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Starve Them to Death
Wall Street Journal’s Solution to North Korea
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The editors at the Wall Street Journal have settled on a plan for ending the crisis in North Korea. Starve them to death.

I’m not kidding. In an article titled “Options for Removing Kim Jong In” the WSJ’s editorial board suggests that the US use “all of its tools to topple the North Korean regime” including, of course, vital food imports which keep women and children from facing an agonizing death by starvation. Here’s an excerpt from the article:

“The North is especially vulnerable to pressure this year because a severe drought from April to June reduced the early grain harvest by 30%. If the main harvest is also affected, Pyongyang may need to import more food while sanctions restrict its ability to earn foreign currency….

While the regime survived a severe famine in the 1990s, today the political consequences of a failed harvest would be severe. …. The army was once the most desirable career path; now soldiers are underpaid and underfed. North Koreans will not simply accept starvation as they did two decades ago.

Withholding food aid to bring down a government would normally be unethical, but North Korea is an exceptional case. Past aid proved to be a mistake as it perpetuated one of the most evil regimes in history. The U.N. says some 40% of the population is undernourished, even as the Kims continue to spend huge sums on weapons. Ending the North Korean state as quickly as possible is the most humane course.”

(“Options for Removing Kim Jong In”, Wall Street Journal)

“Humane”? The WSJ editors think that depriving people of enough food to stay alive is humane?

And look how cheery they sound about the fact that “40% of the population is (already) undernourished”, as if they’re already halfway towards their goal. Hurrah for the US embargo, still inflicting misery on innocent people some 6 decades after the war!

It’s sick!

Who are these people who grow up in our midst, attend our schools and universities, live in the same neighborhoods , and go to the same churches? Where do these monsters come from?

I’m reminded of what Harold Pinter said in his Nobel acceptance speech:

“What has happened to our moral sensibility? Did we ever have any? What do these words mean? Do they refer to a term very rarely employed these days – conscience? A conscience to do not only with our own acts but to do with our shared responsibility in the acts of others? Is all this dead?”

It’s sure as hell is dead at the WSJ, that’s for sure. Dead as a doornail.

And what is starvation supposed to achieve anyway? What’s the ultimate objective?

Why regime change, of course, isn’t that what it’s always about, installing a more compliant stooge to follow Washington’s diktats?

Of course it is. But how’s it supposed to work, after all, depriving people of food isn’t like giving them guns and training them to topple the regime, is it?

No, it’s not, in fact, there’s not even the remotest chance that the plan will work at all. None. But it will help to punish the Korean people for the behavior of their government. It will do that. And it will generate more suffering, unhappiness and misery. That much is certain.

Imagine if the shoe was on the other foot and North Korea had the power cut vital food supplies to people in the United States. Sure, it’s far fetched, but just think about it for a minute. How would you react? Would you gather your neighbors and friends together to concoct a plan to overthrow the government?

The idea is ridiculous, isn’t it? The editors at the WSJ know that. These are educated, intelligent men who understand how the world works and who know the impact of particular policies. They know that starvation isn’t going to lead to revolution. That’s just not going to happen.

Then why support a policy that won’t work?

Good question, but that’s where we have to veer into a very gray area of analysis, that is, trying to understand why some people are so morally malignant that they seem to enjoy inflicting pain on others. Why is that? Why are there so many cruel people in positions of power and authority?

It’s a mystery.

MIKE WHITNEY lives in Washington state. He is a contributor to Hopeless: Barack Obama and the Politics of Illusion (AK Press). Hopeless is also available in a Kindle edition. He can be reached at [email protected].

(Republished from Counterpunch by permission of author or representative)
• Category: Foreign Policy • Tags: American Media, North Korea 
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  1. Anonymous [AKA "Paulba"] says:

    “Why are there so many cruel people in positions of power?” It is estimated that 1% of the world’s population are psychopaths. They are ruthless and without empathy for others. Naturally, therefore, in a dog eat dog economy they are wildly successful. It is a scary thought realizing these people run the world.

  2. Kim Jong Un and his posse look pretty well-fed to me. Foreign aid to Korea keeps a brutal dictatorship in power, though admittedly most of it comes from China and not for humanitarian reasons.

    If a government can’t provide a civil order with functioning markets and the rule of law, then the people need to depose it and install a functional government, or petition to join an imperial power. Foreign aid just rewards despots.

    • Replies: @reiner Tor
    , @NoseytheDuke
  3. Anonymous [AKA "Bhup"] says:

    Paulba actually the numbers are put at 4% which was the number quoted by Dr. Martha Stout whereupon she said in an interview later after touring with the book that most professionals in the business said she / the numbers were seriously low.

  4. @The Anti-Gnostic

    Foreign aid

    There’s no foreign aid. North Korea is now able to pay market prices for oil. That’s the point of the previous round of sanctions, to severely reduce their exports.

  5. botazefa says:

    Refusing to trade with a country threatening nuclear violence is not the same thing as starving its people.

    • Replies: @reiner Tor
  6. @botazefa

    All countries with nuclear weapons are “threatening nuclear violence”. North Korea never said it would attack the US (except occasionally pre-emptively, which is less severe than US threats of a preventive war), but it has threatened to use nuclear weapons in case it was attacked.

    And it’s not “refusing to trade with it”, it’s forcing the rest of the world to stop trading with it, it’s akin to a blockade.

  7. Thirdeye says:

    The chowderheads at the WSJ fail to consider that shortages are baked into the North Korean system and even used by the government to enforce loyalty. An extra dole of scarce resources is the biggest incentive their government can provide for loyalty and those with the least access are in such a dire condition that they have essentially no political agency. An embargo would only reinforce DPRK’s Juche ideology. WSJ is engaging in wishful thinking when they predict that famine would have a different political result now than it did in 1993-94. Or we can look at the case of South Korea, where famine during the 1960s coincided with one of its more politically quiescent periods. Political activism rose during rapid growth of South Korea’s economy in the late 1970s, resulting in the fall of the Park regime in 1980.

    The Kim Dynasty may end, but the North Korean state will not. China will not allow that to happen until it can secure its relationship with South Korea, which probably means having US forces off the peninsula.

  8. This is yellow dog behavior:

    Yellow Dog brainwashed by Jews insults whites suffering from hurricane.

    Most of the blame must go to South Korea. North Korea is a tyrannical system where no one has any freedom. Korean-America is about leaving homeland forever and trying to be ‘white’ or ‘black’ or som puppet of Jews or homos.

    But South Korea is a democracy, and it is about time some of these people started to confront their history and come to terms with the truth.

    Considering what Germans did to Jews, no Jew would tolerate Germans killing more Jews.
    Considering US division of Korea and its bombing campaign that was near-genocidal, no sane Korean should be supporting American neo-imperialism and destructive wars. Yet, South Korean dogs are silent and servile…. even under democracy. Koreans are a race of dogs. Can’t be helped.

    • Replies: @nsa
  9. The editors at the WSJ know that. These are educated, intelligent men who understand how the world works…………

    These editors are the scum of the Earth. War mongers. They are in the service of evil.

  10. nsa says:
    @Priss Factor

    Mass murdering civilians is a ZUSA specialty. Bombs Away Lemay bragged that he had killed 20% of the Korean civilian population…..he was proud of it……little kids, grannies, goldfish, but not puppy dogs as the Koreans ate all those. When asked how many he was willing to kill to achieve “victory”, he replied “all of them”. LeMay learned his trade firebombing Jap and German cities. Just kill as many civilians as possible was the strategy… pretense of a military target. His military career culminated in the mass bombing of Vietnam. Interesting to note that LeMay was born and raised a Methodist…..

    • Replies: @reiner Tor
    , @reiner Tor
  11. Mr Whitney troubled times we r living in the west
    From academics to politicians , unionist ,environmentalist’s and western society in general are all into confirmation bias. This is the beginning of the post modern dark ages.
    Look around every corner of the western globe. Failing economic model, failing political model failing social model.
    Mussolini in this early days of his regime coined the phrase LO STATO CORPORATO The corporate state. . The fusion of corporations and the state of the nation. Modernist coin this phrase as CORPORATOCRACY . . Fascism is alive and well in the west and the elite class know and fear that their narrative is no longer holding any water. Hence all pax-americana /anglo-zionist have left is war and more war and of course bread and circuses.
    Since Bubba Clinton to this day how many failed sovereign states are littered around the globe. Hell Truth justice and the American way has left a bitter taste since WW2 ask any Korean, Vietnamese, African , ME Arab or South American.

  12. @The Anti-Gnostic

    It’s hard to disagree that NK is a dictatorship but is it more brutal than the US?

    “If a government can’t provide a civil order with functioning markets and the rule of law, then the people need to depose it and install a functional government”

    That could also be said of the US so let the deposing begin.

    • Replies: @reiner Tor
  13. @nsa

    Mass murdering civilians is a ZUSA specialty.

    That’s wrong. Many other powers have done that, and the US is not a particularly bad offender in that respect.

  14. @nsa

    Just kill as many civilians as possible was the strategy… pretense of a military target.

    That was not totally true, at least definitely not in the case of the Germans. There the idea was on one hand to destroy German military production and clean up the rubble, diverting resources from it (it didn’t totally succeed, but it did put a cap on the production and slowed down its growth rate) and to force the Germans to protect their cities, which in turn led to a huge diversion of resources into anti-aircraft gun production and also into interceptor fighter production. After late 1943 another goal was to defeat the German fighter force with the long-range escort fighters, and they also achieved that goal. This resulted in the Luftwaffe being destroyed in the months before the Normandy invasion. Of course, innocent women and children had to be killed in order to reach these military goals, but I don’t think Nazi Germany had much of a moral ground to complain about it.

  15. @NoseytheDuke

    It’s hard to disagree that NK is a dictatorship but is it more brutal than the US?

    Probably more brutal, but way less brutal than a war would be…

  16. anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    Their humanity really leaps out doesn’t it? Hey, what’s a million or two dead Koreans to us anyway? Apart from their lack of human warmth it’s notable that they’re just some simple thinkers. Squeeze the population via starvation and that leads in a linear way to regime change. That’s not a given by any means. This is one more example of how stupid and incompetent all these supposedly smart and educated people really are. The emperor has no clothes.

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