Tuesday, April 11, 2017
Dem Balls, Dem Balls, Dem Tin Balls
When you choose to strut across the world stage, make sure that your balls will make a deep and menacing clang and not sound like a couple of tin cans with dried peas inside. Cheeto Mussolini sent a US Navy carrier group to menace North Korea into being nice guys, but everyone knows that without Chinese support, they are just floating around out there burning up tax dollars.
President Trump’s deployment of an aircraft carrier to the waters off the Korean Peninsula has raised tensions across East Asia. But the show of American force conceals a lack of better options for dealing with the provocations of the rogue government in North Korea.China is right next door to North Korea and no more enamored of the crazy little shit Kim Jong Pudge than any one else. But in their eyes, they have the final say whether their little buddy lives or dies and on that point they are quite firm.
China’s president, Xi Jinping, did not make any public commitment to tighten the pressure on North Korea during his meeting in Palm Beach, Fla., last week with President Trump. Even privately, officials said, he was circumspect. And an attack on North Korea carries far greater risk than the missile strike that Mr. Trump ordered last week to punish President Bashar al-Assad of Syria for his deadly chemical weapons attack.
That leaves the White House in a bind on a security issue that Mr. Trump has described as the most pressing of his presidency. Mr. Trump warned before the meeting with Mr. Xi that the United States would act alone against North Korea if China did not join his pressure campaign.
A senior administration official expressed hope that the productive tone of the meeting would eventually lead to further Chinese actions. But Mr. Trump’s missile strike, which came while he and Mr. Xi were having dinner, could play both ways: Administration officials said it would convince the Chinese leader of Mr. Trump’s resolve, while some experts said it would reinforce fears in Beijing that he is erratic and unpredictable.
The White House is likely to pursue so-called secondary sanctions, which target Chinese firms and banks that help North Korea earn foreign currency and finance its weapons programs. The question is whether the Chinese government will cooperate with the effort, and if it does not, whether Mr. Trump will impose the sanctions unilaterally, even at the risk of rupturing the relationship between Washington and Beijing.
On Sunday, Secretary of State Rex W. Tillerson said Mr. Xi agreed with Mr. Trump that “the situation has intensified and has reached a certain level of threat that action has to be taken.” There is also evidence of a tougher line toward North Korea among the Chinese elite, Mr. Bader said, though it has not yet filtered into the government’s policy.
China has taken modest steps to increase the pressure. It agreed with South Korea on Monday to impose tougher sanctions on North Korea if it carries out nuclear or intercontinental ballistic missile tests, a senior South Korean diplomat said. The announcement seemed intended to dissuade North Korea from conducting a test to mark a national holiday this week.
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