Tensions With North Korea Increase

By Alan Stewart Carl | Related entries in North Korea, United Nations, United States

North Korea seems very insistent on testing President Obama. Apparently, the U.S. government is tracking a North Korean freighter suspected of carrying illicit arms.

Government officials say they will act within the bounds of a recent UN Security Council resolution which permits international navies to request the inspection of North Korean cargo vessels but does not give them the right to board. If the North Korean ship docks in a foreign port, the local authorities have broadened inspection rights.

North Korea has said any attempt to board a North Korean vessel would be considered an act of war. This threat likely explains Secretary of Defense Robert Gates’ order to increase Hawaii’s defenses against a possible incoming long-range missile.

Gates’ order is almost certainly done out of an abundance of caution and not because the U.S. is planning to take action against the North Korean vessel. However, North Korea is not known as a rational actor and there is very real reason to worry even a small provocation could escalate quickly.

I’m not sure what North Korea’s endgame is, but the nation’s recent actions have been more than a little alarming. Hopefully things will simmer down. The world has enough to worry about already.

This entry was posted on Thursday, June 18th, 2009 and is filed under North Korea, United Nations, United States. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

9 Responses to “Tensions With North Korea Increase”

  1. michael reynolds Says:

    I’m not sure they know what their endgame is.

    What bothers me is the emotional state of Kim Jong Il. He’s in effect the king of NK. He has three possible male heirs. One he thinks is a flake. One he thinks is a wuss. So he’s settled on his youngest as his heir.

    This is an inherently unstable situation. Take it out of NK and put it in Elizabethan England. The king is passing over two heirs in favor of the youngest? I’m seeing daggers unsheathed in the night.

    Is Kim a mad Lear raging against his ungrateful, inadequate children? Will he bring it all down with him? I haven’t thought Kim was actually deranged — he was playing the cards he had about as well as they could be played. But when the king comes face to face with his failure as a father, when he sees that his dream of dynasty may be in peril, that worries me.

  2. Try Peace Says:

    Make anyman starved for 3 days and if he doesn’t turn criminal then he’s either dead or GOD who doesn’t need to eat.

    This is getting ridiculous. Why US can’t take the peace route for change. No matter who’s in the power, we can’t

    seem to find peace. Before Bush call them “Axis of Evil” for Iran and North Korea, I believe KimJungIL was looking

    for economic means for his people following China’s economic model; thismade the free trade zone in North Korea come


    Why not try peace? Let’s remove all the restrictions to North Korea and see if North Korea still willing to risk

    everything by going Nuclear. Unless Obama is trying to save US Auto industry by creating war to destroy Korea and

    Japan, we should leave them alone; talk about Killing the Competition. I din’t vote for Obama to continue this un-

    peaceful resolution; I thought we’ll be in different situation then that ignorant B*sh&D*ck fu*king up US.

    If we continue to push the poor and dying of hunger by millions due to all the blockade that’s been put on the North

    Korea, they will make a choice. Either dying by hunger and cold or throw everything they got before getting

    destroyed; no one knows what this would limit to. In Korea, there’s proverb, “If you step on a worm then it will


  3. Chris Says:

    From what I’ve read he seems pretty deranged dude. I think a war would be disasterous for SK, they would bear the brunt of the attacks from the North. But even with their missiles, war with the NK would be a pretty sorry sight.

  4. kranky kritter Says:

    Try peace? Try getting your meds checked.

  5. kranky kritter Says:

    Just tossing this out, at the risk of being told to get MY meds checked. Suppose NK tested a missile, and suppose, what the heck, we shot it down. Because we could.

    Would that be like the end of the effing world? One salutary effect it would have would be to send a message to all the not ready for prime time players.

  6. ExiledIndependent Says:

    Try Peace? That reads like many North Korean press releases in terms of the grasp of English. I wonder if the people of North Korea understand that if they had a government that wasn’t devastating its own people and threatening the rest of the world, then there wouldn’t be blockades and embargoes.

    However, your point of view is distinctly North Korean and for several presidencies now we’ve bought into it–give us stuff first and then we’ll change for the better. But, sadly, North Korea has never demonstrated that concessions bring about positive change. From a Western perspective (and I understand I don’t speak for everyone), that is backwards thinking. However, given Obama’s view on entitlements at home, he may actually be receptive to this sort of strategy.

  7. michael reynolds Says:


    I think part of the problem might be that we are a long way from having a reliable capability to shoot down a ballistic missile. We could try. But if we failed – pretty likely — we’d look like idiots.

  8. Booker Rising Says:

    Tensions With North Korea Increase…

    Alan Stewart Carl, a moderate blogger, writes: “North Korea seems very insistent on testing President Obama. Apparently, the U.S. government is tracking a North Korean freighter suspected of carrying illicit arms. Government officials say they will a….

  9. Donklephant » Blog Archive » Navy Destroyer To Intercept North Korean Ship? Says:

    […] Alan wrote yesterday about things heating up with North Korea, and nownuclear tensions are growing on the high seas… The U.S. military is preparing for a possible intercept of a North Korean flagged ship suspected of proliferating weapons material in violation of a U.N. Security Council resolution passed last Friday, FOX News has learned. […]

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