Hold up. North Korea is the head of what?


A North Korean soldier looks at the South side at the truce village of Panmunjom in the Demilitarized Zone separating the two Koreas on January 19, 2011.


Jung Yeon-je

To be fair, the presidency of the conference rotates. It wasn't like everyone put their heads down and raised a hand for North Korea.

But still. North Korea as the head of a disarmament mission?

It's preposterous.

North Korea is, as Brett D. Schaefer points out in the National Review, one of "the foremost facilitators of nuclear proliferation, a promiscuous peddler of nuclear technology."

It has detonated two nuclear devices in the last five years and is striving to develop an intercontinental ballistic missile capable of delivering nuclear weapons.

Recent satellite images, reported on by David Case in GlobalPost, show an expansion at the Yongbyon nuclear site between the years of 2009 and 2011.

All this despite repeated international calls for them to quit it. The Security Council has again and again ordered them to halt the development of their nuclear program and just recently — as in, a few weeks ago — they reimposed sanctions.

What about that laundry list of violations makes them a good leader?

The irony is not lost on critics.

This from Hillel Neuer, executive director of UN Watch:

Bare months after the U.N. finally suspended Libya’s Col. Muammar Gaddafi from its Human Rights Council, North Korea wins the propaganda coup of heading the world’s disarmament agency. It’s asking the fox to guard the chickens, and damages the U.N.’s credibility.

It is a rather irefutable argument, you have to admit.

A better question to ask at this point is about the United Nations more generally. How backward has the U.N. become that this passes for business as usual?