10 June 2009

UN Sanctions on North Korea...

This is a Claytons post, the post you make when you're not really making a post. To understand the first sentence you will need to be of a similar age to me and have lived in the 1980s and probably in Australia to understand the Claytons reference, but just in case you can find out here. Besides it is time I produced something that was not about Manohara.

It seems that the UN has decided to up the ante on North Korea and expand the sanctions that are imposed on North Korea as response to a nuclear test last month.

There is no doubt that Kim Jong-il is a dictator and there is little doubt that he is responsible for starving his people. However, sanctions are only likely to further exacerbate the suffering of ordinary North Koreans and those less able to cope with further restrictions in the form of broader sanctions. My guess is that Kim and his family won't suffer because of the imposition of further sanctions.

Sanctions did not work in Iraq in terms of toppling another dictator, Saddam Hussein. Sanctions only saw greater suffering endured by the little people. This suffering was so bad that the UN was forced into a food for oil program to try and offset the harm the sanctions were doing to those Iraqis least able to cope.

I wonder is it possible to make an argument that UN sanctions are tantamount to a crime against humanity or a pre-cursor to genocide even though the actions of the UN are sanctioned by the members of that organization?

Just a thought!


GJ said...


I think that sanctions were designed as a punishment, hoping that the pain that was inflicted on the general population would become too much. Thus stirring up dissent against their leaders and finally an overthrow by the people. Sadly it's just a pipe dream. Poor buggers just get poorer!!! which means that they ultimately have less options.
What should be done?

Rob Baiton said...


Yep, they are designed in essence to force change.

However, if we were to use the Iraq sanctions as an example. They were authorized by the UN and as such legal under the prevailing international legal regime. In essence, lawful.

Nevertheless, the results were devastating to ordinary civilians. There are enough reports floating around that state thousands of children died as a direct result of sanctions.

Thus, my question; just because something is lawful does it mean that it is not a crime against humanity or genocide?

What should be done? I guess this is what I am asking in a more indirect manner. I accept that appeasing an individual like Saddam Hussein or Kim Jong-il is not going to get the desired result either.

This is the reason that international law is often considered to be warm and fuzzy as it is dependent on States to ensure and effect enforcement. History shows us that State get it wrong.

Anonymous said...

Awesome pictures on this!!

Rob Baiton said...


I am not sure what these links might have to do with a post on North Korea. Particularly as the site seems to be based in Holland and something to do with photos.

Are these malicious?