US government officials and commentators were excited to announce this week that UN Security Council had unanimously agreed to impose new sanctions against North Korea, further limiting the country’s already anemic foreign exports.*
The move comes amid months of escalating tensions between the US and North Korean governments. During this period, the US has heightened rhetoric and added new sanctions to deter North Korea from testing missiles and further developing the nuclear weapons capabilities. North Korea, for its part, has continued testing its long-range missiles and developing nuclear weapons.
To amateur observers, this combination of events would almost appear to suggest that the US approach attempted thus far has been ineffective or even counterproductive.
However, policy experts in Washington, DC and elsewhere, who can look beneath the surface, know that the problem is rather different: the US has simply not increased pressure enough.
That’s why experts from both sides of political spectrum were quick to praise President Trump after his team successfully advocated for the new UN sanctions and received unanimous 15-0 approval from the UN Security Council.
For instance, the former US Ambassador to Russia under President Obama, Michael McFaul congratulated Trump on Twitter and wrote: “This vote is a genuine foreign policy accomplishment.”
Agreeing with McFaul, conservative commentator Joe Scarborough remarked that President Trump has a “pretty damn strong foreign policy team” after the vote.
The new sanctions were described as the most severe punishment ever leveled against North Korea; they are estimated to result in a 33% cut in the country’s exports. The move is expected to hit the population especially hard when it comes to food consumption as the country’s two leading domestic products are propaganda and stylish brown military jumpsuits, neither of which are thought to be edible.
US Ambassador to the UN said that the new sanctions were the right approach and proved that the US was serious about addressing the problem. She also added that there was “less than a 95% chance that the sanctions would catastrophically backfire.” In previous cases, embattled leaders used external sanctions from the US as a scapegoat to explain away domestic problems and strengthen their hold on power.
In response to questions from reporters, Haley reluctantly acknowledged the past failures of sanctions to produce the desired change in behavior in the targeted regimes, in Cuba, Iraq, and elsewhere. However, she also referred to the well-known Gambler’s Axiom, arguing that at this point “sanctions are due for a win.”
“Besides, everyone knows that people make their best decisions when they are backed into a corner with nothing to lose,” Haley continued. “That’s what we’re trying to do here.”
*Though inspired by true events, this is a satirical post. The sanctions policy is as described, and the quotes from Scarborough and McFaul are actually 100% real. However, the quotations attributed to Haley are fictional in nature. In reality, we can be confident assuming her thoughts on the matter are considerably worse.