Friday, December 04, 2009

Melbourne Lefty wrong on North Korea

It's still early days at Asian Correspondent but so far its bloggers haven't interacted much, pretty much writing their posts in isolation. It seems to me greater interaction amongst the bloggers might liven things up a bit. So as the resident boat-rocker - every time my inbox "dings" I can't help thinking "what have I done now" - I'm going to do some "stirring".

In his most recent post Melbourne Lefty rightly notes that no-one is prepared to do anything about North Korea's appalling treatment of its own citizens. This inaction is credited to fear of North Korea's nuclear arsenal.

When the world talks about "regime change" it means restoring human rights to the countries without their own nukes.

This ignores that no-one did anything about North Korea's human rights violations during the 50-plus years it wasn't nuclear capable - Douglas MacArthur might have solved the problem back in the early 1950s but Truman didn't really want to be credited with nuclear attacks on both Japan and China, the big chicken. And who other than Uncle Sam could or can do anything about North Korea anyway? It's not like the International Criminal Court can send in an Interpol SWAT team to arrest Kim Jong Il and drag him back to the west for trial. So it seems to me ML is implying that the US should get in there and solve the North Korea problem. Now as a Barry Goldwater type I wholeheartedly approve of this approach but the Left would kick and scream up a storm if the US took military action - South Koreans might be somewhat miffed if Seoul ended up a smouldering glow-in-the-dark crater (but this could happen eventually even without provocation).

ML posits that the leaders of resource-rich countries "are most at risk of finding themselves before the ICC". Nope.

The court has received complaints about alleged crimes in at least 139 countries but, as of October 2009, the Prosecutor has opened investigations into just four situations: Uganda, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the Central African Republic and Darfur.

At least superficially dark skin is the primary requirement for the ICC taking notice.

ML again notes a group of countries that can thumb their noses at the world community: "military dictatorships that can do what they like because they've got nukes. Like North Korea." Wrong. There are no nuclear armed military dictatorships. Pakistan was for a while under Pervez Musharraf but he's gone so this no longer applies. North Korea is not a military dictatorship, it's a totalitarian Stalinist hole. The military isn't in control; it's an instrument of control.

Then comes a prediction:

The only thing that's going to ever loosen the Kims' grip on that country is them dying and the potential successors fighting it out amongst themselves for control - and in the short term that wouldn't exactly be a good prospect for either the North Korean people or the world at large.

Or there could be a coup or even a popular uprising. Hell, the Chinese might eventually tire of having a weirdo living right next door and topple the sawed off little megalomaniac. Speaking in absolutes is always dangerous - oops, I just did.

So, whereas ML's post is long on wishful thinking, misinterpretations and errors, it's short on factually correct information. Then again, maybe he's right and I'm wrong. If so, he should tell me.


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