Tuesday, May 20, 2003

As much as I dislike and distrust this administration and it's policies, I am beginning to wonder how the hell anyone would address the North Korea situation sanely, even handedly and/or intelligently. It's a bloody mess no matter how you add it up.

Trying to reason with Kim Jong Il is like trying to have a logical conversation with someone in a mental institution. They keep threatening their best ally and chance for hope, South Korea. That whole regime seems totally insane. Or they’re panicking and rightfully paranoid, according to some sources, since we’ve been threatening to nuke them into the stone-age for the past fifty plus years. That doesn’t help of course, but I’m more than a little tired of the “blame the US for everything that’s wrong in the world” as if the actions of the rest of the nations on this planet exist in a vacuum, except for ours.

I digress. Bush's biggest mistake on this issue, at least in my estimation, was not so much recently but rather the fact that he blew off the North Koreans off when he first took office. I think it was part of Bush’s “We’re going to do the opposite of everything Clinton did” phase. The Axis of Evil thing didn't help either.

Whenever I hear some of the more liberal commentary on the issue it seems like an awful lot of what has been said is to, on some level, give in to the North Korean government to alleviate this very real and imminent threat. I really wonder if an agreement where we give them more conditional aid in exchange for their pulling back on their recent nuclear proliferation (bribing them) is really the best was out of this mess.

You may not know this, but the US, along with a number of other countries, send huge amounts of food aid to the North Koreans every year - so much so that they rely heavily on it, at least for the average NK citizen. FYI - This is unconditional aid, without any ties to UN weapons inspectors, treaties or otherwise. I have wondered recently “Would completely cutting off food aid to North Korea in the long run help this situation?” As terrible as this thought sounds, and as much suffering that it will inevitably cause, is this the worst path considering the outcomes of all of the possibilities? It's just that I don't know if cutting them off is the worst of the bunch.

Before you think I've crossed to the Dark side hear me out. While the NK are not rich in resources, their famine problem would not be as severe as it is, were it not for the fact that the North Korean Government has been diverting most of the small amount of resources it has toward it’s military. This is why the North Korean civilians are starving. If you're inner liberal is still having doubts, think about this - A bribe to the Kim / NK Government will mean they can continue to divert it’s resources to the military, and it will in effect (a) lengthen the life of this horrible regime AND (b)allowing yet another generation of North Koreans to suffer the same terrible fate. When we supply Kim Jong Il with food, we are taking the North Korean Regime off the hook for what they should be doing themselves. It’s like a twisted hostage situation, where Kim has a gun to the head of the people he claims to represent (abuse) and for our own immediate safety and alleviate our own guilt we give in to his demands. It’s probable that the people we feed would starve unless we fed them, and no matter how many people in North Korea die of starvation it might not affect the actions of Kim. But it’s difficult to deny that any significant aid, at least without more conditions, essentially extends the life of this government, and allows Jong Il to stay in power. Is there any chance the regime’s collapse might be hastened if we cut them off? The hard part is getting others to participate - China and South Korea might cave in if they see the resulting suffering.

It should be noted that there have been eyewitness accounts, the NK people are so deprived that, while the military and government feast on the small bounty the nation provides, the rest of the population has been forced to eat grass from the lawns of public parks. It's their own government inflicting this punishment. Knowing how to use this situation to his own advantage, Kim use this sullen imagery to guilt the world into supplying food for the poor suffering souls with international food aid, and therefore allowing the North Koreans to contimue to do what they do.

If we pay them off to not produce Nuclear Technology then they know they can throw a tantrum whenever they want more aid, economic or food or whatever. It also means the total lack of human rights by the Government will continue and no real change will take place, meaning we're propping up an abusive regime and giving them more aid to perpetuate it's horrible practices.

If we ignore them completely it means they'll continue to sell weapons, nuclear or otherwise, to terrorists. It is not far fetched that an Osama or someone like him could someday purchase WMD and try to launch an attack against the US. That's not even mentioning the heroin North Korea has been know to deal in.

It goes against my humanitarian ethics, and my desire to see no one suffer needlessly, but I don't know what else you do? It looks like all options suck. If anyone in government could someone how get the North Korean Government to agree to some kind of deal, where if they get food and economic aid they have to guarantee more than just not to sell WMD, and not to bomb us. It should be something more substantial, like human rights monitors or diverting some of their own resources towards their own people or allowing outsiders to communicate with North Korean citizens or something, anything other than just a stop gap solution. Otherwise we are indirectly giving aid to a repressive government, allowing it to continue it's terrible actions for many years to come.

Of course I doubt anyone in the current White House will do anything even remotely like that - a hostile North Korea with less than a handful of nuclear warheads and a couple of long range missiles gives Bush an excuse to fund a missile defense shield that still does not work.

I wanted to touch on the bombing overseas in Saudi Arabia and Morocco, but it’ll have to wait till later. Time to go home - what the hell am I still doing here?

While we're at it here's what I've been reading online lately;
GOP outspends Democrats in states

Paul Bremer: Can he bring peace to Iraq—and the Bush administration?By Chris Suellentrop. Posted Thursday, May 22, 2003, at 3:09 PM PT


Cal Pundit always is worth reading.

BMA was listed here when I update, though I'm not sure how we made the list. I'm certainly not against new link sources, but I have no idea who put us here.

A red headed ex-pat living in the UK selling computer games - I dig the illustration on the site too. I can't remember how I got to her site, although I suspect it was something she posted elsewhere, and I clicked her link. That sounds vaguely kinda dirty... I clicked her link.... yet another euphemism for sex, as if there weren't enough already.


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