Here we go again, it is like a broken record that we seem to hear every time North Korea acts up over the last 10 years. Republican and democrat alike, even so-called experts like former Gov. Bill Richardson seem to think that China should do more to control the loons in North Korea. The argument goes that China has great influence over the North Koreans economically so the North should listen to the Chinese. Lets assume for a moment that is is true, then why does China never seem to use this influence to get Pyongyang to act in a more reasonable fashion. The answer is simple, the Chinese find the North Koreans acting provocatively useful to worry the US. The fact that the North Koreans are a major headache for the American diplomatic and security professionals (and I use that term lightly) is a good resource for the Chinese to have while trying to go about their own business. No, I don’t think the Chinese put the North Koreans up to these latest provocations by the North Koreans but in general the fact that the United States, South Korea, and Japan all have to focus way to much time, money (defense spending to counter North Korean threats), and energy probably suits the Chinese just fine. Think about it, in any scenario that the US has a crisis with China in the future the US will have to account for the lunatic North Koreans in their calculus on how to handle the situation. So if our politicians could recognize that it’s not really in China’s interest to control North Korea then they could actually spend their time trying to develop a more sensible approach to the North Korean question instead of always rolling out the same old tired line that China needs to exert influence over the North Koreans blah, blah, blah.