Will Obama Stop The Flagged North Korean Ship? If So, He Deserves Applause For It

Rarely do I get an opportunity to compliment Barack Obama, but if he actually stops this North Korean ship, he can at least count on a round of applause from me,

The U.S. military is planning to intercept a flagged North Korean ship suspected of proliferating weapons material in violation of a U.N. Security Council resolution passed last Friday, FOX News has learned.

The USS John McCain, a navy destroyer, will intercept the ship Kang Nam as soon as it leaves the vicinity off the coast of China, according to a senior U.S. defense official. The order to inderdict has not been given yet, but the ship is getting into position.

The ship left a port in North Korea Wednesday and appears to be heading toward Singapore, according to a senior U.S. military source. The vessel, which the military has been tracking since its departure, could be carrying weaponry, missile parts or nuclear materials, a violation of U.N. Resolution 1874, which put sanctions in place against Pyongyang.

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…This is the first suspected “proliferator” that the U.S. and its allies have tracked from North Korea since the United Nations authorized the world’s navies to enforce compliance with a variety of U.N. sanctions aimed at punishing North Korea for its recent nuclear test.

The ship is currently along the coast of China and being monitored around-the-clock by air.

The apparent violation raises the question of how the United States and its allies will respond, particularly since the U.N. resolution does not have a lot of teeth to it.

The resolution would not allow the United States to board the ship forcibly. Rather, U.S. military would have to request permission to board — a request North Korea is unlikely to grant.

North Korea has said that any attempt to board its ships would be viewed as an act of war and promised “100- or 1,000-fold” retaliation if provoked.

There are some obvious questions here: how do they know the ship is carrying illicit cargo? Why is this ship named after John McCain? Shouldn’t they have waited until he was dead or at least out of Congress before naming a ship after him? Is Obama going to have the guts to stop the ship? What will North Korea do in retaliation?

However, if we’re going to convince North Korea to get rid of their nuclear weapons, it’s not going to be done by doing a nifty speech about change and hope. It’s going to be done by making life painful for them. Stopping this ship and confiscating any illicit cargo would do that and as an important added bonus, it would keep the NORKS from proliferating weapons.

Furthermore, as I wrote yesterday, if we don’t want to end up being victims of nuclear blackmail, we’re going to have to prove to North Korea that we can’t be intimidated. This would be at least somewhat helpful on that front and even if North Korea starts trouble over it as a result, it’ll be worth it — probably. Even if it’s not, Obama would still be doing the right thing by refusing to let this ship go.

PS: Doesn’t this story just once again reinforce the idea that the United Nations is a joke? The UN forbade North Korea from violating sanctions, but “would not allow the United States to board the ship forcibly.” This is like making bank robbing illegal, but not giving anyone the authority to stop the bank robbers. It’s a joke.

PS #2: Obama hasn’t actually done anything yet — and he may not. If, in the end, Obama for some reason allows this ship to go on without verifying that it’s not carrying illegal cargo, he will be making things worse.

Update #1: Apparently, the ship was named after John McCain’s father and grandfather, not the Maverick we’ve all grown to know and ah….to know.

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