Tuesday, April 22, 2008


Whatever else one may think of him, Christopher Hitchens is seldom if ever at a loss for words. Here, he takes on North Korea and what he sees as the Bush Administration's decoupling of disarmament and human rights issues. I have quite a bit of sympathy for his overarching point: what are we going to say to the citizens of North Korea if and when their oppressive regime collapses about what we did concerning their plight in the 90s and the 00s? On the other hand, it is hard to know what to do with this concern. What, exactly, would Hitchens or anyone else have Washington do about P'yongyang? Tighter sanctions (which would hurt the marginalized "hostile classes" of North Korea more than the leadership)? Stronger rhetoric (which always seems to prompt a howl of protest from the DPRK)? Something else? Like Gen. John Hodge of the USAMGIK in the late 1940s, I don't know the answer to this but wish I did.

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