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North Korea

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Human Rights in North Korea

Is War necessary to promote a more humane society?

It seems that the only thing we hear about North Korea in the media these days is about their Nuclear weapons program. Aside from that problem is another issue of concern. The issue of human rights is a recurring dilemma for North Korea. To many outsiders the country is considered to be a totalitarian dictatorship run by Kim Jong Il. The country itself is falling apart from the oppressive actions of the Korean Workers Party (KWP). My aim is to discuss whether there is a need for a war for democracy, comparing it with historical and economic perspectives.

I will begin by discussing the current human rights situation of North Korea. Quoting from Former German ambassador Hans Meretzki, "the North Korean leadership has made all residents subject to a collective slavery by depriving them of individuality, and forcing them to engage in hard labor." Not to mention the country's famine dilemma, where between 600,000 and 3.5 million of it citizens have died from malnutrition. For this reason the human rights conditions in North Korea must be regarded as one of the more important matters for the international community.

Many non-war methods have been attempted in trying to ease the human rights concerns of North Korea. There are many limitations to this approach because the government limits what the other countries are able to do. One of the more recent developments was that North Korea resumed its nuclear weapons plan. This caused a lot of the foreign aid which had been negotiated to cease coming in. There is only so much other countries can do from afar to help citizens of an oppressive government.

The proposition of war with North Korea has always been a familiar concept for the U.S. government. Although the major reason for a war would be to divert North Korea's nuclear weapons program, it would also benefit in setting forth democracy in North Korea.

Critics question whether it is necessary to start another war. They feel that the U.S. has a bad enough reputation as it is, why make it even worse by concerning ourselves in another country's problems? It would be great if this was a perfect world, but sometimes war may be the only solution. How else can you take down a dictatorship that does not listen to what others have to say? If there is no form of negotiating to create change, then you have to make change.

These critical questions raise a pro and con case for war. What are the benefits of going to war with North Korea, and what are some of the consequences? I have come up with two different perspectives that support either one side or the other. One being a historical perspective of war, and the other is the economic side of war. Without getting too involved into the political aspects of war, I chose to weigh these perspectives based on their social value.

We don't hear about it on the news very often, but what is the aftermath of war? I chose to do a historical perspective of war to help me draw conclusions about a future war with North Korea. Looking back on the wars of the past I came up with some past events that I found to be similar to North Korea's dilemma.

In Cambodia 1975, a new left wing faction known as the Khmer Rouge rose to power. The Khmer Rouge promoted an ideology that led to the casualty of approximately one fifth (1.7 million) of the Cambodian population. Similar to North Korea, the Khmer Rouge relied on the ignorance that was created for its followers to carry out their ideology. This became a major international crisis in the late 1970's, and it wasn't until its neighbor Vietnam invaded did the crisis end. If Vietnam had not gone to war, the casualties would have been drastically increased, and any form of government would have been completely dissipated.

A more contemporary example of war is the recent and ongoing War in Iraq. Saddam Hussein and his Socialist Ba'ath Party were considered to be a totalitarian regime similar in ways to Kim Jong Il's Korean Workers Party. After Saddam and his party were unseated, the results of the war were and still are ambiguous. On one hand, Iraq has achieved a level of democracy it has never had before. Yet our dedication to the rebuilding of Iraq has led the U.S. financially and politically into a burdensome situation. There are mixed emotions and some critics' feel that we should have never gone to war in the first place.

Weighing in on the historical perspective, a war with North Korea's government could



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