Just when it seemed that no one would, Dennis, the Anarcho-Syndicalist-sounding Congressgnome from Middle Earth, has stepped up to save North Korea from being repressed by the violence inherent in the system:
“If North Korea presents some kind of a limited missile threat to any part of the United States coastline, the obvious solution would be to go to North Korea, and to negotiate with them and to talk to them, and to work with them to avoid any confrontation,” Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) told a gathering here organized by the National Campaign to End the Korean War. [Joongang Ilbo]
Right, Dennis. If only someone had thought of that before.
Kucinich’s solution won’t be so obvious to me until he explains the whole point of negotiating a peace treaty with a regime that just unilaterally withdrew from the Korean War Armistice and then premeditated the unprovoked sinking of a neighboring state’s warship. Personally, my “obvious” answer to a flagrant violation of the Korean War armistice wouldn’t be to negotiate a peace treaty for North Korea to violate flagrantly, and I’ll personally drywall Kucinich’s hollow tree if he can name one international agreement North Korea ever did keep, or explain why a peace treaty would be any different, or why he’s stealing all those underpants, or what the hell Phase II is.
Then again, maybe I just don’t like peace as much as Dennis Kucinich does. But you already knew that.
And yes, this would be Kucinich’s pal Christine Ahn’s “National Campaign to End the Korean War.” Now, look: I realize Christine Ahn is a mostly harmless fringe crank. This is a free society, and I suppose there’s no harm in a little bit of discreet ahnanism as long as your private fantasy world doesn’t become a substitute for reality. The problem is, this neurosis has now metastasized to harmless fringe crank members of Congress. And if stinking up one American institution isn’t enough for one week, she’s now cost the New York Times editorial page the respect of a few more readers from that increasingly selective audience to which it appeals:
In a move intended to punish North Korea for its alleged sinking of a South Korean warship, the Cheonan, the United States and South Korea are flexing their military might by mobilizing American and South Korean ships, over 200 aircraft, including the F-22 Raptor fighters, and 8,000 troops.
If anything, the military provocation by all sides demonstrates the frailty of the Korean armistice agreement, which was signed by North Korea, China and the United States on July 27, 1953.
… and unilaterally repudiated by North Korea on May 27, 2009, an omission that neither Ahn, nor the legions of New York Times fact-checkers and editors, considered significant. Emphasis mine. Naturally, Ahn wants you to know that neocon shape-shifter Barack Obama’s sanctions will starve North Korean babies. Being the helpful sort, I’ve added the links that Christine forgot:
The freezing of North Korean assets, in particular, restricts the country’s ability to purchase the materials it needs to meet the basic food, healthcare, sanitation and educational needs of its people.
Moreover, sanctions have not succeeded in pressuring North Korea to disarm. To the contrary, North Korea considers economic sanctions to be an act of war, and has responded by accelerating its nuclear weapons program.
By which, Ahn refers to the nuclear program that North Korea accelerated in 1991, without letting the starvation of 2.5 million expendable citizens appreciably slow its progress. No American president could possibly indulge the Kim Dynasty enough to suit Christine Ahn’s liking.
The international community’s response to tensions arising from the sinking of the South Korean naval vessel was clearly outlined in the July 9th United Nations Security Council statement, which calls urgently “for full adherence to the Korean Armistice Agreement” and “the settlement of outstanding issues” through “direct dialogue and negotiation” so as to avert “escalation.
See also Robert’s reaction:
Yes, food, medicine, sanitation and school books — all priority budget items for North Korea, I’m sure. Of course, I have to agree with Ms. Ahn that North Korea considers economic sanctions an act of war, which is sort of odd, considering that it seems to think open seas piracy, dispatching commando teams to kill South Korean leaders, blowing up civilian airliners, bombing the South Korean cabinet in a third country capital, kidnapping Japanese and South Korean nationals and sinking South Korean warships aren’t.
There is only one reason I can see for making an argument this vapid and irrational: it’s the party line. The only violation of the Armistice Agreement Ahn sees is … Barack Obama’s. You just can’t make any sense of this at all unless you deny that North Korea really did sink the Cheonan. Ahn carefully avoids taking a position, to which I ask: HEL-LO?
A group of liberal South Korean activists told U.S. officials and lawmakers they doubted a North Korean torpedo attack sunk a South Korean warship in March, but got a frosty reception. A delegation from the South Korean Committee for Implementing June 15 Joint Declaration – an inter-Korean group established to fulfill the 2007 agreement by then-South Korean President Kim Dae-jung and North Korea’s Kim Jong-il – paid a visit to the U.S. State Department and attended a forum at the U.S. Congress to convey its opinion.
I take the term “inter-Korean” to mean that the group is welcome in Pyongyang, has North Korean members, and has the official sanction of the North Korean regime.
Kim Sang-geun, the head of the committee, and Chung Hyun-back, a history professor at SungKyunKwan University and the head of the civic group People’s Solidarity for Participatory Democracy, visited the State Department on Tuesday and met with Sung Kim, chief U.S. negotiator for the six-party talks to end North Korea’s nuclear weapons program, and Ambassador Robert King, Special Envoy for North Korean Human Rights Issues. According to sources, Kim delivered a letter to the U.S. officials, expressing the group’s “disappointment” at the Barack Obama administration’s North Korea policy and urging Washington to have bilateral negotiations with Pyongyang as soon as possible.
Chung mentioned the March sinking of the Cheonan during the meeting. “The South Korean community has a different view from the government’s description of the Cheonan’s sinking,” she was quoted as saying by a participant in the meeting. “According to opinion polls, about 30 to 50 percent of Koreans do not trust the government’s conclusion. We hope the U.S. plays a role to resolve the difference.
According to the source, the chief U.S. negotiator rebuffed the group’s argument about the Cheonan’s sinking. He told the visitors that an international investigative team’s conclusion was based on an objective and scientific investigation and that the U.S. fully trusts its findings. He also said Washington is willing to talk to Pyongyang at any time if the regime changes its position. Sanctions imposed by the UN Security Council, he added, are just because the North staged the attack on the Cheonan. [Joongang Ilbo]
Part of me hopes these people come back again soon, because too many Americans, including sensible people with influence on U.S. government policy, would benefit from a more intimate understanding of just how dangerously zany the Korean left really is.