December 6, 2010


North Korea? Not our problem (Jack Kelly, 12/05/10, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)

North Korea is a big problem. But it shouldn't be ours. When we intervened in Korea in 1950, we did so for two very good reasons. North Korea was then a part of an international Communist conspiracy aimed at world conquest. South Korea was incapable of defending herself.

Things have changed in 60 years. North Korea is the last truly Communist nation left standing. Its ambitions are limited mainly to self preservation. South Korea, which has more than twice the population of North Korea and more than 40 times the gross domestic product, is more than capable of defending herself.

But, notes Doug Bandow of the CATO Institute, "so long as America offers a security guarantee, maintains a tripwire troop presence on the peninsula and promises to do whatever is necessary to protect [them], the South Koreans have little incentive to take over their own defense."

North Korea is now just a regional problem. We gain nothing and risk much by continuing to make it ours, when the reasons for doing so have disappeared into history.

It's a curious historical fact that the Right only supported the Cold War--a departure from its isolationist norm--because the domestic Left bore the taint of Marxism. It was just a matter of partisan politics at home.

Looked at rationally, Mr. Kelly's argument falls apart because the world Communist conspiracy was never a significant threat and if you don't care about the daily lives of the North Koreans there's no reason to have cared about those of the South Koreans.

On the other hand, just as we were correct to intervene on behalf of some Koreans who couldn't defend themselves we owe it to the rest to remove their evil regime.

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Posted by Orrin Judd at December 6, 2010 6:08 AM
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