A rogue North Korean vessel steaming full speed between pariah nations is tailed by a US Navy destroyer; and a recently passed UN sanction encourages member states to search North Korean vessles engaging in illicit activities. Is this the penultimate chapter of the latest Tom Clancy thriller?
While fiction may be faster paced than reality, this news story has the gravity of 2000 tons approaching at an ungainly 30 knots. Although the denouement will likely be some form of compliance to international demands by the destination country Myanmar, with the state of relations between North Korea and the world, this situation could quickly become an international crisis.
The elephant in the room is what if Myanma refuses UN demands? Should a hardline be taken and then what will North Korea's response be? This situation would test not only US resolve but also Pyongyang. With both sides ready for war the risk is almost certainly too great to make the first move. The US has contingency plans for invading North Korea which are practiced daily on the Korean peninsula and the opposition is questionably suffering from megalomania and may possess nucelar weapons.
I predict that this situation will fizzle, though importantly, what will be the new tune of relations. Will it be the clang of collectivism or the cacophony of capitalism?