A murderer is released on parole. After some time, he brags about acquiring a machine gun. The court imposes a harsh sentence on him: he cannot buy a Lexus until he sells the gun. That’s how the UN crowd punished North Korea.

To order that North Korea should not buy tanks and aircraft is ridiculous. It can’t afford them.

North Korea’s nuclear program is up and running. It could do with additional supplies which, at any rate, would be flown in by charter planes from Pakistan not subject to search. Cargo inspections might interdict the export of conventional weapons from North Korea, but those are not critical. Few nations are likely do perform such inspections, and North Korea will easily circumvent them. Unscrupulous businesses from China and Russia, but also from other countries, will provide raw materials for the North Korean weapons programs. The world market is just too big to control it.

The threat of freezing the funds of companies dealing with North Korean military programs is empty. Money in offshore accounts moves in seconds. No one uses legitimate companies for illegal transactions. By the time the authorities block the accounts, there will be nothing to block.

A UN resolution which contains no economic sanctions and excludes the use of force is a clear victory for North Korea.