Diplomacy only encourages North Korea's belligerence
By Elan Journo
Western "diplomacy" has strengthened North Korea.
Thanks to a new diplomatic deal, the nuclear stand-off with North Korea will allegedly end bloodlessly. In exchange for $400 million worth of aid and diplomatic concessions from the West, North Korea has promised to start disabling its nuclear facilities. This new arrangement is being celebrated as a levelheaded, practical, and win-win solution to the problem of the North Korean nuclear threat.
But this deal, like all previous ones, rewards the North for its aggression and strengthens it into a worse menace. North Korea has become a significant threat precisely because we have appeased it for years with boatloads of oil, food and money.
Some twenty years ago, North Korea's nuclear ambitions became glaringly obvious. Ignoring this, the West pretended that this hostile dictatorship would honor a treaty banning nuclear weapons. To get its signature took years of Western groveling and concessions. The North's promises to halt its nuclear program were predictably hollow. By 1993, after preventing required inspections of its nuclear facilities, Pyongyang announced its intention to withdraw from the treaty. Our response?
What made this cycle of appeasement possible--and why do our political and intellectual leaders insist that further "diplomacy" will work? Because they reject moral judgment and cling to the fiction that North Korea shares the basic goal of prosperity and peace. This fantasy underlies the notion that the right mix of economic aid and military concessions can persuade North Korea to give up its nuclear program. It evades the fact that the North is a militant dictatorship that acquires and maintains its power by force, looting the wealth of its enslaved citizens and threatening to do the same to its neighbors. This abstract fact, the advocates of diplomacy believe, is dispensable; if we ignore it, then it ceases to exist.
Notice how, in preparing the way for renewed talks, the Bush administration ceased describing North Korea as part of an "axis of evil"--as if this could alter its moral stature.
What the advocates of diplomacy believe, in effect, is that pouring gasoline onto an inferno will extinguish the fire--so long as we all agree that it will. Thus: if we agree that North Korea is not a hostile parasite, then it isn't; if we pretend that this dictatorship would rather feed its people than amass weapons, then it would; if we shower it with loot, it will stop threatening us. But the facts of North Korea's character and long-range goals, like all facts, are impervious to anyone's wishful thinking. Years of rewarding a petty dictatorship for its belligerent actions did not disarm it, but helped it become a significant threat to America.
There is only one solution to the "North Korea problem": the United States and its allies must abandon the suicidal policy of appeasement.
Elan Journo is a junior fellow at the Ayn Rand Institute in Irvine, Calif. The Institute promotes Objectivism, the philosophy of Ayn Rand--author of "Atlas Shrugged" and "The Fountainhead." Contact the writer at firstname.lastname@example.org. Copyright © 2007 Ayn Rand® Institute. All rights reserved.
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