Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) was discussing the latest conflict between North and South Korea on CNN’s State of the Union today, when he returned to the neo-con siren song of regime change, “I think it’s time we — yes. I think it’s time we talked about regime change in North Korea, and I do not mean military action.” Of course, McCain really means military action. How else could the most isolated regime in the world be removed?
Here is the video via CNN:
McCain urged China to impose sanctions on N. Korea, “So could I just finally say, the key to this, obviously, is China. And unfortunately China is not behaving as a responsible world power. It cannot be in China’s long-term interest to see a renewed conflict on the Korean Peninsula. We’ve got to understand that China is not what we want it to be, but is not playing a responsible role on the world stage, much less in — on the Korean Peninsula. They could bring the North Korean economy to its knees if they wanted to. And I cannot believe that the Chinese should, in a mature fashion, not find it in their interest to restrain North Korea. So far, they are not.”
McCain then called for a non-military regime change in N. Korea by making the case for military action in North Korea , “I think it’s time we — yes. I think it’s time we talked about regime change in North Korea, and I do not mean military action, but I do believe that this is a very unstable regime. They’re now passing on to — from the “dear leader” to what we call him the “sweet leader,” whatever it is, 27-year-old four-star general. So, but, and we can, we can have a peaceful resolution to this issue. But the North Korean regime is not one that’s going to abandon the nuclear power status. They are now seeking recognition from us that they are a nuclear nation. That’s not in our interests.”
From McCain’s comments, let’s try to piece together his strategy. McCain is calling for regime change in North Korea, but he wants to do it, without military action, so his solution is to pressure China to place heavy economic sanctions on the country which would bring the regime to its knees, and thus result regime change. The sanctions model has been used with N. Korea as it relates to their nuclear program, but thus far, sanctions have not proven to be an effective inducement for regime change. If anything, sanctions often serve to strengthen the stronghold of a regime on its people. For example the sanctions against Iraq were a disaster for the Iraqi people, but they also helped to keep Saddam Hussein in power.
McCain’s vision of sanctions being powerful enough to cause the regime in North Korea to crumble is a cross between a pipe dream and a fantasy, and he knows it. What McCain was really advocating for today was military action. North Korea has been sanctioned, isolated, and starved for years, but the regime is still in power.
During the Bush years, the neo-con hard line position on North Korea made the regime more dangerous, and now McCain is suggesting that we take the neo-con dream a step further with regime change. McCain can try to change the definition, but we all know what Republicans mean by regime change, and the American people should be happy every single day that John McCain, the fanatical warmonger is not occupying the Oval Office.