Friday, June 18, 2004

North Korea: Vaclav Havel says that the free world should unite against the specter of totalitarianism -- in the form of Kim's North Korea.
Kim Jong Il is able to blackmail the world with the help of his huge army, nuclear weapons, long-range missiles, and the export of weaponry and military technology to like-minded dictators around the world. He wants to be respected and feared abroad and to be recognized as one of the world's most powerful leaders. He is willing to let his own people die of hunger, and he uses famine to liquidate those who show any sign of wavering loyalty to his rule. Through blackmail, he receives food and oil, which he distributes among those loyal to him (first in line being the army).

Shockingly, the U.N. Commission on Human Rights has criticized the North Korean regime for its gross violations of human rights only twice since the commission was founded. Less shocking, but also disturbing, is the fact that the North Korean government has yet to implement any of the commission's recommendations.

Now is the time for the democratic countries of the world -- the European Union, the United States, Japan, South Korea -- to take a common position. They must make it clear that they will not offer concessions to a totalitarian dictator. They must state that respect for basic human rights is an integral part of any future discussions with Pyongyang. Decisiveness, perseverance and negotiations from a position of strength are the only things that Kim Jong Il and those like him understand.

I'd love to hear John Kerry's thoughts on this.

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