Trump Announces Tough New Sanctions on North Korea
by Stephen Lendman (stephenlendman.org - Home - Stephen Lendman)
Sanctions by nations against others are flagrantly illegal, the Security Council alone authorized to impose them - what I've explained many times before.
Washington imposes them for political/unjust punitive reasons, pressuring other nations to observe them, risking punishment for refusing.
Sanctions are irresponsible, counterproductive and ineffective, harming ordinary people most.
They consistently fail to change policies of targeted countries, often encouraging them to accelerate what Washington opposes.
During an address on Friday, Trump said "(t)oday I am announcing that we are launching the largest-ever set of new sanctions on" North Korea.
Reportedly 56 DPRK vessels, shipping companies, and trade entities are targeted, along with fuel deliveries to the country, aiming to impose greater economic harshness than already.
Trump's announcement comes near the end of the PyeonChang Winter Olympics on Sunday - during a thaw in Pyongyang/Seoul relations, a summit in North Korea between President Moon Jae-in and Kim Jong-un perhaps coming in the weeks or months ahead - a hopeful sign Washington wants undermined.
America needs enemies to justify its imperial agenda, its military spending and belligerence, its permanent war policy.
Harry Truman's war never ended. An uneasy armistice persists. North Korea is a longstanding convenient punching bag, China Washington's main regional target, an economic and military powerhouse.
Neither country threatens its neighbors or other nations. America's imperial agenda threatens everyone.
Pyongyang fears America for good reason. Most of its country was reduced to smoldering rubble during the 1950s war, millions of its people killed - ruthless US aggression falsely blamed on the DPRK.
Its nuclear and ballistic missile programs, along with other military preparedness, reflect genuine concern over more US aggression.
Its leadership wants peace, not war. Its weapons are solely for defense, not offense. No evidence suggests otherwise.
Moon and Kim both seek improved bilateral relations, Kim saying he hopes to strengthen the "warm climate of reconciliation and dialogue" with Seoul.
Trump's new sanctions aim to impose greater economic hardships on the DPRK, along with wanting warming North/South relations undermined.
A Friday US Treasury Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) announcement said new US sanctions intend applying greater pressure on the DPRK and its trading partners than already.
Nations circumventing them risk punitive US retaliation. New sanctions target one individual, 27 companies and 28 vessels.
Embargoing North Korean shipping by banning its involvement in trade on key commodities like oil amounts to a near-declaration of war - depending on how strictly the sanctions are enforced, especially if a blockade is imposed.
Since at least the 19th century, blockades have been recognized under international law as acts of war.
Dwight Eisenhower, Jack Kennedy, other past US presidents and the Supreme Court called blockades on countries acts of war.
It's unknown if the Trump administration intends going this far - something Russia, China and perhaps other nations will strongly oppose if he crosses this unacceptable red line.
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