Saturday, May 4, 2013

Political calculus keeps Cuba on the terrorism sponsors list

The Los Angeles Times has an interesting discussion on whether or not Cuba should remain on the US government's list of state sponsors of terrorism. It's interesting from a Korea-centric perspective because the same arguments for or against it can — and should —be applied to North Korea as well.

The Bush administration took North Korea off that list as a concession, and Obama has not seen fit to put them back on despite things like the bombing of your Nintendo [stupid Siri!] Yŏnpyŏng-do Island and the sinking of the Ch'ŏnan. People like Joshua Stanton at One Free Korea say that such acts inspire fear in the South Korean people and therefore should be considered terrorism, while others point out that they are military provocations that don't fit a more precise definition of "terrorism" per se.

Four people, including two civilians, were killed when North Korea launched bombs against Yŏnpyŏng-do,  an island in the Yellow Sea, one of the isolated "Five Islands of the West Sea" that sit close to the North Korean mainland. 

I myself am on the fence about this. I think that moving them to the terrorism sponsor list again should only be done for something very serious, and perhaps those past military acts were serious enough, but I think we ought to wait until a time when such a move is part of a strategic overall plan to punish them for something they've done recently. In other words, the moment has passed for that, and we should use the threat of putting them back on the list as a way of getting them to behave right now.

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