“America’s foreign policy is so grotesquely irrational that most people believe there must be some sensible purpose behind it. The extent of the irrationality acts as its own protection: like the technique of the ‘Big Lie,’ it makes people assume that so blatant an evil could not possibly be as evil as it appears to them and, therefore, that somebody must understand its meaning, even though they themselves do not.” Ayn Rand
Nowhere is this more true than in looking at Neo-conservative/American foreign policy when comparing Iran and North Korea. I recently read that the American Government plans to give more food aid to North Korea after the death of the “Great Leader”. This is astonishing when looking at it from a moral or ethical perspective. North Korea is by far the most evil nation in the world. When I say evil, I mean it. I don’t use the term lightly and I would probably not use it for any other country. I also don’t use the term to push any moral crusade like George Bush did in declaring North Korea as part of an “Axis of Evil”. I mean that to live under the North Korean Regime would be one of the most unimaginable horrors of any human being. The cruelty of the North Korean regime is even harder to imagine for Westerners because it’s almost the exact opposite of the Classical Liberal Tradition that has been embedded in Western society for centuries. North Korea is the perfect example of the total state. North Korea is the perfect example of what happens when property rights are abolished and natural rights are completely unkown. You want to see an example of a jackboot on the throats of an entire population, look no further than North Korea.
North Korea is an almost impossible country to penetrate, so the crimes there are largely unknown. Barbra Demick is a journalist who made six trips to North Korea, and not surprisingly the North Korean govenment did not let her talk to a single citizen. She had to proceed and interview citizens that escaped to the south. She describes what life is like in the brutal regime in her book “Nothing to Envy: Ordinary Lives in North Korea” Some of her descriptions are extremely sad, like a kindergarten teacher describing how the hardest part of her job was watching children starve and other descriptions are down right creepy when she describes how “Refugees described Public Standards Police who would often visit private homes to be sure that the mandatory glass-framed portraits of Kim Il-sung and Kim Jong-il were kept clean”. If the country couldn’t get anymore strange and scary, when the supreme leader dies and if a person is caught not crying or wailing in sadness, they might be arrested and hauled off to a concentration camp where they will likely starve. One defector desribed his experience in 1994 during Kim Il Sung’s furneral. He said “I remember I could not shed any more tears after many days of crying. Fortunately it rained a lot during the mourning period and I did not have to watch out for the guards to pick on me for not doing so.”
Some of you may be thinking, “So North Korea is a pretty bad place, so what? Iran is ruled by Islamists and will likely use nuclear weapons because it is in their religion. They even said that they ‘want to wipe Isreal off the face of the earth’.” The quote is actually a mistranslation (see here, here, here , and here) but, this is really beside the point. Even if the quote was true, North Korea has been far more belligerent to its neighbors than Iran has. Iran has not attacked a country in 100 years but, North Korea’s agression towards its neighbors has happened reapeatedly. In the last couple of decades alone, North Korea has test fired ballistic missiles over and near Japan, has kidnapped dozens of Japanese citizens from the Japanese mainland, has bombarded a South Korean military base with artillery, killed 46 sailors when it torpedoed a South Korean warship, has built up to twenty “Tunnels of Aggression” underground that can move 30,000 soldiers an hour under South Korean defenses, has used common terrorist tactics such as bombing airplanes, and killed 28 people in their attempt to assinate South Korean president Chun Doo-hwan. As you can see, even if you think Iran is capable of some nasty stuff, North Korea has already perpetrated more terrorist crimes and military agression than Iran by far.
Now what has the United States done time and time again in response to North Korean military agression? Easy, the United States completely capitulates. We give them food, fuel, and other aid at the tax payer’s expense so they will stop misbehaving. Whatever happened to being tough on the bad guys? I guess the U.S. government is pretty selective on which countries it raddles their saber at and which ones it will give a pass to. You would think that the U.S. would learn its lesson with North Korea but, time and time again the U.S. makes the same mistakes. North Korea promises to stop its Nuclear program and ballistic missile tests and the U.S. gives them aid. A couple of years go by and North Korea test fires a missile or announces the continuation of its Nuclear program and the U.S. comes back to the negotiating table to give them more aid in an effort to get them to stop. The complete insanity of this policy is obvious but, what is more disturbing is how this aid allows North Korea to spend its resources on further oppressing its own people and building armaments to use aggressively against American allies in the region.
So what do you think Iran learns from this? Getting a Nuclear weapon is a great way to expropriate resources from the United States. Not to mention that Iran might have some legitimate security concerns about the United States. If you look at a map and you look at which countries are occupied by the American government in the region, you might understand why Iran might be a little nervous about an American presence in the region. In addition, If Iran does have a nuclear arms program, they have also learned never to trust American promises to give it up. Libya had a Nuclear program, they gave it up under U.S. pressure, and less than a decade later NATO invades. America’s actions speak louder than words. A nuclear program shut down risks your own destruction, a completed nuclear weapon insures your survival and maybe even money and resources from the West. If you were Iranian what would you do?
The question is an ethical one. How can North Korea butcher its own people and engage in military aggression repeatedly and get a pass from the U.S., while Iran’s behavior has been relatively benign in comparison but, warrants a trade embargo that will likely kill thousands of its citizens as was done to Iraq in the 1990s. Such an embargo is an act of war. Do you think the U.S. would let other countries cut off it’s oil without a military response? American citizens should be vary wary when listening to politians pontificate on Iran. After all, their foreign policy success record since 1945 has been pretty slim. The last decade has been even worse.
Maybe American politicians should learn some humility when it comes to warfare.
Maybe American politicians should listen to the former head of Mossad.
Maybe the greatest threat to the American people is not in the Middle East but here at home.
Maybe Iran closing the Strait of Hormuz is in response to the trade embargos put in place by the U.S. government.