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What to do about North Korea?

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It’s just stunning how suddenly, because North Korea sunk a South Korean warship — in contested waters, mind you — everyone’s got their panties in a wad. It was surely a horrible incident, resulting in the deaths of 46 people. And yes, technically an “act of war.” But how does it compare to how North Korea has acted for the last, say, quarter century?

Here is a country that so oppresses its people that the richest among them — the ones trotted out for international show — live in slum-like conditions, in constant hunger, in fear of saying or doing the wrong thing and being thrown into one of the country’s famous concentration camps. The conditions are actually worse than in 1984: patriotic songs are blasted from loudspeakers in the streets every hour on the hour from 6 am to midnight, the media (along with literally everything else) is owned and operated by the government, and the bizarre leader is worshiped and widely believed to control the weather with his emotions(!). This country allowed 2.5 million people to starve during the 1990s famine so it could support its military (note: the average North Korean is six inches shorter than the average South Korean). It runs a secret system of gulags in which torture is commonplace, and in which 400,000 people have died in the last quarter century. And by the way, part of the mind control system in the country is to brainwash racism and contempt for everyone else in the world into its people. North Korea has constantly antagonized South Korea, is waging active cyber war against the US, is the largest counterfeiter of American currency in the world, and is not only building a nuclear bomb but has sold nuclear technology to Syria.

So, what are we talking about here as a reaction? Embarrasing them during the World Cup? Really? Stronger international sanctions? Nope: the North Korean economy has grown under sanctions. There’s only one thing to do here, for the sake of the people of North Korea as well as the sake of the world. I know “regime change” has a nasty ring after our experience in Iraq, but this is different. We’re talking about reunification with a country’s free half. We’re talking about the lifting of communist oppression. How do you do such a thing? Actually, I have no fucking idea. All I know is that this is what we should be talking about, not about some “measured counter-response” to one incident.

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“We’re talking about reunification with a country’s free half. We’re talking about the lifting of communist oppression.”

Alesh, the problem is we’ve been here before. I literally can’t read the words “reunification with a country’s free half” without thinking of Vietnam (not to mention the Korean War!!!). We tried that. It was miserable, and lots more people died than if we hadn’t gotten ourselves involved, probably. The result, in my opinion, is that we’re talking about just letting the North Koreans watch their state play soccer on television, and hoping it’s enough to embarrass them into political action. Maybe we should start sending them used blue jeans and bootleg heavy metal recordings. They worked in the 80s.

— Ricky P · Jun 5, 06:08 AM · #

Very right. I have no idea how you’d go about the regime change. My instinct would be to try to find whatever protest movement there may be in the country and work to support it, but the sad fact is that there may be no such thing. I can’t help but think that the “westernization from the outside” approach may be way to slow to be acceptable.

Also not practical, but it would sure feel good to bomb their nuclear facilities and maybe a few of Kim Jong-il’s more outrageous castles.

alesh · Jun 7, 11:41 PM · #

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