Earlier this month, the Wall Street Journal reported that “North Koreans are experiencing widespread hunger and dying of starvation as the country suffers one of the worst food crises in decades as a result of its international isolation and natural disasters that have damaged crops, reducing yields.”
Undoubtedly, Pentagon and CIA officials pulled out their champagne bottles and celebrated this “good news.” After all, that’s the entire point of U.S. economic sanctions that U.S. officials have imposed on the people of North Korea. The aim of their sanctions is to bring death and impoverishment to the North Korean populace in the hope that North Koreans will rise up in a violent revolution, oust their communist regime, and install a pro-U.S. dictatorship in its stead.
Of course, it’s difficult to understand how people who are starving to death would be able to violently oust an omnipotent totalitarian regime, especially given no one except the North Korean government is permitted to own guns. Nonetheless, that’s the hope and dream of U.S. officials, and, in their eyes, no death toll would be too high. After all, don’t forget: These are only North Korean lives that would be lost. In the eyes of U.S. officials, the lives of foreigners are far less valuable than the lives of Americans.
The Journal article reports: “North Korea experts said the crisis is one of the worst since the 1990s famine and threatens to sow instability if the regime doesn’t show it is trying to address the problem.” Kwon Tae-jin, a senior economist specializing in North Korean agriculture at the GS&J Institute, a think tank in South Korea, stated, “Food insecurity will lead to increased distrust in the regime.”
That’s precisely what the Pentagon and the CIA want. That’s the goal of their sanctions. The more people who are dying, the greater the chance of “instability,” which means the greater the chance of regime change.
This U.S. governmental mindset is no different than it was when U.S. officials enforced their equally brutal set of sanctions against the Iraqi people in the 1990s. When Madeleine Albright, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, was asked if the deaths of half-a-million Iraqi children from the sanctions were worth it, she replied that they were, in fact, “worth it.”
By “it,” Albright meant regime change. She was saying that the deaths of half-a-million
Iraqi children from the sanctions were worth the effort to remove Iraq’s dictator Saddam Hussein from power and replace him with a pro-U.S. dictator.
Unfortunately for the children of Iraq, the sanctions did not succeed in removing Saddam from power. The sanctions went on for another seven years, killing many more Iraqi children. But even though the additional deaths failed to achieve their regime-change goal, U.S. officials considered them to be worth the effort.
That’s the same mindset that drives the sanctions against the North Korean people. No matter how many people in North Korea die of starvation or illness, U.S. officials will consider their deaths to be “worth it.” After all, don’t forget: These are just North Koreans dying. In the eyes of U.S. officials, that’s just no big deal. Their lives are no more valuable than those of Iraqi children.
Finally, it’s worth pointing out that the mindset that drives U.S. officials mirrors the mindset that drives terrorists. Terrorists also target innocent people with death as a way to achieve a political goal. That’s why we condemn terrorism. They just do it with bombs rather than sanctions.