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Russia’s gift to North Korea’s leader Kim Jong-un is much more than money. It will effectively usher North Korea into a prestigious club of energy transit countries –Turkey, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Colombia to name a few — which serve as energy umbilical cords to economies larger than themselves. Should the pipeline be built, in good days Kim will be able to collect a nice chunk of money in transit fees but in his bad days – of which there are many – he will be able to coerce and intimidate the third largest economy in Asia-Pacific in ways that will make his missile and underground nuclear tests a fond memory. Keeping Kim in a box is an important component of President Obama’s Strategic Pivot in Asia-Pacific. Putin is throwing the despot the key to the box.I'll bet this is exactly what the geniuses in Washington were expecting to happen.
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