Putin Heaps Praise on Kim Jong-un, So Why Did He Vote in UN Sanctions on North Korea?

Moscow blames the Korean crisis on the US, yet still helps its pigheaded assault on the North

Putin says North Koreans can’t possibly be expected to lay down their weapons while US refuses to talk and normalize relations, sanctions them anyway

Last week Russian president heaped praise on Kim Jong-un explaining that the “shrewd and mature” North Korean leader has so far outmaneuvered America’s Trump:

I think that Kim Jong Un has obviously won this round. He has achieved his strategic goal. He has a nuclear warhead, and now he also has a missile with a global range of up to 13,000 kilometres, which can reach almost any part of the globe, at least in the territory of his potential adversary. And now he wants to clear up, smooth over or calm down the situation. He is a shrewd and mature politician.

“However, we should be realistic, and… act extremely carefully. If we want to achieve the difficult goal of denuclearizing the Korean Peninsula, we should do this through dialogue and talks… we can accomplish this mission if all parties, including North Koreans, become convinced that their security can be also guaranteed without nuclear weapons.

The often invaluable M. K. Bhadrakumar has a piece explaining the praise is meant as a message for Trump to realize he is being less reasonable than Kim. However, last month Moscow helped vote in crippling UN sanctions against North Korea. If Putin wanted to send a message to Trump, would it not have been far more effective to just block the US-proposed expanded sanctions, on the account that US has been engaging in provocations as well?

The sanctions severely limit oil imports and ban virtually all exports, which turns the country into an economic welfare case wholly dependent on Chinese subsidies for as long as the US, which holds veto power in the UN, wants the sanctions maintained. — Which given the absurd levels of hostility against the North in the imperial capital is likely to be for a very long time, possibly for as long as the UN and the American empire exist.

Russia collaborated with the US on this albeit Putin has repeatedly said that no amount of sanctions is ever going to force North Korea to unilaterally cast away its nuclear weapons. In the passage cited above Putin again spells out that the crisis can only be resolved if the parties sit down and North Korea receives security guarantees, both of which the US (but not Pyongyang) categorically refuses.

Putin then recognizes the US is the main obstacle to resolving the crisis, yet he collaborates with it in passing punitive measures against North Korea — the more reasonable of the two parties in dispute. How does this make any sense?

Since the 1990s the North Korean strategy has been to embark on the path of building nuclear weapons and delivery systems of the type that the US, Russia and China have — not as a goal in of itself, but to force the US to finally have to deal with Pyongyang and agree to and end hostilities, in return for some kind of disarmament or weapons limitation on the North Korean side.

If today North Korea looks instead to be on the way to become a de facto fully fledged member of the nuclear club instead — an outcome that Russia and China can not be ecstatic about — this is only because of the pigheadedness of the US, which is only encouraged when China and Russia accommodate it.

You don’t want the Americans to keep making the situation on the Korean Peninsula worse? Well then stop enabling them.

Unfortunately Russia keeps doing the opposite. Gorbachev signed onto the US invasion of Iraq in 1990, Yeltsin passed UN sanctions against Yugoslavia in the 1990s, Medvedev greenlighted NATO intervention in Libya in 2011, and Putin voted in UN sanctions against Iran in 2006 and now against North Korea.

Official Moscow then has the unfortunate habit of collaborating with the American empire against “rogue states” not under the boot of Washington, DC. It is itself then repaid by the US with nothing but enmity and contempt yet it stubbornly refuses to learn the obvious lesson.