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South Korea agrees to feed North Korea

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DarkWaters
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I can't think of "diddly-squat" to add to this discussion about "NoKo." I believe the points I have made already are clear, and do not desire to repeat them. I will emphasize some different points.

As for North Korea being rational (Moebius's post) or having a right of self-defense, I will simply state that dictatorships have no right to exist, and therefore no right of self-defense. Any society that violates the rights of its citizens cannot claim sovereignty.

This discussion reminds me of the "better red than dead" campaign in the 1980s over U.S. plans to augment its nuclear missiles in Europe. Plenty of frightened college students who seriously thought surrender to the Soviets was a better option than confronting them coined that phrase. Who would have known that the Soviets were to collapse only a few years later under a "hawkish" President, Ronald Reagan, who scared the be-Jesus out of the Soviets with an enormous military build-up?

That is but an example. Certainly, one must know the principle that bullies, whether individuals or countries, only respond positively to strength. Weakness, whether it is deliberate military weakness or the payment of bribes (like giving your lunch money to the class bully) only encourages the bully further.

North Korea is that bully but a pathetically weak one. Only through prolonged, steady inaction have we reached the point where they are on the verge of having a practical nuclear bomb (and may already have the ability to make limited nuclear bombs). This country is a small threat, made larger through our inaction. Now, what is our course of action to be? More inaction, and strengthening of this tiny country, or resolute action to eliminate the threat. By the way, I do not accept the false alternative that resolute action means an immediate first strike. It does mean stopping all booty we pay them, and then it means a blockade, all the while preparing aggressively for a military confrontation which may prove necessary.

Interestingly, other small countries in the region depend heavily on U.S. strength for their sovereignty, such as Taiwan. South Korea has our troops and Taiwan has the U.S. Navy. Freedom comes from strength.

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Interestingly, other small countries in the region depend heavily on U.S. strength for their sovereignty, such as Taiwan. South Korea has our troops and Taiwan has the U.S. Navy. Freedom comes from strength.

It's not really that interesting because the United States intentionally kept the situation that way. Taiwan had a nuclear program about a decade back which the United States immediately squashed on the grounds that it would de-stablize the region (as in, interrupt their trade with China, democracy and human rights be damned). This is despite the fact that China had fired missiles in a "military exercise" over Taiwan.

It certainly isn't as if any country with a democratic government would be allowed to just go out and build themselves a nuke, even if they have a very good reason and is doing so out of self-defense. And it is within the US's (short term) self-interest to keep the small countries in Asia dependent on American military aid in order for them to contain China.

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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?

Most socio-political theories that have validity demonstrate some success even when implemented imperfectly. Capitalism has never been implemented perfectly, and yet it demonstrates remarkabe sucess even in its imperfect forms, and the more perfectly it's implemented, the more successful it is. Now that's a good theory!

If only the people supporting sanctions and blockades could be so lucky. It's a strange theory indeed that proves completely false except when it's implemented perfectly, but since it will never be implemented perfectly, I suppose people like aequalsa will never have to confront reality...

As for Galileo blogs, what is "resolute action to eliminate the threat"? An invasion? If so, please cough up some military analysis indicating it wouldn't be a disaster rather than just rhetoric that NoKo is "pathetically weak." Moreover, no one has exmplained what a "blockade" would mean when China will supply them. If you're advocating we go to war with China too, please admit as such and defend that policy as well.

Many Objectivists seem well versed in the history of what went wrong after WWII, and seem to have the tough-sounding rhetoric of "self-defense" down pat, but they do quite poorly when asked to explain the details of what a self-interested foreign policy would mean given nasty geopolitical realities.

Finally, I think Reagan proves my point. I'm advocating containment plus tough diplomacy, which is exactly the policy Regan pursued against the USSR. I'm not saying we shouldn't put more weaponry on the peninsulla. In fact, if we could get beter TMDs (theater missile defense systems) and figure out a way to eliminate their dug-in artillery, then maybe a first strike could some day be an option. But that's at least a decade away.

Freedom comes through strength, but how do we demonstrate that we're strong? I think I have offered good arguments against invasion or a blockade. In the end, the country that may be strongest vis-a-vis NoKo is China. Probably the only good thing to come out of the 6-Party talks is that it commits China to a nuclear-free NoKo*. If NoKo does cheat (as it almost inevitably will), maybe ya'll will get your blockade wish...

*We shouldn't underestmiate how much China fears North Korean nuclearization. Outside of the obvious dangers, China fears that it will prompt Japanese nuclearization, which is China's real nightmare. The only glimmer of optimism in the whole sorry mess is that there are real reasons to believe China might reign in NoKo.

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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.

Fine, you said attacked and I said nuke. For all intents and purposes we would react the same either way -- we would crush them. So obviously they would do neither. Doesn't really change the context of what I said even if you exchanged the word "nuke" with "attack".

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.

On the topic of blockades you said "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.

So I assumed that since you're arguing that blockades does work and would solve the problem, you're advocating it. Never once did I disagree that it doesn't make sense for the United States to feed NoKo.

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

Actually I'm neither hot nor bothered. You wrote what you wrote, and if I misinterpreted it, I apologize. But when you're arguing for the effectiveness of a particular action in a discussion, it isn't all that strange to assume that you're advocating that position.

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.

I guess you could argue that Kim Jong Ill's basic values are wrong, immoral, or irrational. But given that he is what he is, what he is doing is fully rational, albeit built on the wrong foundations -- the United States threatens me, so I'm going to build nukes and use it if they ever fuck with me. It's the exact same rationale with which the United States used to justify the attack on Iraq. Besides, there is nothing that cements a dictatorship better than having nuclear warheads, whether in the short run or the long run. I fully expect Kim to live out the rest of his life with his dozens of concubines, hundreds of Rolls Royces, and billions of dollars.

Note that I am not justifying the type of government Kim is running. I am just suggesting that, given his values, developing nuclear bombs is the most logical conclusion. However I do agree that it isn't moral because its fundamental philosophical foundations are wrong.

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Most socio-political theories that have validity demonstrate some success even when implemented imperfectly. Capitalism has never been implemented perfectly, and yet it demonstrates remarkabe sucess even in its imperfect forms, and the more perfectly it's implemented, the more successful it is. Now that's a good theory!

If only the people supporting sanctions and blockades could be so lucky. It's a strange theory indeed that proves completely false except when it's implemented perfectly, but since it will never be implemented perfectly, I suppose people like aequalsa will never have to confront reality...

And likewise cutting off free money and food, embargos, and blockades have not been instituted perfectly in recent history. A castle siege was a type of blockade and it worked remarkably well. The people inside starved and dwindled. The reality that I am, in point of fact, dealing with, is that when communists control a country, industry breaks down and little is produced. If no one gives them food or goods, then they will not have food or goods. Is it your contention that communists do produce enough goods to go on indefinitely or that other countries will always try to sneak in aid?

So I assumed that since you're arguing that blockades does work and would solve the problem, you're advocating it.

Blockades are a side issue that someone else brought up. To be clear, what I am arguing is that a country should never feed it's avowed enemies. They should take no actions which benefit a government which is fundamentally immoral, and especially when they are also contentious.

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I guess you could argue that Kim Jong Ill's basic values are wrong, immoral, or irrational. But given that he is what he is, what he is doing is fully rational, albeit built on the wrong foundations -- the United States threatens me, so I'm going to build nukes and use it if they ever fuck with me. It's the exact same rationale with which the United States used to justify the attack on Iraq. Besides, there is nothing that cements a dictatorship better than having nuclear warheads, whether in the short run or the long run. I fully expect Kim to live out the rest of his life with his dozens of concubines, hundreds of Rolls Royces, and billions of dollars.

Note that I am not justifying the type of government Kim is running. I am just suggesting that, given his values, developing nuclear bombs is the most logical conclusion. However I do agree that it isn't moral because its fundamental philosophical foundations are wrong.

It really doesn't matter why Kim Jong Il does what he does. Regardless of his motivation, he represents an objective threat to the safety of the United States and the other countries in the region. He is a low-scale threat through his counterfeiting activities and support of terrorism. He is a persistent threat because of the presence of his army poised to attack South Korea. However, he is a major and direct threat to the United States because of his nuclear weapons development program. That is why he must be stopped.

I see no point in hashing out from my armchair the particulars of how he is to be stopped. If political leaders would accept the principle that he should be, they can come up with the best strategy. The United States may have some time left to pursue means short of military attack, such as an embargo on all aid and trade to North Korea. However, that window of opportunity is running out if it hasn't already. That window of opportunity runs out when North Korea develops a viable and practical nuclear bomb. At that point, we will have no choice but to attack.

Interesting how weakness brought us to the point where there may be no solution other than a military confrontation. Weakness causes war, not strength. Appeasement of the enemy causes war. It did so in World War II. It is doing so today.

(Our weakness was our appeasement of the North Koreans by funding their weapons program and keeping their economy afloat by paying them booty and by allowing other countries to do so, etc., as I stated in earlier posts.)

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I see no point in hashing out from my armchair the particulars of how he is to be stopped. If political leaders would accept the principle that he should be, they can come up with the best strategy.

The Bush administration has accepted the principle that NoKo should be stopped, and has come up with their "best strategy," the 6-Party deal... But I guess you meant the X-strategy, much like Bush's "Plan B" in Iraq... a strategy that must be kept secret, even from ourselves, lest the enemy know our plans.

On the other hand, I would like to give props to my opponents on this forum for firmly implanting in my mind the image of Kim as a pirate. Pirates, like chimps, are inherently funny; and the idea of Kim in a pirate suit really makes my day.

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...

On the other hand, I would like to give props to my opponents on this forum for firmly implanting in my mind the image of Kim as a pirate. Pirates, like chimps, are inherently funny; and the idea of Kim in a pirate suit really makes my day.

Chimps and pirates with nukes? Maybe not so funny. :lol: + :huh: = :huh:

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Is your humor meant as an argument? It is not.

Why nuclear bombs in the hands of a dictator is funny to you is beyond me. Was the German army in the hands of Hitler funny? Was the Japanese fleet steaming toward Hawaii in 1941 funny?

There is nothing funny about nuclear bombs in the hands of Kim Jong Il.

Perhaps those who find it funny, who focus on something as inconsequential as his haircut instead of the serious threat he represents, is why the United States hasn't taken him seriously all these years. Meanwhile, he keeps steadily working on his Bomb.

Hitler's mustache looked funny to a lot of Europeans before World War II. On September 1, 1939, it stopped being so funny.

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Is your humor meant as an argument? It is not.

Why nuclear bombs in the hands of a dictator is funny to you is beyond me. Was the German army in the hands of Hitler funny? Was the Japanese fleet steaming toward Hawaii in 1941 funny?

To be fair, you and Thales were the ones who kept talking about pirates and booty. Was that meant as serious foreign policy analysis? I guess I misunderstood and took it as an opening to start making jokes about pirates. Let's make a deal: I'll admit my jokes aren't funny if you admit that none of your prescriptions have any backing in empirical evidence or security analysis.

Taking something seriously and joking about it aren't mutually exclusive. I thought my assessments were sobering and depressing, although I do find Kim a comical figure. Hitler was also funny as portrayed in "Springtime for Hitler" in "The Producers."

"Who amongst you can laugh and be elevated at the same time?"--Nietzsche

"Arrgh, A-Hoy Matey! Thar be nuclear armed submarines in them waters."--Anonymous

"As long as I can remember, I have wanted to be a pirate. As long as I can remember, I have wanted to sail the navy seas."--Kathy Acker

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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.

Kothor,

You're letting your mouth run away with you a bit. Show some respect to the people you are talking to, and you may get some answers to your questions. That said, since you asked, here are some historical examples of effective military blockades and sieges (selected from Wikipedia articles on blockades and sieges):

* The Spartan blockade of Athens following the Battle of Aegospotami, depriving Athens of the ability to import grain or communicate with its empire.

* The Dutch Republic's blockade of the Scheldt between 1585 and 1792, denying Spanish-ruled Antwerp's access to international trade and shifting much of its trade to Amsterdam.

* British blockade of France and its allies during the French Revolutionary War and Napoleonic War

* British blockade of the United States east coast during the War of 1812

* Union Blockade - the Union blockading the coasts of the Confederacy during the American Civil War

* Battle of Iquique during the War of the Pacific

* British blockade of Germany during World War I as a part of the First Battle of the Atlantic, and continued after the Armistice and into 1919, in order to force Germany to sign the Treaty of Versailles.

* The Second Battle of the Atlantic during World War II

* United States blockade of Japan during World War II

* The German blockade of the Scheldt between September 1944 and November 1944, denying to allied shipping use of the port of Antwerp. (See Battle of the Scheldt.)

* United States blockade of Cuba during the Cuban missile crisis in 1962

* Soviet land blockade of West Berlin, 1948–1949, known as the Berlin Blockade.

# Siege of Fort Sumter (1861)Beginning of the Civil War, by Confederates, but was also later besieged later in the War by Union soldiers.

# Siege of Vicksburg (1863) — Union army besieged a Confederate city in the American Civil War.

# Siege of Port Hudson (1863) - Union Army surrounded Confederate river stronghold for 48 days.

Other effective military sieges (from my memory):

# Siege of Leningrad (1941–1944) - also known as the 900-Day Siege, probably the most gruesome in history, World War II

# Siege of Wrocław (1945) - World War II

# [berlin blockade] (1948-1949) - No military action, but the tactic to starve a city by cutting her supply lines is a feature of a siege. The famous Berlin Air Lift supplied the city with food, coal, medical supplies and other goods for nearly a year.

# Siege of Jerusalem (1948) - 1948 Arab-Israeli War - Palestinian Arabs laid siege to the Jewish quarters of Jerusalem, but were driven back. Siege was resumed in May by regular Jordanian and Egyptian forces. Ended in armistice.

# The Siege of Dien Bien Phu (1954) - Vietnamese Viet Minh forces besieged French forces, effecting a final defeat on France's colonial occupation

# Siege of Erenköy (1964) - Turkish Cypriots holding out against attacking Greek and Greek Cypriot forces.

Note that, in many of these examples, blockades or sieges were used to help "bring down a tyrannical government" (Napolean, Confederates, Germany and Japan during WWII, etc.). There can be no question but that blockades and sieges are effective military tactics. These tactics help deprive the enemy of the material necessary to engage in warfare. They have been used effectively for millenia. It does not take a military expert to suggest that an attack on North Korea would likely include a military blockade of some kind.

--Dan Edge

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  • 2 weeks later...
Note that, in many of these examples, blockades or sieges were used to help "bring down a tyrannical government" (Napolean, Confederates, Germany and Japan during WWII, etc.). There can be no question but that blockades and sieges are effective military tactics. These tactics help deprive the enemy of the material necessary to engage in warfare. They have been used effectively for millenia. It does not take a military expert to suggest that an attack on North Korea would likely include a military blockade of some kind.

--Dan Edge

I agree that I have a big mouth, and thanks for pushing the conversation forward by introducing some data. I agree that seiges/blockades can be an effective military tactic as part of a larger military strategy. I looked over your list, and most of your examples were blockades/seiges in the midsts of a larger war.* Are there examples when blockades/seiges/sanction alone brought down a government? More to the point...

1. NoKo has been preparing for war a very long time. Even if no more war materiel entered the country, they are quite set for a long defensive war and would have the capacity for devastating retaliatory capacity.

2. How do we blockade NoKo? Do we declare war on China and SoKo? That's why the US's preferred method of economic isolation have been "sanctions," and those do have a horrible track record of either changing or hindering the policies of hostile states. Probably the closesf thing to successful sanctions was Iraq in the 1990s, since theydid succeed in limiting Iraq's ability to rebuild its military after the first Gulf War. That's a rather unusual case since the whole world was (ostensibly) behind them, and they were imposed immediately after the Iraqi military had just been destroyed.

*I think the exceptions were the Dutch blockade of Scheldt, the British blockade of France prior to the onset of the Napoleonic wars, the very brief blockade of Cuba, and the Berlin Blockade. None of those examples seemed particularly effective.

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  • 3 weeks later...
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.

Foolish adherence to ties of blood, family and culture often lead to unfortunate results. Blood may be thicker than water and all that, but sweet reason has to enter into matters somehow.

Bob Kolker

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Here's an interesting page on rights.

http://lfc.silentcow.com/live/Rights.shtml

This page helps anyone who cannot properly evaluate, or are having trouble evaluating whether or not North Korea has the right to a nuclear weapons program.

#edit: more specifically it helps integrate 'rights' with Objectivist ethics and thus politics as such

Edited by Yankee White
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