by Scott Creighton
“In many respects, what’s happening is the Obama administration is going back to the hard-line Bush approach to North Korea that Democrats had criticized,” Michael Green, senior Asian affairs official in the George W. Bush administration
Just days after former President Jimmy Carter went to North Korea and secured the release of a U.S. citizen, Aijalon Mahli Gomes (a tremendous success in light of current events and yet “journalists in Washington and Seoul have dubbed the trip a failure at worst or a non-event at best“), President Obama signed an executive order imposing tougher sanctions on the country, supposedly as a response to their now deeply questionable involvement in the sinking of the PCC Cheonan on March 26th of this year. After a U.S. consular delegation visited Gomes a few weeks ago, they returned to report that he was deeply depressed. Three politicians had offered to go and attempt to secure his release at that time; Bill Richardson, John Kerry, and former president Jimmy Carter. All three were offered a chance to go last week and all but Carter refused.
“It was unclear what had determined the timing of the executive order” Reuters, Aug 30, 2010
That’s an understatement. The timing is beyond curious, and it goes to show that there is much more to this Cheonan story than meets the eye, as is usually the case in global politics. Ask yourself; “Why would the “CHANGE” administration punish the North Koreans with harsher sanctions just days after an extremely positive development like this?” and you may not like the answer.
The truth may be that they didn’t want to lose the momentum that has been building since the sinking of the PCC Cheonan offered them the pretext they had been looking for.
You see, they had been planning on imposing these sanctions just prior to the sinking of the Cheonan and Hillary Clinton’s now infamously flawed Joint Investigative Group (JIG) found that North Korea was to blame. All they needed was a pretext and they were determined to make it stick, no matter what it took.
“You never want a serious crisis to go to waste. Things that we had postponed for too long, that were long-term, are now immediate and must be dealt with. This crisis provides the opportunity for us to do things that you could not do before.” White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel, Wall Street Journal
The executive order that President Obama signed on Monday targets several aspects of North Korean international business, arms dealing, counterfeiting, narcotic production, and banking. With the emphasis on their banking. The reported theory behind these new sanctions and asset seizures (that Hillary Clinton announced first back on July 20th 2010) is that it will only target the “elites” of the corrupt North Korean regime and that will cause pressure from within their ranks to force “CHANGE” in leadership.
All of this is based on the pretext of the March 26th 2010 sinking of the Republic of Korea’s naval vessel, the PCC Cheonan. This is the official narrative.
President Barack Obama broadened financial sanctions on North Korea on Monday and froze the U.S. assets of four North Korean citizens and eight firms in part to punish it for the sinking of a South Korean warship.
Obama signed an executive order that lets the United States block the U.S. assets of North Korean entities that trade in conventional arms or luxury products, counterfeit currency or engage in money laundering, drug smuggling or other “illicit” activity that supports the government or its leaders. Reuters, Aug 30, 2010
But again, as is usually the case, the official narrative is incomplete. The real story is a little harder to find, but it goes something like this…