I’ve been trying to get around to writing this for about a week, and things just kept zapping my energy. Still feel that way, but buggering on because this is, at least to me, important. I apologize in advance for any conjunctive disconnects in the delivery.
Earlier in the week the new DRPK’s new leader Kim Jong-un announced he would suspend its nuclear weapons tests and uranium enrichment and allow international inspectors to monitor activities at its main nuclear complex. The move was unexpected, and generally viewed with skepticism by the United States administration.
What is desperately needed in North Korea is food for millions upon millions of starving people. The food shortage is desperate and widespread malnutrition has been killing children for several years. The food and nutrition shortage is so substantive that now North Korea actually has an entire young adult population six inches shorter than their South Korean counterparts. The human toll and suffering is beyond western comprehension, and we have shared some previous stories almost too graphic to contemplate.
Franklin Graham has been doing outstanding work through Samaritans Purse and other charitable organizations in an effort to deliver food with extreme urgency. Millions of people are at risk of death if a rapid response is not quick to foot.
Unfortunately the politics of nations has intervened.
This is where I diverge from both the left and the right. Politics has no place in eliminating human suffering, and the hypocrisy of President Obama’s administration has on more than one occasion brought my blood to boil. There are millions of cubic feet of food products available for assistance to the citizens of DRPK, yet the politics of both Korean officials and the insufferable ego’s of Western governments, primarily our own have kept the humanitarian crisis from being avoided.
President Obama has implemented a doctrine in February 2011 outlined as “A Responsibility To Protect” or R2P as it is known. This explanation was used for the interventionist tactics into Benghazi Libya last year to help assist the Libyan Rebels with arms to fight against the Gaddafi regime, and protection for its citizens. Yet when faced with a massive humanitarian crisis in North Korea, this doctrine is forgone in lieu of egos and old wounds from years of mistrust.
Get over it. Get over yourselves. Do whatever it takes to deliver these desperately needed food products to the people of Korea. This is where I diverge from both the left and the right within our polarized political process. If Obama needs to bow down to Kim Jun-un to get the border open and allow USAID or other groups to get the food in there, then just do it. I’ll get on my knees and grovel, beg, clean his damn shoes if that’s what it takes. It is not weakness to provide compassionate intervention, it is beyond immoral not to do so. Take the high road and swallow your pride so that innocent starving citizens can swallow a few grains of life saving rice.
I care not for the nuclear aspirations of the DRPK it does not factor into the equation. The mother holding a dying child for lack of rice or beans cuts through the political fog of weapon bartering. Just put that aside, leave those irrelevant, but important political issues for another day. Now is not the time to draw conditions upon whether or not we should ship food to starving Korean children. Sorry. It just aint reasonable. Right is right even if nobody does it, and wrong is wrong even if everybody does it. Just do the right thing.
The Obama administration called the nuclear suspension steps “important, if limited.” But the announcement seemed to signal that North Korea’s new leader, Kim Jong-un, is at least willing to consider a return to negotiations and to engage with the United States, which pledged in exchange to ship tons of food aid to the isolated, impoverished nation. Why are we attaching contingencies to food aid? Just do it.
On the other side we have insufferable, and well fed mind you, Republican Senators like Jon Kyl saying that we should be cautious not to trust the Korean leadership because they have failed to live up to prior promises in the past. Again, who cares. Just get the damn food in there. This politicization of support for the people is ridiculous and as each day passes hundreds of North Koreans are dying. This is totally avoidable.
As part of the agreement, the United States said it would send 240,000 metric tons (about 265,000 tons) of food, though it limited the aid to nutritional supplements, rather than the rice and grains because, two administration officials said, has in previous instances been diverted by the government or the military, or even sold abroad. C’mon, give me a break the potential benefits far outweigh the potential drawbacks. Just do it.
The aid is expected to be delivered in monthly shipments of 20,000 metric tons over the next year. The United States also insisted on rigorous monitoring to ensure that the aid would be provided to the neediest, especially women and children, many of whom show the stunting effects of chronic malnutrition. In its statement, the State Department said that in exchange, the United States was “prepared to take steps to improve our bilateral relationship in the spirit of mutual respect for sovereignty and equality” and to allow cultural, educational and sports exchanges with North Korea. This is how politics creates death.
“They demanded large quantities of rice and gain that could be, in our view, diverted to elites or to the military. They’ve now dropped those demands and agreed to allow our program to move forward as proposed,” another senior U.S. official said. Officials say the new U.S. program will be aimed at combating chronic malnutrition rather than delivering emergency food supplies, saying repeated surveys indicate food shortages in several parts of North Korea had led to widespread malnutrition among children.
“We have said that our partner organizations will have to be fully operational, meaning fully in place on the ground with their offices functioning before the food will begin to arrive,” the first U.S. official said.
From my perspective all of this back and forth is ridiculous. If some of the food does not reach the people due to corruption, then rather than kill the baby to save face how about just sending more, again, and again, until we are certain enough food has been provided to stop the devastating famine.
I’m flying solo on this opinion because it just doesn’t meet with the well written dossiers from all the research analysis of the talking heads. But I don’t care. Drop the stuff from the sky if needed, send trucks, boats, planes, and just keep sending it until we can be certain that people are able to eat.
You don’t think that approach would build an internal coalition amid the people to help them? And subsequently bring about a change of opinion, or even action.? Think about it. What do we stand for. Freedom and doing the right thing, or politics of starvation, think about it.
I choose the former. The same Compassionate American process that eventually brought down the wall at the Brandenburg Gate.