Monday, January 29, 2007

Learning to Love the Devil You're With

There is a saying that goes if you can't live with the one you love, learn to love the one you're with.

This is pretty much the position of the so-called realists when it comes to North Korea.

A bunch of experts gathered to discuss the criminal syndicate with a UN seat. Other than the totally predictable calls to resume the Clinton approach of pretending we bought North Korean cooperation, the ability to just let the terrorized and starving people of North Korea to rot in their Hell on Earth is amazing:

"We don't want the regime to collapse and people to suffer," said Yao, who directs the Asia-Pacific Office at the Academy of Military Science in Beijing.

China is "very worried" a collapse could send North Korean refugees pouring into Chinese territory, she said, adding that change must come from the inside. ...

Pei Minxin, head of the China program at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace in Washington, said the best policy is to contain the current regime and "see them out," he said.

"North Korea's demise is a given," he said, noting that Kim is 65 and his health is not the best.

"He's overweight. He has no heir in his family, and the record of history shows that that kind of regime has an impossible task picking an heir outside the family."

Geun Lee, an international relations professor at Seoul National University, said he would support gradual regime change providing it doesn't produce "disastrous consequences."

"But that is very unpredictable," he acknowledged. ...

Alyson Bailes, director of the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute in Sweden, warned the collapse of North Korea could be a disaster for the entire region.

"It's much better to live with the devil you know than with the chaos that you don't know," she said.

Ah yes, as long as North Koreans are paying the price for the current devil, to Hell with the North Korean people. Especially when the alternative might cost regional states some money to cope with a collapse. And just what does "gradual regime change" mean? I mean other than just not doing anything while pretending you want to do something. With wide agreement that the regime is crumbling, shouldn't we try to accelerate that momentum rather than check it?

Japan has a better take on the situation:

Yuriko Koike, a special adviser to Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, said the soft approach hasn't worked.

"We have offered lots of carrots, and the carrots were used to develop nuclear weapons and missiles," she said.

Koike said almost 20 million North Koreans are in agony and starving and lifting U.N. sanctions "will prolong the agony of those citizens."

Concern for the North Korean people is misplaced. How much better off would they be if the regime had ended four years ago?

We must squeeze the North Korean regime. Make them collapse. Face it, there are no silver bullet solutions to problems that solve all aspects of a problem and contain all repercussions from those solutions. But that is life.

Is it really so easy for these experts to make Kim Jong-Il's continued misrule seem like the better course of action? I guess they've learned to love the one they're with.