UN wimps out, declines to ban exports of oil to North Korea

Headshot image of Dan Calabrese
Published by: Dan Calabrese on Tuesday September 12th, 2017

But Hans Blix will deliver to you a very sternly worded letter!

You already knew the United Nations was worthless, but you can never know enough about why. We've reached an age when a lot of people think distrust of multinational organizations like the UN amounts to "white nationalism" or something. That's what they think is behind Brexit. If Brits want their own country to determine its own destiny, it must be because they don't like brown people, I guess.

In actual fact, multinational organizations are almost completely incapable of taking effective action to solve a problem, because there is always someone around who doesn't want the problem solved and has veto power. Nowhere is this more true than the United Nations, which actually had a chance yesterday to deal a serious blow to the viability of the murderous Kim regime in North Korea.

And in true UN fashion, it blew it. Oh there will be sanctions, but the one thing that could have completely crippled the Kim regime - a ban on the export of oil to North Korea - was simply too much for the freak show at Turtle Bay to get behind:

Though the United States had proposed a complete ban, the sanctions by the U.N. Security Council to punish North Korea for its sixth nuclear test cap Pyongyang's annual imports of crude oil at the same level they have been for the past 12 months: an estimated 4 million barrels. Exports of North Korean textiles are prohibited, and other nations are barred from authorizing new work permits for North Korean workers, putting a squeeze on two key sources of hard currency.

The measures were approved unanimously Monday.

The measures to punish Pyongyang for its Sept. 3 nuclear test also ban the country from importing natural gas liquids and condensates, and limit the import of refined petroleum products to 2 million barrels a year.

That could be a significant restriction.

According to Chinese customs data, North Korea imports nearly 2.2 million barrels a year in petroleum products, but some U.S. officials believe the true number is much higher: about 4.5 million barrels. So the 2 million barrel cap could be cutting existing imports 10 percent, or slashing them by more than half.

But how much impact the oil and fuel component of the sanctions will actually have - even if strictly enforced, which is always a concern - is an open question.

David von Hippel, an energy expert with the Nautilus Institute think tank who has done extensive research on North Korea, said he doubts that oil sanctions will hit the regime very hard.

"The textile sanctions actually might have more impact, as they are probably a good source of value-added income - value added by people you don't have to pay much - for the regime," he said. "But I'm not sure that they will really have much effect on the nuclear weapons and missile programs, given the priority that those initiatives must have for the DPRK leadership."

Note the passage I put in bold in the excerpt. Not only did they not impose a total ban, but UN sanctions are notorious for not really being enforced. The chance of this really weakening the Kim regime to the point where Bowl Cut Jr. could lose control of the country is extremely slim, and that's the only outcome that makes a difference here.

Let's say for the sake of argument that North Korea can really import only 2 million barrels of oil now, whereas before it could import 4.5 million. If Bowl Cut Jr. has to choose between the needs of the poeple and the needs of the military, what do you think he's going to do?

GDP growth for Obama's final year? A measly 1.6 percent

The UN isn't serious about stopping him from getting nuclear weapons. They just waant to be able to check the "we imposed sanctions" box so it looks like they're relevant in any capacity whatsoever. They're not. If anything, they're an impediment to solving the problem precisely because they insist that any serious action go through them, and then their twisted process makes it virtually impossible to take said action. If the Russians and the Chinese don't veto a measure entirely, they'll water it down to the point where it's meaningless. And then whatever does pass won't be enforced anyway.

But they'll pass those resolutions declaring Israel guilty of racism!

If someone wants to make a serious case for why we're still part of this travesty, go ahead and give it a shot, but please be warned: "We have to work from within the try to make it better" is not likely to be a very persuasive argument.

Dan's new novel, BACKSTOP, is a story of spiritual warfare and baseball. Download it from Amazon here!