2007 04 08
North Korea arms Ethiopians as U.S. assents
That’s the big news today. It isn’t that the U.S. (appears to have) actively helped Ethiopia get spare arms parts from the North Koreans; just that it allowed a transaction to go through at a time when it was useful for the U.S. to be able to help Ethiopia out with Somalia.
For this to make sense, you would need to believe that the success of Ethiopia’s Somalia project is more valuable than:
a) imposing an actual embargo on North Korea;
b) retaining U.S. credibility on the issue of nuclear proliferation in general;
c) building support for U.S. policies with respect to North Korea.
U.S. support for Ethiopia’s actions in Somalia didn’t make sense to me before I learned that the Bush administration was willing to engage in this kind policy trade-off. But even if there were good reasons to back Ethiopia, it’s hard to believe it could be worth this price. I just don’t understand why the Bush administration would put so much energy into a Security Council resolution and then undermine it three months later while at the same time acting very huffy about the prospect of anyone else undermining the same resolution. It’s just bizarre and irrational.