Tag Archives: Korea

The Right To Leave

Nothing demonstrates the impotence of the United Nations quite so starkly as the long suffering of the North Korean people.  Living in wretched conditions and subjected to ongoing famine, North Koreans are two inches smaller than their South Korean cousins.  One in three North Korean children is chronically malnourished.

This has been going on since 1953.  North Koreans living today were born into suffering, and have never known any other life – even though South Korea, across the border, is one of the world’s most affluent nations.

Article 13.2: Everyone has the right to leave any country

A better life for these people is literally within walking distance, but they are imprisoned by their own leaders – a dynasty of brutal dictators who build monuments to themselves while the people starve.  The previous dictator, Kim Jong-Il, died of old age, blissfully untouched by the world’s opprobrium.  If the United Nations had any purpose at all, it would be to end such regimes.

We might as well say the same about Cuba and, in its time, the Soviet Union.  In an international context, the most fundamental right is the right to leave a bad country.  Properly enforced, this would limit the amount of suffering any dictator could impose, and ultimately compel some of the higher order human rights.

The United Nations has a lengthy declaration of human rights, including health care and free education, but it lacks a mechanism to enforce – or even encourage – its principles.  One of these is, in fact, the right to leave.

The U.N Security Council regularly votes against interference in the “internal affairs” of any country.  However much we might criticize China for human rights abuses, this is a gray area.  The Chinese could point back at Guantanamo or race relations.  No one wants the U.N. to be the arbiter of how well a country treats its people – certainly not China, and they’re a permanent member.

Whether the people are free to leave, however, is completely objective.  They’re either free, or they’re not.  The United Nations could, with perfect clarity, make Article 13.2 the acid test for human rights.  Resolutions should follow, with sanctions including military intervention.  The North Koreans are prisoners, and the world has a duty to free them.


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Power Play

imagesWe just ran Jeremiah’s piece on the war with China, and this brings up a general observation.  North Korea’s provocations are not down to one wild and crazy dictator.  Terrorists do not attack America because they just plain hate us, or because of Palestine, or – despite what Safari Montage says – because of our own poor decisions.  This is a child’s view of history.

Geopolitical actors have definite plans, based on power.  If you’re not clear on this, read Machiavelli – or Kissinger.  America has real enemies, and they want power.  They want control of resources, like land, food, energy, and people.

American hegemony lasted about 100 years, depending on how you count it.  The British Empire lasted about 200 years.  Suppose you were the leader of a nation or a movement.  Wouldn’t you like to have 100 years of world domination?  Could you play an inside game for 50 years, to get 100? Could you bankroll some zealots to fight your war?

The next time you hear we have been provoked by some madman or some “splinter group,” look for the hand pulling the strings.  This goes for the crazies in Washington, too.  No one is just crazy.

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Korean War Resumes

Last week, Kim Jong-Un tore up the 1953 ceasefire agreement.  This week, using computer hacking “weapons” from China, they attacked South Korea.  If you are not already aware that China has an ace computer hacking “cyber warfare” unit, you need to read the Mandiant report.

The Korean War, like the Vietnam War, was a proxy war between America and China.  We lost in Vietnam, and Korea was a draw – resulting in the present standoff between north and south.  Years later, relations with China have improved, but a proxy is still useful.  Suppose military leaders inside Unit 61398 wanted to test American cyber defenses?  What better test than a sponsored attack on an American ally?

Exactly two years ago, North Korea sank a South Korean cruiser.  Note that the Security Council resolution refers to the now-defunct ceasefire.   America responded with a demonstration of naval force, but:

South Korea had wanted to hold the joint war games in the Yellow Sea, near where the Cheonan sank. But China said it opposed them, so the exercises were moved.

So, China learned that they do indeed control the Yellow Sea.  In both cases, China used North Korea to test American resolve and American capabilities.  You have to admit this is a clever strategy.  If things go too far, China can always disavow North Korea’s actions.  Kim’s “crazy dictator” image is part of the act.

See also:  North Korean torpedo sank South’s navy ship

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