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ATW QUOTE OF THE DAY

By Pete Moore On January 1st, 2012

Small politicians try to look big by exaggerating the size and the danger of their foes.

Actually, this alone qualifies as a QOTD, a lesson to be well remembered. But there’s more …

The West’s ridiculous attitude to North Korea is an example of this. I have been there, and can report that this bankrupt, starving statelet is so poor it cannot even warm its own government buildings and must have used up much of its petrol reserves to stage the funeral of its deceased leader.

Its rulers are trapped in their palace. If they show weakness, they will be torn to pieces by their hungry, disillusioned subjects. Above all, they need a way out. If we do not help provide one they will, in the end, have to collapse into the arms of China.

Why should we want that? Yet we continue to portray this sad survival as a major power and adopt a high moral tone in our dealings with it. Yes, it can still do harm – but it is much more likely to do so if we maintain our current policy.

– Peter Hitchens

Above all, they need a way out. I suspect this applies to many regimes who have been hemmed in initially by their own wickedness, then by foreign foes either too stupid to know what they are doing or on the lookout for gargantuan enemies against which they can appear big. When North Korea finally collapses, and it will one day because no tyranny can last forever, we might rue the day we hemmed them in with fleets, minefields, missiles and thousands of soldiers. In the aftermath of the Korean War, and while North Korea could rely on the USSR and China for necessary support, this may well have been prudent. Now, it is collapsing. Doing everything we can to offer a way out might just be the sensible thing to do.

17 Responses to “ATW QUOTE OF THE DAY”

  1. “If we do not help provide one they will, in the end, have to collapse into the arms of China.”

    Why is this seen as a bad outcome? They are already de-facto Chinese clients and at least their nuclear arsenal would be under the control of a responsible nuclear state. I suspect that South Korea would rejoice.

  2. Yes

    N Korea does not play by the rules that other states are governed by. The welfare of its citizens is not even a minor goal there

    Letting them become a new Chinese province would be a major improvement for the world and for its desperate people

  3. It will not become a Chinese province. Until partition, Korea was a unified peninsular for 1200 years. The northern half would not simply walk off to be governed from Peking.

  4. Pete Moore

    If they are starving and the Chinese offer food security, they will do it. There is a local precedent: the Act of Union between Scotland and England in 1707 was precipitated by famine in Scotland.

  5. Peter –

    But that assumes the prior collapse of the Pyongyang regime.

    Today, the US and UN offer food security but the regime will not take the offer. It is, in a way, an ultra-nationalistic regime boasting of its self-sufficiency. State propaganda has it that the South Korean regime is a traitorous Korean regime. Despite all that Marxist/Leninist/Juche silliness, they are Korean in their own eyes and the Chinese are foreigners. Despite being shut off from the world North Koreans know their families are south across the divide.

    When Pyonyang hits the buffers North Koreans will look south.

  6. I agree with Pete here. Isn’t it such an awful tragedy that the leaders of the North cannot acknowledge and act on the fact (although they know it to be true) that the South is vastly superior in terms of it’s standard of living and that if only they could work towards reunification that alone would provide the greatest beneficial future for it’s people. How can they live with themselves knowing how cruel and barren their system is.

  7. “Isn’t it such an awful tragedy that the leaders of the North cannot acknowledge and act on the fact (although they know it to be true) that the South is vastly superior in terms of it’s standard of living and that if only they could work towards reunification that alone would provide the greatest beneficial future for it’s people. How can they live with themselves knowing how cruel and barren their system is.”

    I clicked on Colm’s comment in the “Recent Comments” column, read this and of course immediately assumed he was talking about Ireland.

  8. Pete Moore and colm

    The NK regime will see the entire population starve to death before they will accept their failure. Unless the population has the courage to rise up and butcher them like they deserve.

  9. Noel

    Do you think that Ireland should default on its debts and leave the Euro? Or are you an austerity-junkie?

  10. Colm –

    Immediately below the linked piece is a slightly longer comment from Hitchens about North Korea. He says this:

    But I am trying to point out that it is a dead end. Without the Soviet subsidies, and the Chinese ones, which kept it going in Cold War days, North Korea is simply bankrupt. A small elite live in the strange, curtained luxury enjoyed by the privileged classes of officially egalitarian states , though much of it is exaggerated by myth and rumour, and their lives would probably seem cramped and limited to a well-off western family […]

    The real problem for the country’s rulers (who of course know perfectly well how backward their country is, and how poor) is how to get out alive.

    As you say, they know it. I don’t think it’s daft or unreasonable to start a dialogue aimed at allowing them a way out.

  11. “Do you think that Ireland should default on its debts and leave the Euro? ”

    Peter, we shouldn’t default on our debts.

    As for leaving the Euro, I think a fair and uncoerced referendum should be held. I’m sure the people would vote to stay, but at least it would clear the air and bring back democracy to political life. Same for the UK.

    BTW, what do you think of the surveys that show SF now the second largest party in the RoI? Higher even than FF. FF will, however, like Pearse’s ghosts, come back to life and to government some time.

  12. Noel

    I knew that as soon as I simply mentioned the terms North and South some wit would pop up with a comemnt about Ireland. I might have guessed it would be you.

  13. If North Korea were to be close to a deal with the South on reunification, the US would attempt to scupper it. Without NK there would be no justification for provocative military exercises in the Yellow Sea and no reason for US-military Inc’s presence in Okinawa. In other words, the existence of North Korea serves the purpose of the corporate-military of the US.
    North Korea has a good geographic position and hopefully its leadership will use it to make a deal.

  14. Peter, we shouldn’t default on our debts.

    Noel

    As I’m sure you know, most of those debts were a result of Anglo Irish Bank borrowing from banks in Germany and France and Britain to fund property speculators developers in the Republic of Ireland. Why on earth should the taxpayes of Irleand bale out those mfs?

    The UK is not in the Euro. Like some others here, you seem to confuse the single currency with the customs union.

  15. What a bunch of crap, the smart Hitchens died.

  16. Michael D. Higgins (R.O.I. president) couldn’t look tall if that 4ft 6in pile of Socialist turd-dung stood on Mount everest!

  17. Mahons

    Peter Hitchens is the Ron Paul of British politcal commentary.