28 May 2009

Clinton on North Korea: "There are consequences to such actions"

When I first saw this this statement on the news, it fascinated me enough to want to hear it again. So I looked it up on YouTube, dug out the verbatim transcript from the US State Department's website and am still working on it.

What baffled me the first time round was that 'sounded' as though she was saying something very important, but I was left wondering what it all meant. This is why I'm going to have a look at it in more detail to see if I can put a more precise finger on what made it seem so vague and uncertain the first time I heard it (and the first time is, of course, the last and only time that most normal members of the viewing public get to see of it).

In the meantime, it would be interesting to see what others made of it. Then, once I've had a bit more time to look at it a bit more closely, I'll post whatever I come up with in due course

MRS CLINTON: North Korea has made a choice.

It has chosen to violate the specific language of the UN Security Council Resolution 1718.

It has ignored the international community.

It has abrogated the obligations it entered into through the Six-Party Talks.

And it continues to act in a provocative and belligerent manner toward its neighbors.

There are consequences to such actions.

In the United Nations, as we speak, discussions are going on to add to the consequences that North Korea will face coming out of the latest behavior, with the intent to try to rein in the North Koreans and get them back into a framework where they are once again fulfilling their obligations and moving toward denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.

But they have chosen the path they’re on, and I’m very pleased that we have a unified international community, including China and Russia, in setting forth a very specific condemnation of North Korea and then working with us for a firm resolution going forward.

I want to underscore the commitments that the United States has and intends always to honor for the defense of South Korea and Japan.

That is part of our alliance obligation, which we take very seriously.

So we hope that there will be an opportunity for North Korea to come back into a framework of discussion within the Six-Party process, and that we can begin once again to see results from working with the North Koreans toward denuclearization that will benefit, we believe, the people` of North Korea, the region, and the world.


Anonymous said...


I think it's supposed to be vague while having overtones. One of the first rules of empire is, "don't pick a fight with anyone who can fight back."

I think she meant to sound harsh and manacing while not actually knowing what the hell America would do if North Korea stuck two fingers up at her. I think it was very telling that she specified China and Russia in the hope that the combined military threat will reign North Korea in.

Rowan Manahan said...

I read the words, as transcribed in the post, first; then watched the film. The words are implying strength and voicing almost at a level of irritation - rather than shock-horror, big-time condemnation, or even any kind of appeal to sanity or decency on the part of the N Korean leader. But the "we're not happy with you" part of the speech isn't strong or explicit and the "we're really big and strong and so are our Russian and Chinese friends" rings hollow because it is immediately obvious that no member of the UN is going to do anything. Therefore the "consequences" piece sounds weak and exposes, for me, the pointlessness of speaking about this topic.

Now that the gentle leader has big toys, on top of manifest psychopathy, no one is going anywhere near him. Lunatic or not, he has to know that if he makes any significant aggressive move over the DMZ, the US will turn his country into a smoking hole. But now he can bluster a bit more, safe in the knowledge that only a lunatic will take aggressive action against him - and there aren't too many lunatics around the table these days.

The disparity between Clinton's words as written down and the immensely eye-shifting, umming and emming delivery as she sought the precise (albeit empty) language that she used, is immense. She's obviously very uncomfortable with the concept of standing up there and basically saying nothing. I'm going to watch the film again to get a better sense of her non-verbal cues, but the immediate impression is of a lady who would rather not be on that podium.

The whole speech reminded me of Bill Hicks' wonder at the concept of an unarmed police force in the UK and Ireland – "Stop! ... Or I'll shout 'stop' again!"

Dominic said...

Totally agree. It made me think of Lear, in the disintegrating into impotence stage:

I will have such revenges on you both
That all the world shall -- I will do such things --
What they are yet I know not, but they shall be
The terrors of the earth!