The Shotgun Blog
Wednesday, July 05, 2006
North Korea must be liberated
Stalinist North Korea - one of Communist China's oldest and most loyal allies - is a danger to its own people, its fellow Koreans in the democratic South, and the rest of the world. This was established long before Tuesday’s Inter-Continental Ballistic Missile test launch became the prototype incident of Projectile Dysfunction (third item). However, when it comes to the Stalinist regime, many in the corridors of power in the democratic world are focusing on negotiation and/or limited military action. The reality is neither of these options, however practical they may appear, can succeed, for they include leaving the Stalinist regime in place. Instead, the people of northern Korea must be liberated from this regime, and given the chance to take their country back.
Prior to the failed test launch, the Stalinist regime held the world's attention with an admission to having nuclear weapons and violating numerous agreements, including the 1994 Agreed Framework, in which they pledged not to develop them. The way the Stalinist regime treated the 1994 Agreement - reaping the benefits for years while refusing to hold up its end of the bargain - should have been enough to establish that Kim Jong-il et al could not be bribed, cajoled, or threatened into decent behavior. That the agreement was in fact a promise to stop breaking non-nuclear pledges in 1985 and 1987 should have reinforced this realization.
If that wasn't enough, the actions of the Kim Jong-il regime towards its neighbors' citizens have been well outside civilized behavior. Japan has lost at least 12 citizens to Stalinist kidnappers (according to Pyongyang, eight of those lost have died, although they have refused to provide any evidence of this) and democratic South Korea has lost hundreds to abductions by the North.
Even that outrage has paled in comparison to the Stalinists' inhuman treatment of the Koreans trapped under their control. The regime has received millions of dollars worth of international food aid despite its aggressive, militaristic policies. What few have noticed is how the Stalinists have used that food aid, along with whatever scarce home grown food there is, as political weapons to silence their opponents, literally (fifth item, ninth item). Supporters of the regime is well fed; opponents starve. Millions have died as a result.
Of course, starvation is not the only form of repression in northern Korea. The more conventional methods of brutal repression - torture, imprisonment, etc. - are also very much in force. Hundreds of political prisoners have died from chemical weapons testing (second item).
All of this is enough to brand the Stalinists a threat to East Asia and a criminal regime lacking in basic human decency. However, the regime has also been a threat to the world at large through its support for terrorism. Pyongyang has an extensive arms export industry, and its clients include the leading terrorist states on the planet: Khomeinist Iran, Ba’athist Syria, and Saddam Hussein while he was in power. In fact, Saddam had paid $10 million for a Stalinist missile assembly line before he was toppled (the Stalinists balked on delivering it due to fears of reprisals from the United States).
The regime has even conducted acts of terror itself. In addition to the aforementioned kidnappings, the Stalinists have assassinated South Korean cabinet members and the wife of a South Korean President (her husband was the target). They also exploded a South Korean airliner in mid-air in 1987, killing over 100 passengers.
This is not a regime with which one negotiates; it is a regime one removes.
Would the liberation of northern Korea require military force? It’s possible, but not likely. There is a small, but growing, anti-Stalinist movement in northern Korea. It is also well known that the regime only survives because of support from Communist China. Of course, the Communists will not accede to the loss of their satellite regime and de facto colony. However, the Soviets were not willing to give up Eastern Europe either; they were forced to do so after the democratic world stepped up the first Cold War in the 1980s. Sadly, many in the democratic world do not even recognize the existence of the cold war Communist China is fighting against it. Unless we are prepared to fight and win the Second Cold War, neither China nor northern Korea will be free.
The people of southern Korea value their freedom, but they also yearn for their country to become whole again. The Stalinist regime in northern Korea and its Communist Chinese benefactors stand in their way. The only solution to the Korean crisis is a Korea that is free, democratic, and whole. Policies with this goal in mind will be handsomely rewarded by history and a grateful Korean people. Policies less ambitious will only lead to failure, recriminations, and the needless loss of blood and treasure.
Cross-posted to China e-Lobby
Posted by D.J. McGuire on July 5, 2006 | Permalink
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Forget it. The UN would never allow such a thing because China and Russia (and probably France) would block any such motions by the US and Britain.
Let the regime collapse on its own. At most it has a decade left. When it does, the world can unite to save the people of the northern part of the Republic of Korea from their previous rulers.
Posted by: Scott | 2006-07-05 1:25:02 PM
We know what a craphole the place is, the question is (and it's the one thing you don't offer) is how to do it.
Liberating Iraq is easier than N.Korea. How are you going to do it without a major war that destroys Seoul and its 10 million citizens?
Posted by: Warwick | 2006-07-05 2:28:20 PM
Like I said here
if we ignore the threat of North Korea, it will also encourage the mullahs of Iran to do the similar thing very soon!
Posted by: Winston | 2006-07-05 2:35:43 PM
Well, we need to make sure that Iran isn't in a position like N.Korea. That's for sure. But that doesn't solve what to do about N.Korea.
It's still possible to take out Iran without having Tel Aviv turned into rubble. The same is not the case for Seoul if N.Korea is attacked. This is the best argument for whacking Iran but doens't solve anyting in N.Korea.
What's the plan there?
Posted by: Warwick | 2006-07-05 2:58:49 PM
Look at that place.
How more downhill/backward could they get?
Posted by: Lady | 2006-07-05 3:10:16 PM
North Korea can't be attacked - then China would come to her aid and we'd have the Second Korean War.
Let the DPRK collapse on its own.
Posted by: Scott | 2006-07-05 3:28:16 PM
The situation in Korea is much too complex to solve by a simple Iraq/Afghanistan style regime-toppling by the USA. First, it would require the support of the people of South Korea, who currently do not wish at all to fight with their northern brothers. Then, China would have to be convinced that the war has no further ambition than the re-unification of Korea. To do that, the US would need moral support from allies outside of the asian theatre, such as France, Germany, or other continental european powers. China has a very deep distrust of Japan, and would consider any Japanese involvement on the mainland a direct threat, and block any action. This is the most unfortunate, because the Japanese would be in the best position to mount the surprise attack necessary the prevent the North Koreans from using their WMD arsenal and destroying Seoul. A US attack would require a month-long buildup of forces in the area, which would obviously alert NK, complication things a lot.
The only way I can see as being feasible to topple Kim Jong Il would be years of complete economic sanctions, and an aggresive campaign of propaganda and espionage against the DPRK. The unfortanute side effect would be a humanitarion disaster impressively worse than the current one.
Posted by: Big Makk | 2006-07-05 4:39:41 PM
It seems the removal of the communist regime in China is a prerequisite. The only way to succeed is to prevent a Chinese intervention.
Posted by: Rémi Houle | 2006-07-05 5:24:47 PM
As I thought I made clear, I think it is very possible to liberate northern Korea in the same manner eastern Europe was liberated. My apologies if I wrote it in a confusing manner.
Remi may be right, the liberation of China may be necessary, but I've supported helping the Chinese people take their country back from the Communists for years.
Posted by: D.J. McGuire | 2006-07-05 5:43:58 PM
No to all of the above.
The Liberation of a people can only come from the inside.
But, when they endanger the lives of others, then there is a reason to take out the threat.
And people who do not learn from their past mistakes, are in danger of doing them again.
And as for China, well, since Korea is so close, and could actually make a mistake with her nuclear weaponry, it seems to me that it might be in the interest of China, to do something about Korea, before the nuclear fallout takes 100's of millions of people out.
That would be tragic.
And I truly feel for Japan, and all the people in the region, I really do.
Posted by: Lady | 2006-07-05 6:22:08 PM
And sadly, as a result of the current regime, even if the people wanted to reform, even from within, the horizon looks bleak.
There are many references that concur with the aforementioned testimony.
In Russia, they paint the situation as though Americans are the only people who are concerned about North Korea performing missile tests.
As with any nation, there are nice photos, and not so nice photos. If we are to go by what we see, we must keep in mind what we see here. Regardless, it is better to be the worst off here, than the worst off there.
I cannot but imagine whether or not the current campaign missile testing in North Korea, has the mere intention of boosting the people behind the government, like any other campaign.
At least I hope so.
And, I am not counting on it.
Posted by: Lady | 2006-07-05 9:35:40 PM
If ever there were a case for regime change North Korea is it. With a ruthless and arguably insane despot for a ruler it is hard to imagine a worse situation. The removal of Kim il Jong would be a relief for all North Koreans and the region as a whole.
But without outside help there's little prospect for positive change. The problem is how to go about it. China and Russia are certainly obstacles.
Posted by: JR | 2006-07-06 11:49:05 AM
While it is unlikely to come to blows, I'd imagine that Michael Moore would say that any war against NK would be done for Bush's corporate allies. "Fahrenheit 9/11 Pt 2" would have bits about how wonderful it was in NK, how peaceful it was, and how George Bush and the Halliburton/Carlile Group war machine came to ruin it. Heck, Moore would probably say that there's oil in North Korea.
In fact, when the Iraq War started, some critics said how North Korea was a bigger problem than Iraq. Moral of the story: there will be controversy no matter what happens.
That said, should Canada participate in the Second Korean War? If the answer is yes, then a lot of military spending will be necessary.
Posted by: Scott | 2006-07-06 12:38:20 PM
A direct and fatal strike aimed at the head of the "Democratic" "People's" "Republic" of Korea.
No other influence can penetrate the country...
Posted by: Knight of Good Mr. Iron Man | 2006-07-06 2:13:46 PM
Protracted war on those grounds, is not something anyone would want a force to waste its time doing, for many reasons.
There are ways that have not been explored, and I do believe that with the modern abilities, that with a little nudge, the people would do their own thing, and instill democracy.
The N Koreans are desperate, otherwise they would not be testing these weapons.
If they were smart, they would do their own velvet revolution. If they did that, they would retain face, some power, some respect, and their lives, as well as the lives of so many other people, who need not be dragged into their power struggle.
Meanwhile, I regret we did not get rid of the Liberals sooner, although I have to say, it was not for lack of trying.
Posted by: Lady | 2006-07-06 8:46:03 PM
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