladimir Putin for his aggressive actions in Ukraine is that this is driving Russia and China closer together. Such concerns are unfounded, first because the two are already close strategic partners, but more importantly because neither really trusts the other … nor should they.
The truth is, when Russia and China get in bed together, they both sleep with one eye open!
This is not to say that Sino-Russian cooperation has not been significant. Last year Russia’s Gazprom and the China National Petroleum Corporation signed a $400 billion contract to jointly build a gas pipeline.… Seguir leyendo »
Stop me if you’ve heard this one before. North Korea decides, for whatever reason, that it is time to once again challenge the international community by conducting missile and nuclear tests. It announces a “satellite launch” and proceeds, despite international condemnation and warnings of dire consequences, to test its long-range missile capabilities.
The U.N. Security Council (UNSC) then debates the issue, with the United States and South Korea (among others) arguing for tougher sanctions while the Chinese insist on a “prudent” response. Finally a watered-down UNSC statement or resolution is passed, to which North Korea takes great affront, promising in response to conduct another nuclear test (which had been planned all along) and to “punish” any country (but especially South Korea) that dares to enforce UNSC prohibitions.… Seguir leyendo »
North Korea’s new supreme leader Kim Jong Un conducted two missile tests last year. The first, in April, failed. The second, in December, was by all accounts a huge success. But it was not just a test of North Korea’s ability to put an object into space. Kim’s second test was also the first test of the new Chinese leadership.
To date, it would appear that Chairman Xi Jingping has passed Kim’s test with flying colors … at least in North Korea’s eyes. The rest of us are not too sure.
Some, myself included, have argued that we should not have been so quick to judge Kim and his policies by the April 2012 rocket launch or the Feb.… Seguir leyendo »