March 3, 2005


N. Korea, Without the Rancor
: A businessman speaks his mind about the U.S., the 'nuclear club' and human rights issues. (Barbara Demick, March 3, 2005, LA Times)

The North Korean, dressed in a cranberry-colored flannel shirt and corduroy trousers, described himself as a businessman with close ties to the government. He said he did not want to be quoted by name because his perspective was personal, not official. Because North Koreans seldom talk to U.S. media organizations, his comments offered rare insight into the view from the other side of the geopolitical divide.

He said better relations with the United States were key to turning around his nation's economy, which has nearly ground to a halt over the last decade amid famine, the collapse of industry and severe electricity shortages. "For basic life, we can live without America, but we can live better with" it, he said.

Yet he voiced strong enthusiasm for his country's recent announcement that it had developed nuclear weapons. The declaration, which jarred U.S. officials, was not intended as a threat, he said, but merely a way to advance negotiations.

"Now that we are members of the nuclear club, we can start talking on an equal footing. In the past, the U.S. tried to whip us, as though they were saying, 'Little boy, don't play with dangerous things.' "

A colleague, a 55-year-old man also visiting from North Korea, nodded.

"This was the right thing to do, to declare ourselves a nuclear power. The U.S. had been talking not only about economic sanctions, but regime change," the businessman said. "We can't just sit there waiting for them to do something. We have the right to protect ourselves."

Which is why it is imperative to use force against the North despit, or because of, its putative nukes--to disabuse other regimes of this notion.

Posted by Orrin Judd at March 3, 2005 8:14 AM

You could have also lived better if Kimmee didn't spend so much money on nukes.

Posted by: Sandy P at March 3, 2005 11:04 AM

This sort of agitprop nonsense will be hailed by Howard Dean and the NYT as 'enlightened', a diplomatic opening, as it were.

Posted by: jim hamlen at March 3, 2005 11:34 AM

We all have the right to protect ourselves,little man. From what, is the question. Your leader, by the way, is insane.

Posted by: Tom C., Stamford, Ct. at March 4, 2005 7:28 AM