Wednesday, June 8, 2005

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Can North Korea overtake South Africa?

Via Oxblog's Patrick Belton, I see that North Korea has managed to get itself sanctioned by another international organization:

Political rivals Japan and North Korea are set to play in a World Cup football qualifier in an empty stadium in Bangkok.

The two teams will take to the field on Wednesday night (1030 GMT, 0630 ET) amid boosted security measures that will ensure no North Korean or Japanese fans are in sight.

In a rare move, the World Cup governing body FIFA moved the game from Pyongyang to Bangkok to punish North Korea after unruly crowd behavior during the country's game against Iran in Pyongyang in March.

This step by FIFA -- and North Korea's ongoing campaign for Rogue State of the Year -- got me to wondering: which country in the world has been the most popular target of sanctions approved by an international organization?

As someone who's written a bit about economic sanctions, I confess to not having a definitive answer -- to my knowledge, no one has ever researched this question. Certainly North Korea has been moving up in the ranks -- the UN (back during the Korean War), the IAEA in 1994, and now FIFA.

However, I'd still be willing to bet that the answer to this question is apartheid-era South Africa. At one point or another, the United Nations, Organization for African Unity, European Economic Community, South African Development Community, and the Commonwealth imposed sancdtions -- not to mention the International Olympic Committee and FIFA.

The hard working staff here at will be on top of this issue to see if and when North Korea can overtake the rogue state of the twentieth century. I hjave no doubt that the regime in Pyongyang is capable of pulling this off.

posted by Dan on 06.08.05 at 04:13 PM


I'd like to put a slightly different question in the mix: which country has been the target of the stupidest and most counterproductive sanctions? That would be Israel. The Arabs boycott them in every sporting and cultural endeavour. Result: they have to enter the European equivalent for everything. 2nd result: standards rise against the higher class of competition and they turn out be half-decent in these competitions despite the tiny size. For instance, they have a chance of coming out of their group for the 2006 World Cup.

posted by: P O'Neill on 06.08.05 at 04:13 PM [permalink]

While reading this, I recalled my (late 80s)Intro Micro class in college. The teacher argued that economic sanctions against South Africa were counterproductive, because free trade would prompt the South African racist regime to reverse its ways. Economic concerns were everything; social and political concerns were nothing, the argument went. Economic growth would require the end of apartheid when the demand for labor outpaced the supply of white laborers. He was so sure of himself.

But whatever, he's probably dead by now.

posted by: Andrew Steele on 06.08.05 at 04:13 PM [permalink]

Bollocks. France and the Irish will be 1, 2 in that group.

Iran just played North Korea a couple days back in the Battle of the Axis of Evil. Iran, in typical fashion, scored a goal and then played 10 men behind the ball and won 1-0.

Go England. And I hope the Irish make it to Germany.

posted by: footiefaninUSA on 06.08.05 at 04:13 PM [permalink]

I am not so sure North Korea can pull it off, It takes money to sustain an effort such as this.

posted by: Blaine on 06.08.05 at 04:13 PM [permalink]

Looking through that history of sanctions targeted at South Africa was more of an object lesson in the international community's misprioritization of objectives than anything I've seen in a while. Yes, South African apartheid was noxious, and yes, the international sanctions regime seems to have had a very salutary effect on that country's political evolution. But it would be almost trivially easy to name a dozen countries which in the 70s and 80s possessed worse human rights records than South Africa; come to think of it, one could probably name many more than a dozen.

One of the most frustrating aspects of modern international relations (to me, at least) is the faith so many people have in the good intentions of the UN and other representatives of the "international community," when history has demonstrated that the real monsters in the world can get a free pass from a UN more interested in condemning phantoms and echoes of imperialism (Israel, South Africa, the Iraq war, any other conflict which offers footage of white soldiers occupying a country with a non-white populace) than in materially improving the lot of the world's poor and oppressed.

posted by: Nick on 06.08.05 at 04:13 PM [permalink]

I think Kim Jong Il needs to call FIFA "pieces of crap."

posted by: Brad R. on 06.08.05 at 04:13 PM [permalink]

Once again, Kim Jong Il will have to sing, "So Ronery."

posted by: Tom on 06.08.05 at 04:13 PM [permalink]

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