The Common DNA of Tyrannies, Pt. 2

Saturday, May 16, 2009
It's as if they all shared the same schooling.
 
From Andrei Lankov's OpEd in the IHT:
 
Pyongyang needs the United States, both as a generous donor and also as a counterweight to China's growing power. Pyongyang's leaders know that to be taken seriously, they should appear dangerous, irrational and unpredictable. So, they are trying hard.

The North's diplomats also know from experience that blackmail usually works. From 2002 to 2006, the Bush administration followed a hard-line approach. In October 2006, the North conducted a nuclear test, and in merely four months, the United States switched to a soft line, restarted negotiations and resumed aid to the North. The decision to return to the engagement was, probably, a wise one, but its timing sent a dangerous signal to the North Koreans. They saw — once again — that their provocations are handsomely rewarded.

Upon learning about the change in U.S. policy, a senior Russian diplomat remarked: "Well, from now on the North Koreans will know what to do when they again run out of money."