Hornberger's Blog

Hornberger's Blog is a daily libertarian blog written by Jacob G. Hornberger, founder and president of FFF.
Here's the RSS feed or subscribe to our FFF Email Update to receive Hornberger’s Blog daily.

Back to Killing North Koreans with Sanctions


Although 19-year-old Ryom Tae Ok and 25-year-old Kim Ju Sik didn’t medal at the Winter Olympics in South Korea, they wowed the crowd with their personalities and their figure-skating performance. They have now returned to North Korea, where President Trump and the U.S. national-security establishment are trying to kill them.

That’s what U.S. sanctions against North Korea are designed to do — to kill the North Korean citizenry through starvation or illness as a way to get regime change, one that will oust the communist regime headed by Kim Jong-un and replace it with a pro-U.S. dictatorship.

As an increasing number of people die in North Korea from the economic damage wreaked by the sanctions, several possible outcomes could ensue:

First, the North Korean regime could decide to save its citizenry by asking the U.S. to lift the sanctions in return for dismantling its nuclear weapon program. That is not likely to happen. No regime likes being pressured by a foreign regime into doing anything. Moreover, the North Koreans know that nuclear weapons are the only thing that could possibly deter a U.S. regime-change invasion of North Korea, similar to the one that the U.S. regime carried out against Iraq.

Second, the North Korean regime could simply abdicate and agree to be replaced with a pro-U.S. regime. That’s not likely to happen either.

Third, the North Korean regime could simply proceed with its nuclear-weapon program, even if it means an increasing death toll of its citizenry from the sanctions. That’s what is likely to continue happening.

But fourth, the North Korean regime, on the verge of collapsing, could decide to initiate a full-scale military strike against South Korea, figuring that since it’s going down anyway because of the U.S. sanctions, it’s going to take out as many people as it can in the process. If that were to happen, U.S. officials, of course, would play the innocent and act shocked over North Korea’s “aggression,” just as President Franklin Roosevelt did after he succeeded, with his oil embargo, in provoking Japan into attacking U.S. forces at Pearl Harbor. The Pentagon would then proceed to carpet-bomb North Korea, perhaps even with nuclear weapons, which, needless to say, would result in the Hiroshima-Nagasaki-like vaporization of the entire North Korean populace, including, of course, figure skaters Ryom Tae Ok and Kim Ju Sik and their families. Thus, one of the dark and evil ironies of sanctions against North Korea is that the more successful they are, the greater chance there is for massive death and destruction.

There has been lots of speculation as to whether Trump and his national-security team are going to initiate a war against North Korea, either with a full-scale military attack or a limited one to “bloody its nose,” as the mainstream media is putting it.

Most everyone ignores an important point: The U.S. government is already waging war against North Korea. When one nation-state is intentionally killing the citizenry of another nation-state, that’s war. The fact that the killing is being done “benignly” through starvation or illness is irrelevant. What matters is that one regime is intentionally killing the citizenry of another nation.

Of course, this isn’t the first time that the U.S. government has used sanctions as a tool of war. During the 1990s, they imposed one of the most brutal sanctions systems in history against the Iraqi people. Like with North Korea, the ostensible aim of the sanctions was to force Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein to give up his WMDs. For 11 years, the sanctions were killing people, mostly children. But U.S. officials always made it clear: If Saddam Hussein were to abdicate, the sanctions would be lifted.

As it became clear that Saddam Hussein was not going to abdicate, U.S. officials remained just as steadfast, enforcing their sanctions despite the ever-growing death toll among Iraqi children. When U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Madeleine Albright was asked by “Sixty Minutes” whether the deaths of half-a-million Iraqi children from the sanctions were worth it, she responded that while the issue was a difficult one, the deaths were indeed worth it.

That mindset has not changed with the U.S. sanctions against North Korea. If U.S. officials have to kill half-a-million North Koreans, including figure skaters Ryom Tae Ok and Kim Ju Sik, it will be considered “worth it,” just as it was considered “worth it” to kill hundreds of thousands of Iraqi children.

It’s time for the American people to do some serious soul-searching. Stop the U.S. killing abroad everywhere. Bring all U.S. troops home and discharge them. They’re not needed. Lift U.S. sanctions and embargoes against everyone, including North Koreans, Iranians, and Cubans. Leave Koreans to figure out the solution to their problems. Do it before it’s too late. The world’s problems are none of the business of the U.S. government, and when the U.S. government makes them its business, the result is always worse.

This post was written by:

Jacob G. Hornberger is founder and president of The Future of Freedom Foundation. He was born and raised in Laredo, Texas, and received his B.A. in economics from Virginia Military Institute and his law degree from the University of Texas. He was a trial attorney for twelve years in Texas. He also was an adjunct professor at the University of Dallas, where he taught law and economics. In 1987, Mr. Hornberger left the practice of law to become director of programs at the Foundation for Economic Education. He has advanced freedom and free markets on talk-radio stations all across the country as well as on Fox News’ Neil Cavuto and Greta van Susteren shows and he appeared as a regular commentator on Judge Andrew Napolitano’s show Freedom Watch. View these interviews at LewRockwell.com and from Full Context. Send him email.