With just days to go before a weekend deadline for North Korea to shut down its main nuclear facility, the State Department announces that a stalemate over the release of $25 million in frozen North Korean bank accounts had been cleared.
The U.S. bipartisan delegation, Victor Cha, President Bush's top adviser on North Korea, New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson and Anthony Principi, Bush's former veteran affairs secretary, thus seemed to be successful in the diplomatic field.
The reality seems to be that financial sanctions can be at least as effective as military threats in curbing the spread of nuclear weapons.
North Korea's top nuclear negotiator, Kim Kye Gwan, was informed that North Korea was running out of time to act on the agreement. And Kim responded to Principi that his government would allow U.N. nuclear inspectors into the country as soon as the $25 million is released.
In the grand scheme of international finance, $25 million is small change, but obviously not to the North Koreans. After all, they agreed to take the first steps toward a potential nuclear disarmament in exchange for the $25 million and promises of energy assistance.
Libya also abandoned its nuclear program in the face of financial sanctions and incentives.
In today’s globalized economy, is it too much to hope for financial intervention rather than a military one in Iran?