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South Korea agrees to feed North Korea

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DarkWaters
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South Korea agrees to feed North Korea for essentially nothing. Specifically, the robust Southern economic powerhouse on the Korean peninsula will be shipping 400,000 tons of rice to their impoverished and oppressive neighbor. It is also worthy of note that North Korea has still yet to shutdown its nuclear reactor that it agreed to do under the latest nuclear disarmament deal. Sigh.

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This is a policy fully endorsed and supported by the United States, at least as demonstrated by our country's actions. The U.S. provided over $1 billion in fuel and food aid to the Koreans over the period 1995-2003. It is documented here in this report from the Congressional Research Service.

That booty was paid to bribe the North Koreans into not building a nuclear bomb. Well, they built it anyway, paid for in part by our tax money. Now Bush seeks to bribe the North Koreans again. At a minimum, this started with Bush recently allowing the North Koreans to keep $25 million in ill-gotten money* that we had frozen in a bank they use in Macau. Then we allowed the North Koreans to sell arms to Ethiopia. This is just the bare tip of the iceberg. Presumably, the South Korean food aid is part of the booty that we hope will bribe the North Koreans more successfully this time around. South Korea is part of the "six party" group that is negotiating with North Korea to stop building nuclear bombs. It stands to reason that this food booty was authorized by the U.S. as part of this negotiation.

Funding the enemy. This time it will be different, and the North Koreans will give up their weapons and become peace-loving friends of man. Keep smoking or keep praying, George.

*******

*A primary source of income for the North Koreans is mafia-like activities such as counterfeiting our currency, trans-shipping illegal drugs and selling counterfeit cigarettes. Their counterfeiting operations are the best in the world, unequaled by any private criminal organization. Why do you think the U.S. keeps changing the images and color of our currency? The U.S. is trying to stay one step ahead of the highly skilled North Korean counterfeiters. The monetary proceeds from activities like this is what G. Bush handed back to the North Koreans with the $25 million he un-froze at the Macau bank.

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That booty was paid to bribe the North Koreans into not building a nuclear bomb. Well, they built it anyway, paid for in part by our tax money. Now Bush seeks to bribe the North Koreans again. At a minimum, this started with Bush recently allowing the North Koreans to keep $25 million in ill-gotten money* that we had frozen in a bank they use in Macau. Then we allowed the North Koreans to sell arms to Ethiopia. This is just the bare tip of the iceberg. Presumably, the South Korean food aid is part of the booty that we hope will bribe the North Koreans more successfully this time around. South Korea is part of the "six party" group that is negotiating with North Korea to stop building nuclear bombs. It stands to reason that this food booty was authorized by the U.S. as part of this negotiation.

Funding the enemy. This time it will be different, and the North Koreans will give up their weapons and become peace-loving friends of man. Keep smoking or keep praying, George.

This dove tails perfectly with a link provided in another forum to a Christopher Hitchen's piece on Jefferson's Barbary Wars.

Jefferson's War on Pirates

From that you'll find the following quote from Madison:

President Madison’s words on this occasion could scarcely be bettered: “It is a settled policy of America, that as peace is better than war, war is better than tribute. The United States, while they wish for war with no nation, will buy peace with none.”

Those are the words of a man of principle and men like Madison did their level best to act on principle. They weren’t counterfeiters of the spirit. They didn’t say one thing and do another, as Bush -- along with most other politicians today -- continuously does.

Would it be that it were the settled policy of America.

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The North Korea situation is truly depressing. There are no military options that would not involve the immediate elimination of Seoul, the deaths of tens of thousands of American servicemen stationed in South Korea, and the possible obliteration of Tokyo.* On the other hand, the North Korean track record on following agreements hardly makes the current policy appealing. I guess the Bush administration’s thinking goes like, “We either engage in diplomacy to try and slow down NoKo’s inevitable nuclearization, or we do nothing. Slowing down is better than nothing.” The only glimmer of hope is that the Chinese seem serious about trying to limit NoKo’s nuclearization, and the Chinese do have some influence on the regime.

Additionally, it is important to distinguish between South Korea’s unconditional aid to the North (the so called “Sunshine Policy”) and the aid agreements resulting from the 6-Party talks. The South and the Chinese have been propping up the North for years simply because neither wants millions of North Korean refugees streaming across their borders.** That brings up the question of what their long-term hopes are, since the current situation can’t go on indefinitely. They seem to be hoping that at some point their can be a peaceful rapprochement, perhaps modeled off the German experience. That may be wishful thinking, but on the Korean peninsula everyone seems to think the status quo is preferable to all other options.

It easy to mock the insanity of US policy towards NoKo, but is there any alternative?

*Also, the US military is way overstretched. Senior military analysts have gone so far as to describe the US Army as “broken” because of Iraq. We are hardly in good shape to get involved in a land war in Asia. And we can’t just bomb our way to victory either. The North has been preparing for a defensive war for the over fifty years, and they are quite literally “dug in.” The US could destroy NoKo’s civilian population, but much of its offensive military assets at the DMZ could survive any conventional attack, and possibly any nuclear one as well. We could eventually destroy North Korea, but not before they killed tens of millions of people. Plus, who knows what the long-term geopolitical implications of such a move would be vis-à-vis the Chinese?

** And that’s the optimistic scenario. Who knows what Kim would do in the event of a sudden regime collapse?

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I guess the Bush administration’s thinking goes like, “We either engage in diplomacy to try and slow down NoKo’s inevitable nuclearization, or we do nothing. Slowing down is better than nothing.”

Aiding them actually accelerates their nuclearization.

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The North Korea situation is truly depressing. There are no military options that would not involve the immediate elimination of Seoul, the deaths of tens of thousands of American servicemen stationed in South Korea, and the possible obliteration of Tokyo.* On the other hand, the North Korean track record on following agreements hardly makes the current policy appealing. I guess the Bush administration’s thinking goes like, “We either engage in diplomacy to try and slow down NoKo’s inevitable nuclearization, or we do nothing. Slowing down is better than nothing.” The only glimmer of hope is that the Chinese seem serious about trying to limit NoKo’s nuclearization, and the Chinese do have some influence on the regime.

Additionally, it is important to distinguish between South Korea’s unconditional aid to the North (the so called “Sunshine Policy”) and the aid agreements resulting from the 6-Party talks. The South and the Chinese have been propping up the North for years simply because neither wants millions of North Korean refugees streaming across their borders.** That brings up the question of what their long-term hopes are, since the current situation can’t go on indefinitely. They seem to be hoping that at some point their can be a peaceful rapprochement, perhaps modeled off the German experience. That may be wishful thinking, but on the Korean peninsula everyone seems to think the status quo is preferable to all other options.

It easy to mock the insanity of US policy towards NoKo, but is there any alternative?

*Also, the US military is way overstretched. Senior military analysts have gone so far as to describe the US Army as “broken” because of Iraq. We are hardly in good shape to get involved in a land war in Asia. And we can’t just bomb our way to victory either. The North has been preparing for a defensive war for the over fifty years, and they are quite literally “dug in.” The US could destroy NoKo’s civilian population, but much of its offensive military assets at the DMZ could survive any conventional attack, and possibly any nuclear one as well. We could eventually destroy North Korea, but not before they killed tens of millions of people. Plus, who knows what the long-term geopolitical implications of such a move would be vis-à-vis the Chinese?

** And that’s the optimistic scenario. Who knows what Kim would do in the event of a sudden regime collapse?

Korthor,

Before you bewail the situation in Korea, you must first acknowledge how we got here. At every step of the way, we got to the present situation by appeasing evil, denying its nature and compromising with it. It started with the Yalta agreement in 1944 during World War II. In that agreement, Winston Churchill (British Prime Minister), Franklin Delano Roosevelt (American President) and Josef Stalin (Soviet dictator) agreed on the partition of the earth between the free world and the communist world. Churchill was against it, but FDR thought it necessary to induce Russia to fight the Japanese. It turned out that their virtually non-existent help was completely unnecessary; Japan was well on its way to defeat in 1944. Just a year later we ended the war without Soviet help by exploding two nuclear bombs. Nevertheless, in exchange for their pseudo-help, the Soviets were permitted to control the governments of Manchuria and North Korea. North Korea later became a full-fledged enemy communist state, and by using Manchuria as their base, the Soviets were able to spread communism to all of China. (A hell of a big price to pay, turning over more than 1/4 of the earth's population to communism in exchange for meaningless non-help to end a war we had already won!)

Apart from completely mis-judging the military strength of our position in Asia in 1944, Roosevelt also mis-judged the nature of the Soviets. He evaded their evil nature and deluded himself that he could negotiate with them as if they were trustworthy partners.

So, because of Yalta, Korea was partitioned into North and South. Then we come to the Korean War. In that war, we failed to fight for complete victory. General Douglas MacArthur, who argued for fighting to win, including bombing the Chinese who were attacking us, was fired. The North remained intact and Korea remained divided.

Now we arrive to today. Today we pay the price for the failure to properly identify the nature of our enemy at Yalta, and for our timidity in fighting the enemy in the Korean War. Today, North Korea is on the verge of threatening us in a way that they could only dream about in the early 1950s, when America had a near-monopoly on the nuclear bomb.

If appeasing, bribing and/or evading the nature of an enemy only emboldens and strengthens him, why should we continue doing that today? The United States should immediately cease providing any goods of any form to the North Koreans, either directly or through proxies such as the United Nations, South Korea, Japan or China. That is a starting point. Then we should blockade them thoroughly. No ships, no trains, nothing goes in or out of the country. At the same time, we beef up our military in South Korea and prepare for war. I would recommend, when the time is right (i.e., we are prepared) launching a first strike using nuclear bombs and obliterating their artillery batteries poised on South Korea, incinerating Pyongyang, and taking out all and sundry other targets that will render them a non-threat.

You mention that our military is stretched. Indeed it is, fighting a suicidal non-war in Iraq. That is a war that is another topic for discussion but it should be obvious that our troops should not be deployed where they are not part of a well-thought out strategy for victory over true enemies. If they are deployed for any purpose that is suicidal and self-sacrificial, they should be withdrawn. If we need to strengthen our military further, we should immediately authorize training more soldiers and securing the weapons they need. If we need to beef up our bombing capability and our nuclear capability, we should do so. If we need more "bunker buster" nuclear and conventional bombs to penetrate their dug-in positions, we should build them.

We should prepare for victory, and then we should achieve it. Anything less is to sanction and embolden a slowly strengthening modern-day band of Barbary Pirates, except that these Barbary Pirates are going nuclear. Let's get them before they really have a viable nuclear bomb to destroy our cities with.

(As an aside, I don't buy your military description of North Korea's capabilities. If we did the type of first-strike I am talking about, they will not be able to "incinerate Seoul" or "destroy Tokyo". Many of their conscript soldiers are likely to surrender, just like Saddam Hussein's army did. In any case, they are no match for the South Korean and American armies. As for people in South Korea getting killed, indeed, a number, perhaps many, will die. That is all the more reason to attack and defeat North Korea now before their capabilities strengthen even further and they can kill even more people. If only we had nuked them in the 1950s, we wouldn't be having this conversation, and the economic "miracle" of South Korea would be that much stronger, with all of the population and land mass of Korea largely free instead of just half a country with the other half bristling in starving hostility.

Another aside: It is likely North Korea would collapse at the blockade stage before a shot is fired. Russia fell without firing a shot because their economy imploded. North Korea's economy is far weaker than Russia's was in 1989. We should prepare to strike North Korea first, but by doing so, we have good odds of defeating them without firing a shot. That is the reward of military strength. Strong countries don't need to fight so many wars. It is weak countries that get attacked.)

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Great post, GB. I'm with you on the idea that the North Koreans should be easy to take out. Regimes like that are brittle. I think Saddam's Iraq would look like paradise to many North Koreans.

The key to U.S. victory in most of these conflicts is: U.S. will to fight.

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I don’t particularly like 6 party deal, but I do like the facts…

1. The deal doesn’t in any way “aid” NoKo’s nuclearization. It gives money, humanitarian aid, and fuel oil. Given that NoKo had made its nuclear program a top priority, it’s not like isolation of the regime was slowing it down. I’m sure the nuclear scientists were the last ones to be deprived of resources.

2. How would we blockade NoKo? Even if we could convince SoKo to end their Sunshine Policy (if not, would we declare war on South Korea?), how would we stop China from supplying NoKo? Would we invade China? Would we sink Japanese ships if Japan didn’t agree? Or would we just destroy the alliances that might be really important in containing China a couple of decades down the road?

3. Much of NoKo’s artillery is hidden in tunnels in the mountains, so it’s not clear that even a nuclear attack would destroy it. It’s very likely that NoKo would retain the capacity to retaliate against Seoul and possibly even Japan. Moreover, the nuclear fallout would definitely affect South Korea. I’m sorry if some don’t “buy” my characterization, but those are the facts. If anyone has arguments from a credible military analyst explaining how a first strike could disable NoKo retaliatory capacity, then I might change my position on the matter.

4. The North Korea military, unlike the Iraqi army, is in an extremely defensive position, and there’s no evidence they’re eager to surrender. Certainly, we shouldn’t enter the war with wildly optimistic assumptions. Remember what happened last time we did that? The Iraqis greeted us as liberators and the oil revenues paid for the war!

5. Would a blockade collapse the regime? Even under conditions of extreme starvation (like the late 1990s) the regime didn’t collapse. In the end, the army and security forces get fed, which seems to be enough to sustain the regime. Is there any evidence at all to support the thesis that blockades and/or sanctions collapse tyrannical regimes? In fact, empirical evidence suggests the opposite. Yeah economic malaise led to the collapse of the Soviet Union, but that was under conditions of engagement, not isolation.

6. It will be years before the US is ready to fight another conventional war or has bunker busters (if we decided to really work at building them). By then, NoKo will have several nukes if pessimistic assumptions about their propensity to cheat are correct (which is probably the case). Should we invade them now when we’re not ready, or later when they have nukes? Surely there must be another option, like containment…you know the policy that actually brought down the Soviet Union.

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5. Would a blockade collapse the regime? Even under conditions of extreme starvation (like the late 1990s) the regime didn’t collapse.

Possibly because we gave them a billion dollars worth of food to prop them up?? I think letting them starve would be a great way to deal with them if they are not aggressive.

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Possibly because we gave them a billion dollars worth of food to prop them up?? I think letting them starve would be a great way to deal with them if they are not aggressive.

North Korea was starving for quite a while before they got any humanitarian aid in the late 1990s. Literally hundreds of thousands of North Koreans starved, and there was no evidence it weakened the government. If anything, starvation aids the regime because controlling distribution of food empowers it.

More generally, I'll repeat that there is no evidence that sanctions or blockades bring down tyrannies. Can anyone give me a single example? On the other hand, there are numerous examples of policies of engagment and/or containment collapsing tyrannies and diffusing enmity. Although there is no guarantee either policy would work, there is at least some basis in reality to believe that it might.

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North Korea was starving for quite a while before they got any humanitarian aid in the late 1990s. Literally hundreds of thousands of North Koreans starved, and there was no evidence it weakened the government. If anything, starvation aids the regime because controlling distribution of food empowers it.

More generally, I'll repeat that there is no evidence that sanctions or blockades bring down tyrannies. Can anyone give me a single example? On the other hand, there are numerous examples of policies of engagement and/or containment collapsing tyrannies and diffusing enmity. Although there is no guarantee either policy would work, there is at least some basis in reality to believe that it might.

You seem to be approaching this somewhat pragmatically, and I mean that in the bad way. I could argue that hundreds of thousands were not enough. It would probably take many millions and many more years before significant social change could occur. Eventually they run out of money for nukes as well as food. The problem with those policies isn't that they didn't work, it was that they were not instituted long enough to take full effect. They have been propped up in one way or another by the soviets or our dumb asses for their existence as a country. So no, I cannot provide examples of economic blockades that have worked but there are many examples of how stealing money from your own people to feed their bitter avowed enemies does not work, which brings us to the more important point of principles.

If a group of people want you dead and claim they will act in that way, giving them money is called appeasement. It is also called giving justification to evil. Even if we are to assume that feeding the whole rotten country is the most likely path to keep them from attacking us, it is the wrong thing to do. The right thing is to let them attack us and then obliterate them. And make that policy clear before they attempt it.

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North Korea was starving for quite a while before they got any humanitarian aid in the late 1990s. Literally hundreds of thousands of North Koreans starved, and there was no evidence it weakened the government. If anything, starvation aids the regime because controlling distribution of food empowers it.

More generally, I'll repeat that there is no evidence that sanctions or blockades bring down tyrannies. Can anyone give me a single example? On the other hand, there are numerous examples of policies of engagment and/or containment collapsing tyrannies and diffusing enmity. Although there is no guarantee either policy would work, there is at least some basis in reality to believe that it might.

What is gained by feeding the enemy? One can argue that food aid we gave the Soviet Union when their economy was collapsing in the 1970s kept that totalitarian state propped up for another 15 years.

If we feed our enemy, why don't we send them money to build weapons, too? Wait a second, we're already doing that in the case of North Korea. :)

Edited by Galileo Blogs
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If a group of people want you dead and claim they will act in that way, giving them money is called appeasement. It is also called giving justification to evil. Even if we are to assume that feeding the whole rotten country is the most likely path to keep them from attacking us, it is the wrong thing to do. The right thing is to let them attack us and then obliterate them. And make that policy clear before they attempt it.

North Korea never threatened that they want us dead. The US is just against them having nukes on principle because they are a totalitarian state. Personally I don't think the North Korean leadership is developed nukes in order to attack others, but rather to have as a deterrent for maintaining the status quo.

I am not sure, by the way, if the right thing to do would be to let them nuke us first. All that would happen is that we'd lose ten or twenty million in New York or LA, in exchange for turning a tiny piece of land into a nuclear wasteland for the next hundred years. It is essentially a lose-lose situation. Not to mention any potential radioactive fallout and pollution that would end up affecting South Korea, China, and Russia.

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North Korea never threatened that they want us dead. The US is just against them having nukes on principle because they are a totalitarian state. Personally I don't think the North Korean leadership is developed nukes in order to attack others, but rather to have as a deterrent for maintaining the status quo.

I am not sure, by the way, if the right thing to do would be to let them nuke us first. All that would happen is that we'd lose ten or twenty million in New York or LA, in exchange for turning a tiny piece of land into a nuclear wasteland for the next hundred years. It is essentially a lose-lose situation. Not to mention any potential radioactive fallout and pollution that would end up affecting South Korea, China, and Russia.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/korea/article/0,,889679,00.html

Pyongyang asserts right to pre-emptive attack as tensions rise over American build-up

You are attempting to predict the outcome and avoid it pragmatically. The possible negative consequences of principled action do not justify stealing money to feed them. That is the same as the defense of welfare programs that is frequently used. "If we don't take care of the downtrodden out of some sense of noblesse oblige, then the poor will turn to crime and rob us."

That said, I would be very surprised if they did successfully launch a nuke at new york, especially if we were not funding them. Without outside support they would slowly starve and wither away.

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North Korea never threatened that they want us dead. The US is just against them having nukes on principle because they are a totalitarian state. Personally I don't think the North Korean leadership is developed nukes in order to attack others, but rather to have as a deterrent for maintaining the status quo.

I am not sure, by the way, if the right thing to do would be to let them nuke us first. All that would happen is that we'd lose ten or twenty million in New York or LA, in exchange for turning a tiny piece of land into a nuclear wasteland for the next hundred years. It is essentially a lose-lose situation. Not to mention any potential radioactive fallout and pollution that would end up affecting South Korea, China, and Russia.

Sorry, Moebius. The U.S. doesn't ask for permission to act in its own self-defense. If North Korea's gaining of a nuclear bomb is a threat, we should do what it takes to end it. Bad consequences for North Korea's neighbors are blood on the hands of North Korea, not us. The point of my post is that if the United States had a principled view of its right to self-defense at the beginning (i.e., as early as 1944), North Korea never would have come into existence in the first place. The solution now is not to consider continuing the immoral policy of appeasing the enemy which has brought us to the difficult situation we now face. Rather, it is to stop appeasing the enemy, and forthrightly take steps to protect ourselves, which means ending the North Korean threat.

I am hopeful that if we begin to assert our self-interest in a principled manner, North Korea probably would wither on the vine, as Aequalsa asserts. Then again, that may not happen and we should be prepared to do what is necessary to end this militarily.

As for whether North Korea is a threat, Aequalsa has cited information regarding Pyongyang's intentions. Actually, we just need to judge this regime by its actions. They are an outlaw nation that will sell anything to the highest bidder to gain the cash that Kim Jong Il needs to pay for his lifestyle. That would include selling nuclear bombs to interested Middle Eastern parties, would it not?

No free country stays free for long when it risks nuclear annihilation of its cities in the cowardly hope that it will not have to confront an enemy. We have cowardly failed to confront North Korea for 50+ years now, and now they are on the verge of having viable nuclear weapons technology. That is enough. It is time to stand up.

Edited by Galileo Blogs
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Perhaps if the US had acted differently sixty years ago NoKo wouldn't be a problem. And perhaps if China and SoKo stopped propping up NoKo it would collapse--although massive starvation (even to the point of millions) doesn't really seem to phase communist regimes. But then again, if frogs had wings they wouldn't bump their ass on the ground when they hopped.

It's great to talk about upholding principles of self-defense. I'm all for it, but I haven't seen anyone on this forum explain how to apply those principles in the context of NoKo. Some people have suggested preemptively attacking NoKo. Maybe that is the best policy, but people advocating that should at least acknowledge the real costs in millions of allied Asian civillian deaths and tens of thousands of American lives. Don't let Kim's bad haircut and goofy grin fool you. The NoKo military is not to be taken lightly...

I've asked repeatedly for anyone on this forum to produce a single example of sanctions/blockades bringing down a tyrannical government. If the moral is practical, there should be at least one practical instantiation of people's theories. Or maybe people need to re-evaluate the content of their moral principles within the context of foreign policy.

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I've asked repeatedly for anyone on this forum to produce a single example of sanctions/blockades bringing down a tyrannical government. If the moral is practical, there should be at least one practical instantiation of people's theories. Or maybe people need to re-evaluate the content of their moral principles within the context of foreign policy.

The problem isn't with the principles. Examples are lacking because there is no country on earth acting consistently with principles. No one has tried letting a communist country starve itself into oblivion. Eventually it has to work because eventually everyone there is dead. When North Korea has a population of 18,007 it is not going to be a major worry.

Feudalism ended largely because of the plague and ensuing famines that annihilated 2/3's of Europe's population. Labor was scarce. It took a couple centuries but it changed western culture in a pretty significant way. A two year blockade isn't enough. Maybe 10 or 20 is needed. They'll come to a breaking point eventually. It is the nature of communism.

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I've asked repeatedly for anyone on this forum to produce a single example of sanctions/blockades bringing down a tyrannical government. If the moral is practical, there should be at least one practical instantiation of people's theories. Or maybe people need to re-evaluate the content of their moral principles within the context of foreign policy.

I already provided the opposite example, of aid propping up a dying Communist regime, the Soviet Union. If we had not provided that aid, it is highly reasonable that country would have collapsed far sooner.

Extrapolate the same principle to North Korea.

As for your hyperbolic view of deaths from an attack, I think it is just that, hyperbole. In any case, even if it were true as you describe, it has no bearing whatsoever on the moral right of the United States to defend itself.

It really doesn't need to be said, but I will say it anyway. When I say defend itself, I mean according to our rational self-interest. That means properly preparing our self-defense, and executing it properly, not just blindly lashing out against the enemy. The implication that self-defense requires some sort of unthoughtful lashing out at North Korea is a very flimsy strawman. If the right principle of self-defense is understood and accepted by our political leaders and military generals, I will trust them to devise the right policy. As an armchair, non-military expert, I laid out some elements of what I thought such a military plan would look like in my post above.

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I already provided the opposite example, of aid propping up a dying Communist regime, the Soviet Union. If we had not provided that aid, it is highly reasonable that country would have collapsed far sooner.

Extrapolate the same principle to North Korea.

As for your hyperbolic view of deaths from an attack, I think it is just that, hyperbole. In any case, even if it were true as you describe, it has no bearing whatsoever on the moral right of the United States to defend itself.

It really doesn't need to be said, but I will say it anyway. When I say defend itself, I mean according to our rational self-interest. That means properly preparing our self-defense, and executing it properly, not just blindly lashing out against the enemy. The implication that self-defense requires some sort of unthoughtful lashing out at North Korea is a very flimsy strawman. If the right principle of self-defense is understood and accepted by our political leaders and military generals, I will trust them to devise the right policy. As an armchair, non-military expert, I laid out some elements of what I thought such a military plan would look like in my post above.

Which of the following statements is more true?

1. If we had blockaded the USSR, it would have collapsed more quickly.

2. If we had blockaded the USSR, it would have disappeared into a wormhole.

Well, it's kind of trick question. They're both equally and absolutely true. Sure, you can always say that if that if leaders followed my unsubstantiated theory, then the world would be better. On the other hand, we can look at numerous case-studies like Iran, Iraq, Cuba, Syria, North Korea, Sudan, Libya, etc. where decades of sanctions did jack-squat. Maybe in the long-run communist countries will implode, but in the long run we'll all be dead. If one wants to look for examples where countries moved away from tyranny, one would have to go to places where there was engagement with the West (Vietnam, China, USSR, numerous Latin American countries, etc.). I don't think the current 6 party deal will accomplish much, but let's not pretend that blockading them will either.

Moreover, the whole discusion about blockading is academic since China and SoKo will prop up NoKo whatever we do.

Finally, I agree we have the right to invade NoKo, but that doesn't make it a good idea. My assessment of the results of the invasion are based on numerous reports by experts of NoKo, so until you acquaint yourself with some facts concerning NoKo military capability please don't call my predictions hyperbole. I also challenged people to come up with a single military expert to support their Pollyannish assessment of what would happen if we invaded NoKo. You might find some editorials in the Washington Times from archair experts, but no one with military knowledge of the Korean peninsulla believes an invasion would be easy. Also, given the Bush administration's track record in Iraq, I wouldn't trust our "political leaders" to invade Montenegro.

P.S. I loved aequalsa's argument "The fact that my theory is supported by no evidence just means it needs to be applied more rigorously" (I paraphrase) Right... and I'm sure Bush's surge will bring democracy to Iraq. If it didn't violate the rules, I'd be tempted to advertise for Florida real estate on this forum...

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http://www.guardian.co.uk/korea/article/0,,889679,00.html

You are attempting to predict the outcome and avoid it pragmatically. The possible negative consequences of principled action do not justify stealing money to feed them. That is the same as the defense of welfare programs that is frequently used. "If we don't take care of the downtrodden out of some sense of noblesse oblige, then the poor will turn to crime and rob us."

First of all, the link you sent basically showed that the United States was in fact the one that made the initial threat, whereas North Korea is saying that they reserve the right to pre-emptive strike. And you know what, North Korea is absolutely right when they said that pre-emptive strike is not the exclusive right of the United States. Whatever other moral problems the government has, in the case of developing a nuclear weapon and proclaiming "if you threaten or fuck with us, we will retaliate with force" is completely rational and therefore ethical. If in the VTech shooting thread virtually everyone agreed that one has the right to bear arms in order to defend themselves, the same principle should extend to nations protecting their country with nuclear weapons, given that it is by far the single best choice for national defense.

Second of all, I am no more predicting the outcome than you when you said that North Korea would simply wither and die if we blockaded them. Furthermore, I am in no way agreeing that we should feed them. What I was responding to was specifically your comment that the "right" action would be to let them nuke us first and then completely obliterate them. Principled action does not require that you take a nuke to the dome before doing something about it.

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P.S. I loved aequalsa's argument "The fact that my theory is supported by no evidence just means it needs to be applied more rigorously" (I paraphrase) Right... and I'm sure Bush's surge will bring democracy to Iraq. If it didn't violate the rules, I'd be tempted to advertise for Florida real estate on this forum...

And aequalsa loves your concrete bound responses. Try this exercise in principled thinking:

Capitalism is a ridiculously, naive economic system. No examples of laissez faire capitalism exist on the planet so we should embrace socialism as the only realistic approach to economics. See any problems with my reasoning?

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First of all, the link you sent basically showed that the United States was in fact the one that made the initial threat, whereas North Korea is saying that they reserve the right to pre-emptive strike. And you know what, North Korea is absolutely right when they said that pre-emptive strike is not the exclusive right of the United States. Whatever other moral problems the government has, in the case of developing a nuclear weapon and proclaiming "if you threaten or fuck with us, we will retaliate with force" is completely rational and therefore ethical. If in the VTech shooting thread virtually everyone agreed that one has the right to bear arms in order to defend themselves, the same principle should extend to nations protecting their country with nuclear weapons, given that it is by far the single best choice for national defense.

Second of all, I am no more predicting the outcome than you when you said that North Korea would simply wither and die if we blockaded them. Furthermore, I am in no way agreeing that we should feed them. What I was responding to was specifically your comment that the "right" action would be to let them nuke us first and then completely obliterate them. Principled action does not require that you take a nuke to the dome before doing something about it.

For starters, I didn't say let them nuke us, I said let them attack. If evidence were provided that they were intending to launch a nuke our way, a preemptive strike would be morally justifiable. I personally would be really surprised if they attacked or attempted to nuke the US.

Second, I haven't advocated blockades. You don't need them. They have nothing worth trading. What I said is that we ought not to feed them. Since that is what the post was originally about.

Read my posts again. You seem to have gotten all hot and bothered and read things I did not write.

Now, regarding the issue of the governments rights, I do not believe that they exist except as a derivitive of the rights of the people living in it. As North Korea stands now, it's citizens have no rights, ergo neither does North Korea.

A rational response "is therefore ethical" as you say. But what you propose is not a rational response. A rational response would be for kim il to turn his country into a individual rights-based republic and stop lobbing missles over Japan. His threat to preemptively attack is what I would expect from the little, neurotic thug because it is a short-term, unprincipled response to a threat to his power without any understanding of the longterm effects of his actions. That is not, therefore, a rational or moral response.

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