On week several years ago I hosted a whole week of "Dumb Questions," here at Writing Boots. I asked, and received more or less helpful answers to some honest questions:
I have another question that I can't seem to get an answer to—one that seems far more urgent than these. So I thought I'd ask you, valued Writing Bootineer: Why won't the Chinese hammer the North Koreans with an absolute trade ban?
China is: Within range of North Korean missiles.
China is: Selling products to the entire world, and surely could afford to temporarily sacrifice the $3.5 billion it gets from selling clothes and electronics to North Korea. (That's less than three bucks per Chinese person.)
China is: Able to import products from the whole world, and surely can find a new source of clothes and coal briquettes that it currently gets from North Korea.
Surely, China could choke North Korea's economy to death without clearing the throat of its own.
So—and I know it's a dumb question: Why won't China put the hammer down?
(Or if you don't know that answer, how about, "What happened to nervous breakdowns?")