The American Interest
Analysis by Walter Russell Mead & Staff
Norks Threaten Nukes, World Snores

Not every autocratic rogue state can threaten the US with a “pre-emptive nuclear attack” and have it laughed off. To make such a threat and incur so little concern from Washington requires a bizarre combination of psychosis, incompetence, and inanity that only North Korea seems to have mastered.

But then again, this latest stunt likely isn’t about the US. North Korea’s behavior is often perplexing, but what’s happening here doesn’t seem particularly complicated: North Korea is undergoing its most serious diplomatic crisis in decades.

The Norks’ lone ally on the planet, China, seems to be seriously reconsidering its policies for the Korean peninsula. After an unprecedented outbreak of anti-Nork protests by Chinese citizens, new President Xi Jinping has publicly questioned the alliance, and the deputy editor of China’s official Communist Party journal has called for a wholesale divorce.

What’s more, the Norks miscalculated the significance of the China-Burma breakup. Pyongyang seems to have thought that with the loss of Burma, the DPRK would be China’s last remaining ally, and could therefore afford to act out and still get aid. Instead, China’s slapped them down: just yesterday, the UN Security Council passed sanctions on North Korea with Chinese support.

The Norks, potentially on the road to losing their main economic patron and lone political ally, are wildly flapping their arms in panic.

If Dennis Rodman were your last best hope for salvation, you’d be panicking too.

[Image courtesy of quickmeme.com]

Published on March 7, 2013 3:10 pm