Sunday, April 22, 2012

"Punishing North Korea's people" (LA Times)

Here is an editorial from the LA Times editors saying that "the United States should do its utmost to alleviate starvation and malnutrition without regard to geopolitics. Food aid should not be promised or withheld for political, diplomatic or strategic reasons." So no cut-off of food aid after North Korea immediately scheduled a missile launch in violation of the agreement they made for the food. According to the editorial:
The Obama administration says that's not what it is doing. Indeed, it is not characterizing the suspension of food aid as tit for tat for the bungled April 13 launch, which the U.S. sees as a violation of Pyongyang's promise to refrain from long-range missile launches. Rather, it argues, a regime that can't be trusted to abide by understandings about its military activities likewise can't be relied on to allow efficient distribution of food to the needy. The administration also says that, in light of North Korea's provocative behavior, it is concerned about the well-being of Americans who might be sent to that country to aid in food distribution.

Those arguments are not terribly persuasive. Though it's true that shipments of rice and beans to the North have in the past been diverted for the use of the military and their families, the suspension of food aid last week seems more like retribution for the attempted launch than a reaction to concern that the food might not get safely to its intended recipients. [...]
What exactly isn't "terribly persuasive"? Of course, North Korea will divert the food aid to party members and those "servicepoeple" we always hear about here who are rallying close around the headquarters of the revolution. Obama's denial of US reaction to the rocket-launch might be clumsy, but putting the army first is the theme of North Korea's constant boasts.

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