June 28, 2009

Mother, May I?

Hatched by Dafydd

Yesterday, we learned that President Barack H. Obama will not "forcibly inspect" the North Korean ship that we suspect is carrying nuclear technology to Burma, which some people call Myanmar:

An American destroyer has been shadowing the North Korean freighter sailing off China's coast, possibly on its way to Myanmar.

Undersecretary of Defense Michele Flournoy met with South Korean officials in Seoul on Friday as the U.S. sought international support for aggressively enforcing a U.N. sanctions resolution aimed at punishing Pyongyang for its second nuclear test last month. The North Korean-flagged ship, Kang Nam 1, is the first to be tracked under the U.N. resolution.

Naturally, North Korea calls the allegation that they are trying to build a nuclear arsenal a slanderous lie. In completely unrelated news, they have threatened to launch a nuclear strike against the United States if we attempt to board the ship without the permission of North Korea's hereditary king, Kim Jong-Il:

North Korea has in response escalated threats of war, with a slew of harsh rhetoric including warnings that it would unleash a "fire shower of nuclear retaliation" and "wipe out the [U.S.] aggressors" in the event of a conflict.

Undersecretary of Defense Michele Flournoy explains why we can only inspect the ship if the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, suspected of smuggling nuclear materials, gives us permission to board the ship and search for smuggled nuclear materials:

"The U.N. resolution lays out a regime that has a very clear set of steps," Ms. Flournoy said, according to the Yonhap news agency. "I want to be very clear. ... This is not a resolution that sponsors, that authorizes use of force for interdiction." [Well that's certainly useful!]

Ms. Flournoy said the U.S. still has "incentives and disincentives that will get North Korea to change course."

Aha. That certainly closes that case. Barring using any of our vastly superior military muscle, we can still, she notes, use "incentives," such as bribery, and "disincentives": very strong language, followed by very strong language; and if necessary, downright caustic and scornful language -- with perhaps a finger-wag, if the Secretary of State gets involved (her spouse can explain to her the ins and outs of one-digit diplomacy).

Rough language -- fierce -- imperious! I often find that the Obama administration reminds me of one of my favorite poets:

Speak roughly to your little boy,
And beat him when he sneezes:
He only does it to annoy,
Because he knows it teases.

I speak severely to my boy,
I beat him when he sneezes;
For he can thoroughly enjoy
The pepper when he pleases!

So now we know that we can only interdict Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty scoffers -- the DPRK is not actually a signatory, so technically it cannot be a "violator" -- if they graciously allow us to do. Thus I think I more clearly understand the Obamic stance on the upcoming missile launch by North Korea against Hawaii: Secretary of Defense Robert Gates is absolutely correct that we can shoot that missile down... but we only may blow it out of the sky if we first ask permission of King Jong-Il.

Hatched by Dafydd on this day, June 28, 2009, at the time of 10:01 PM

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