"Time to Act on N. Korea," by Vaclav Havel, Washington Post, 18 June, p. A29.
Great op-ed in the Post. Havel notes that humanity has found out about genocide in the past through eye-witness accounts, and that we now have the testimony of thousands of North Korean refugees in our possession regarding the amazingly cruel regime of Kim Jong Iló"a man responsible for the loss of millions of lives."
As Havel notes, "[Kim] sustains one of the largest armies in the word and is producing weapons of mass destruction even as the centrally planned economy and the state ideologyóknown as juche, a blend of nationalism and self-relianceóhave led the country into famine."
When these desperate political refugees escape into China, what does it do? It refuses to recognize them as required by international treaties, and forces them back across the border, whereówhen caughtóthese people are thrown into political prisoner gulag camps.
And if these famished people make it into South Korea? As Havel writes, "their presence there flies in the face of that country's official 'sunshine policy,' which, however well-intentioned, is based on constant concessions and appeasement"óa policy that, in the end, "only keeps the leader of Pyongyang in power."
What is Kim's goal in all of this?
"He wants to be respected and feared abroad and to be recognized as one of the world's most powerful leaders. He is willing to let his own people die of hunger, and he uses famine to liquidate those who show any sign of wavering loyalty to his rule. Through blackmail, he receives food and oil, which he distributes among those loyal to him (first in line being the army)."Sound like any situation you remember from the Persian Gulf across the entire 1990s?
Hmmm . . . food . . oil . . . sanctions . . . lots of innocent people dying . . . ah yes, that would be the UN that so many hope will run the world on its own.
Havel wants a better, more decisive response from the Core. So do I.