Sunday, July 17, 2005

Kristoff on How to Bring 'Dear Leader' Around: Send Overweight US Businessmen to North Korea

Nicholas Kristoff has interesting insights from his trip into the nearly-hermetically-sealed North Korea.

A few samples:
The central paradox of North Korea is this: No government in the world today is more brutal or has failed its people more abjectly, yet it appears to be in solid control and may even have substantial popular support...

If the American policy premise about North Korea - that it is near collapse - is highly dubious, our essential policy approach is even more so. The West should be trying to break that hermetic seal, to increase interactions with North Korea and to infiltrate into North Korea the most effective subversive agents we have: overweight Western business executives.

Instead, we maintain sanctions, isolate North Korea and wait indefinitely for the regime to collapse. I'm afraid we're helping the Dear Leader [Kim Jong Il] stay in power.

Kristoff's approach is reminiscent of Henry Kissinger's and Richard Nixon's to China and the late Soviet Union: Create so many ties between the West and North Korea that constituencies for peace in both places become so great that war becomes unthinkable. Read the whole thing.

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