Saturday, July 08, 2006

North Korea Reality, And Why Neither Sanctions Nor Military Action Will Work

Many Americans took great comfort that the long range North Korean missile test failed earlier this week. But that is hardly any reason for comfort. North Korea has many missiles that can hit a range of 2,000 miles from submarines. And with as many as 35 submarines, some of which are missile launch capable, North Korea simply has to mount nuclear warheads on these missiles and pull within 1,500 miles of Honolulu, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Seattle or Portland coast lines. This is hardly any reason for comfort.

And with Venezuela's Hugo Chavez planning a trip to North Korea soon, that could even result in future missiles in South America that could be brought within range of U.S. targets. This could result in a new Cuban style missile crisis, like the frightening standoff of 1962.

And with a constant effort of propaganda to anger and enrage the North Korean masses against the U.S.. the prospects for a deadly border clash along the DMZ, spinning out of control into a serious incident triggering a giant war are more likely than since the 1950 war. With thousands of North Korean rockets and missiles, chemical, biological or even a few nuclear weapons, and a one million man army, it is likely that anywhere from tens of thousands to as many as one million persons could die from a serious incident triggering an attack on South Korea and American forces there.

The North Korean missile launches were a cry for attention. The country is in deep poverty where hunger and starvation are two of the nation's largest growth industries. In anger, Japan wants sanctions. And the U.S. is probably closer to that viewpoint as well. For the wrong reasons, both China and Russia oppose sanctions.

Opposing both sanctions and military action is probably the right course. If North Korea is in deep poverty, economic incentives such as entry into the World Bank funds or other economic outlets should be offered in exchange for a UNSCOM inspection efforts to destroy long range and nuclear weapons technology. There needs to be more North Korean contact with the outside world, along with world community business investment. Right now this is impossible in a nation that still executes citizens by firing squad for any contact with the outside world.

China needs to prod North Korea in the direction of becoming a capitalistic state like they have done so well in recent years. For all intents, the Chinese Communists are currently the world's best capitalists. North Korea should learn from this example.

China regularly has international travelers and tourism. North Korea should also learn from these examples as well.

North Korea needs to be pragmatic and realize that Communist governments in China and Vietnam have found that attracting foreign investment, increasing the wealth of affluence of the people, makes for a happy population, not ruthless control over the lives of persons who are brainwashed with "dear leader" propaganda 24/7. This old line Stalinist regime, needs to see the light.

Using missiles to get the world's attention is absolutely the wrong way for North Korea tp resolve any of it's problems. But making constructive steps towards geniune change at home to becoming a better nation is needed. China might be in the best position to prod this along. But sanctions or military action of any type could likely only worsen the situation at this point. Neither the U.S., nor the world community should do anything that could provoke a military response from North Korea that could trigger a serious regional war. War needs to be avoided at all costs. including shooting down of any missiles unless the U.S., Japan or South Korea are actually threatened.

Efforts to integrate North Korea into the world community, not isolate it, probably are the best course. Hoping that more starvation or poverty in North Korea will creat a govenment collapse is cruel wishful thinking. A more integrated North Korea that becomes a responsible world community member, where more outside world contact and foreign investment and mutual business dealings similar to either Vietnamese or Chinese Communist government examples must be intended goal of the world community. The people of North Korea have suffered more than enough from their radical Stalinist government, and do not need more suffering to further enrage and strain their relationship from the rest of the world.


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