I’m certainly not an expert on North Korea yet I have a strong feeling that we’re not approaching the current hostile situation in the best way. My instinct tells me we could be successful with another approach, and I just have to write about it here.
For many reasons dating back decades to the 1950’s, North Korea has been considered differently and treated differently by the rest of the world. What have we done over this time and still doing today? Things like;
- label them as a rogue state
- force them to be separate from the rest of the world
- impose economic sanctions
- impose trade embargoes
- shout at them to back down
- threaten the most horrible war
When we don’t like what they do, like the recent weapons testing, we just do more of the above. Shout more, propose even more sanctions, and despise them even more.
Now, sure, there are reasons why we’ve treated North Korea like this, but decades and decades have passed now. How long is it going to go on like this?
And let’s not forget that there are people living in North Korea. People with mothers and fathers, people with children, extended families, people with hobbies, aspirations and love, just like us (see this video). These people had no choice in deciding where they were born and they had no choice about the type of political system in place in their country.
Also, let’s face it, the political system in North Korea right now must have been significantly influenced by decades of forced separation and economic sanctions.
I often think that the rest of the world just sits around ignoring North Korea and simply hopes that one day they’ll magically start acting just like we’d like them to. That sounds like a little bit of madness from all of us in the rest of the world.
Only something rather different and dramatic could make any significant change.
What could an alternative strategy be? Here are the key points of what I’m thinking;
- Genuinely offer them a proposal that benefits them and us
- North Korea’s part in the proposal
- limit their weapons development to an agreed level
- reduce their weapons capacity in some areas to an agreed level
- they must have enough so that they can still feel like they can defend themselves, but not so much as to be an excessive threat
- allow these limitations to be independently, internationally verified
- The rest of the world’s part in the proposal
- lift ALL economic sanctions
- enter into a new era of dialogue and cooperation
- offer them financial assistance for humanitarian improvements
- clearly demonstrate a willingness to fully cooperate with North Korea and accept them into the “rest of the world”
- make it clear that any future hostile actions, however small, will be dealt with immediately and with great force
For this to work, it’s key that the rest of the world acts as one on this. I’m encouraged by Vladimir Putin’s recent calls for more dialogue, and I find this article from The Independent interesting as it shows how crazy we’re getting with efforts to step up trade embargoes.
I may be completely wrong, but that’s how I’d handle it. Throw in a little love and understanding, give North Korea a position they can hold with respect and, as a complete global humanity, work ourselves out of this problem.
North Korea – Related Links
- Heartfelt plea from North Korean Girl
- Terrorism : How the world can respond
- We are not so different & how to end terrorism