mandag 18. september 2017

Sorry, an Oil Embargo Won’t Lead to North Korea’s Capitulation

On a superficial level, North Korea appears extraordinarily vulnerable to energy shutoffs. As a 1987 CIA report noted, the regime has long faced energy security problems despite its vast reserves of coal and hydropower potential. Such dependency, however, has yet to result in the sort of political vulnerability that embargo advocates claim already exists. As the U.S. Energy Information Administration notes, the end of the Cold War led to the end of Soviet subsidized oil imports, and North Korean oil consumption has dropped from 76,000 barrels per day in 1991 to 15,000 barrels per day in 2016. Over the same period, the country’s population has risen by an estimated 5 million people. Even accounting for the possibility of smuggling and off-the-books trade, it’s likely that the DPRK has long since adjusted to losing well over three-quarters of its per capita daily consumption of oil relative to the Cold War period.