Way back when Ronald Reagan was president, the USA’s nemesis was a nation that no longer exists: the Soviet Union. Reagan had a novel idea about how to bring the superpower to its knees. He set about bankrupting them. How this was done was a combination of flooding the commodities market with crude oil, one of Russia’s main exports, and lowering the price in conjunction with currency trading that eventually devalued the Ruble and tough economic sanctions. According to former Reagan staffer KT McFarland, this was devastating to that nation. Behind the scenes, the Soviets were on their knees to the US to ease the pain. They were broke, and, as a result, broken.
It was, in effect, a bloodless victory.
35 years give or take later, the Trump Administration took the same tack with North Korea, the little Asian nation that thinks it can compete with the big boys. It’s barely been a year since the sanctions that include many other nations of the world have been in place, and North Korea is steadily going broke according to one South Korean official.
“If international sanctions against the North continue like this, all of North Korea’s foreign currency earnings and overseas assets will be frozen, and its dollar (reserves) will dry up around October,” South Korean lawmaker Rep. Kang Seok-ho, member of the conservative Liberty Korea Party and chairman of the parliamentary intelligence committee, revealed Wednesday, pulling from an unspecified analysis put together after discussions with intelligence officials, according to Yonhap News Agency.
“Our government should further strengthen cooperation with the international community on sanctions against the North,” Kang added, asserting that North Korea’s sudden willingness to engage the South is an attempt by Pyongyang to relieve the pressure and escape economic hardship.
North Korea has become increasingly reliant on international trade in recent years, making sanctions potentially more effective at destabilizing the North’s fragile economic system, which functions as a command economy propped up by illicit market activities that survive on bribes and corruption.
“Pyongyang is estimated to have about $3 billion in foreign exchange reserves,” Kim Byung-yeon, a professor of economics at Seoul National University, wrote in a recent article for the Korea JoongAng Daily . “The coffers will fall further this year. By the second half, North Korea could be short on foreign exchange.”
And yet another sanctions success story, not that it will be reported as such. Oh, no, according to the mainstream media, sanctions don’t work.