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What in the World Wednesday: North Korea Sanctions

Global Issue: North Korea Sanctions

Given the heightened missile-testing activity of North Korea in recent years, especially this year, the U.S. and the UN have increased their sanctions against the country. The sanctions are intended as punitive measures against North Korea after its repeated nuclear and missile tests. The hope is that the sanctions interfere with the North Korean economy, while also remaining peaceful and diplomatic, and force Kim Jong-Un to the negotiating table.

Cold, hard facts: What are sanctions? What are they intended to do? Why are we using them?

• Sanctions are restrictions on trade, effectively banning sanctioned parties from doing trade with certain partners

• The sanctions are intended to disrupt Kim Jong-Un’s revenue stream and narrow his regime’s ability to do business around the world

• The increase in missile testing from North Korea has prompted new rounds of sanctions from the UN and the U.S.

• The regime in North Korea has declared President Trump’s remarks about Kim Jong-Un a declaration of war, while Trump has maintained his desire to avoid military conflict if possible, however reiterating that a military option from the U.S. would be “devastating” for North Korea

• The sanctions are a means to push North Korea back to the negotiating table without escalating to war

Some people say…They don’t work. Read this article that explains why economic sactions aren’t the solution:

Tl;dr: Two theories exist for why sanctions do not work. The first is that they are not strict enough and have not hit the country hard enough to convince the regime in power that steering away from belligerence is in its best interest, especially when major trade partners for North Korea like China and Russia are hesitant to sign on to the sanctions. The second theory is that the leadership simply does not care about sanctions. If this is the case, sanctions will continue to fail. The leaders in power will never give up their nuclear program because they see it as their insurance for staying in power.

Others say… Sanctions will work! Check out the reasoning behind this idea:

Tl;dr: These sanctions have the potential to work because they will restrict North Korea’s economy so severely it will have no choice but to give in. It is also important to get China and Russia to sign on to make North Korea truly feel the pain of the heightened sanctions. Sanctions are a safer measure than threats of war that could lead to escalation.

So, what do you think? Do sanctions work? Or are they a waste of time?

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