My Opinion

“qu’ils mangent de la brioche.” North Korea

Marie Antoinette is known (incorrectly) as the women who made the grave mistake of uttering “let them eat cake” or as the French say ” “qu’ils mangent de la brioche.”   I am not sure if those were the exact words, but the concept is indisputable.  Put enough pressure on the people, ignore their basic needs and bad things are going to happen, like a revolution and overthrowing of the government. 

Now let’s apply that to North Korea, a dictatorship of the worst kind, a country accused of exporting weapons used by terrorists, of violating basic human rights of intentionally starving its people while spending great sums on large military and nuclear ambitions.  The most recent sanctions by the UN intended to accomplish exactly what I don’t know exempt providing humanitarian aid, in other words food to the people of North Korea.  Do we have this right? While the government spends perhaps billions on military related items, the rest of the world is expected to feed its people. 

I recall a television special a few years back, I think hosted by Diane Sawyer, based in North Korea.  They took pictures in the streets when they we allowed to, they interviewed people closely scrutinized by handlers and they went into a classroom and spoke to children.  I was struck by the degree of adoration of the “leader.”  It was a surreal environment with the people appearing to be brainwashed and with no concept of the outside world.  In this environment where the government is focused only on remaining in power how can diplomacy succeed? What is the motivation for the North Korean leaders to change anything?  They have a captive population that knows no better. 

Now for that humanitarian aid, as harsh as it may sound, providing food to North Korea is probably the worst thing to do.  Such aid takes the pressure off the regime and mollifies the people.  The only way things have a chance of changing is change brought about by the people and the army and the best way to do that is to expose the regime for what it is and that means that other countries cannot provide a means for it to escape its responsibilities to the people.  Certainly no one wants to see people starve or to be governed by a megalomaniac for that matter, but bringing such existence to an end is not easy among generations of people brainwashed into compliance.  Conditions that are intolerable bring about change, mitigating those conditions artificially prolongs the abuse. 

What are your views on this subject?


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