Raising the Standard at UGA since 2013.

The Game of Sanctions

Kim Jong Un makes a statement after the latest round of UN sanctions against his rogue regime.
Image courtesy of KCNA.

On Monday, September 11th, The United Nations voted in favor of imposing the toughest sanctions ever recorded on North Korea. The aim of this fresh round of sanctions is to stunt the funding for North Korea’s nuclear and ballistic missile programs by limiting the amount of oil that can be imported into the nation,  and banning their export of textiles. The story,reported in the Washington Post, mentions that countries can have inspectors check ships that might plausibly be transporting North Korean cargo. This is a part of a concerted effort to reduce black market trading between nations such as Russia and China with the North Koreans. However, the likelihood that the aforementioned nations would even inspect North Korean ships is highly unlikely, because Russia and China have absolutely nothing to lose from halting trade with the North Koreans. Unlike the United States, Kim Jong Un has nothing against his “allies” in China and Russia. Both sides benefit from a continuation of trade, illicit or not,  and no amount of United Nations sanctions will change that.

The most recent ballistic missile test that was conducted over Japan on Friday the 15th, the second one in just three weeks, came mere days after the United Nations announced its newest sanctions against the rogue state. This missile test proves what we should have already known: North Korea will not halt its activities simply because the United Nations and the United States slap them on the wrist with sanctions. While UN Ambassador Nikki Haley claims that the sanctions have cut off North Korea economically, it would appear they are being implemented too little, too late.


At this point, keen observers of global politics should know that the United Nations has absolutely no power to enforce what it implements. For North Korea’s activities to truly stop, the solutions must come from other foes of the regime. Japan, South Korea, the United States, and other regional players must step up to pressure Russia and China into implementing a stoppage of  trade. Whether that includes the President or Congress placing additional sanctions on them, or an international plan with our allies in South Korea and Japan to crack down on smuggling, the solution must come from the governments of powers in the region, not the United Nations.

President Trump’s visit to the United Nations will have accomplished nothing if he and other world leaders do not convene and create a plan of action to stop Kim Jong Un. As is evidenced by 50 years of fruitless negotiations, diplomacy has proven ineffective; the only way it can come back into play is if the international pressure is ratcheted up even further. Perhaps only then will the North Koreans be willing to come to the negotiating table. However, in order to reach that point, the United States, its allies, and nations like Russia and China, have to actively react with some form of force for this situation to be resolved.


Carson Brown is a freshman studying history. He is a first-time contributor to The Arch Conservative. 

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