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Generational Dynamics Web Log for 22-Sep-2017
22-Sep-17 World View -- Trump's North Korea sanctions stop short of military blockade

Web Log - September, 2017

22-Sep-17 World View -- Trump's North Korea sanctions stop short of military blockade

North Korea threatens a 'Pacific Ocean nuclear test'

by John J. Xenakis

This morning's key headlines from

Trump imposes unilateral financial sanctions on North Korea

Kim Jong-un in a Japanese news broadcast being broadcast on an outdoor video screen in Tokyo. (AP)
Kim Jong-un in a Japanese news broadcast being broadcast on an outdoor video screen in Tokyo. (AP)

President Donald Trump on Thursday issued an executive order imposing a new round of sanctions on North Korea. The new sanctions were approved by the UN Security Council on Monday of last week, and attempt to leverage the power of the US financial system. On the same day, the European Union reached agreement to ban EU investment in North Korea.

To my knowledge, no one seriously believes that these new sanctions will have any major effect on North Korea, any more than previous sanctions have, or that they will motivate the North Koreans to end its nuclear missile development program.

President Trump's sanctions can apply to persons in any country outside of North Korea. The executive order calls for sanctions on persons involved in:

Sanctions may be imposed on any foreign financial institution in any country, if the institution conducts or facilitates trade with North Korea. The White House says that "Foreign financial institutions must choose between doing business with the United States or facilitating trade with North Korea or its designated supporters." Reuters and White House and Reuters

Sanctions fall far short of military blockade first proposed

According to the White House:

"The [Executive Order] directly targets North Korea’s shipping and trade networks and issues a 180-day ban on vessels and aircraft that have visited North Korea from visiting the United States. This ban also targets vessels that have engaged in a ship-to-ship transfer with a vessel that has visited North Korea within 180 days. North Korea is dependent on its shipping networks to facilitate international trade."

Ships and aircraft that have visited or traded with North Korea will be banned from entering the United States for 180 days.

However, this is far short of the kinds of sanctions that Trump had wanted to impose. According to the draft resolution that the US submitted to the Security Council two weeks ago, any U.N. member state would be authorized to inspect North Korean ships suspected of carrying banned cargo and to use "all necessary measures to carry out such inspections."

The banned cargo would include any "crude oil, condensates, refined petroleum products, and natural gas liquids," as well as textiles. The draft resolution called for an end to the hiring of North Korean nationals, which provide North Korea with hard currency.

This would be an effective trade blockade on North Korea. Although any nation would be authorized to carry out the forced inspections, as a practical matter it's expected that only the US would actually do so. If a North Korean ship resisted the inspection, then there might be an exchange of fire that might escalate into war, putting Seoul, South Korea, into great risk.

It was those fears of escalation that caused Russia and China to threaten to veto the resolution. In order to overcome the objections, the US agreed to water down the resolution to the point where it will have no effect at all on the North Korean regime.

Earlier this week, Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis was asked whether there were any military options the United States could take with North Korea that would not put Seoul at grave risk. Mattis said: “Yes there are. But I will not go into details.”

Guardian (London, 11-Sep) and Bloomberg (13-Sep) and Reuters (18-Sep) and Washington Examiner

North Korea threatens a 'Pacific Ocean nuclear test'

In a statement a couple of days ago, North Korea's child dictator Kim Jong-un threatened the "highest level of hard-line countermeasure in history" against the United States.

North Korea's Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho was asked on Thursday what that meant, and he said,

"It could be the most powerful detonation of an H-bomb in the Pacific. We have no idea about what actions could be taken as it will be ordered by leader Kim Jong-un."

This action, if taken, would be just as much an escalation towards war that the proposed military blockade of North Korea would be. The hydrogen explosion would threaten shipping and planes flying overhead, and would release a great deal of radiation and cause environmental damage.

So the United States and West have two possible paths forward -- a "peaceful" diplomatic approach (sanctions), amounting to appeasement, and a confrontational approach (blockade). The appeasement could trigger war from the North Korean side, while the blockade could trigger war from the American side.

Either action leads to the same outcome. For almost 15 years, I've been writing Generational Dynamics analyses that predict that the world is headed for World War III, pitting the US, the West, India, Russia and Iran versus China, Pakistan and the Sunni Muslim countries.

The World War could be predicted, but the timing and the exact scenario leading to that war could not be predicted. But now we seem to be rushing toward war over North Korea, and neither Russia nor China seem willing to take steps to prevent it.

As an additional note, there is a report that Steve Bannon had a secret meeting with a senior Chinese Communist Party official in Beijing last week. Bannon is an expert on world history, and is also an expert on Generational Dynamics. He was recently ousted from the White House as Donald Trump's chief strategy, but according to reports, he still has the president's ear. Bannon fully understands that the world is headed for a world war. Perhaps he hopes that by meeting with the Chinese, he can find a way to prevent it, although Generational Dynamics says that it can't be prevented. Yonhap (South Korea) and Sky News (Australia) and Washington Examiner

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(Comments: For reader comments, questions and discussion, see the 22-Sep-17 World View -- Trump's North Korea sanctions stop short of military blockade thread of the Generational Dynamics forum. Comments may be posted anonymously.) (22-Sep-2017) Permanent Link
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