Friday, May 06, 2005

Hitchens on North Korea: This is a must read today. Sample:
Concealed in that pitch-black night is an imploding state where the only things that work are the police and the armed forces. The situation is actually slightly worse than indentured servitude. The slave owner historically promises, in effect, at least to keep his slaves fed. In North Korea, this compact has been broken. It is a famine state as well as a slave state . . . Even on a tightly controlled tour of the place—North Korea is almost as hard to visit as it is to leave—my robotic guides couldn't prevent me from seeing people drinking from sewers and picking up individual grains of food from barren fields.
His proposal -- a Western-backed and subsidized "underground railroad" to help people escape from NK -- is worth a thought. The idea of invasion, Iraq-style, bothers me. The Iraqi army basically dropped its guns and fled. I fear, though, that the North Koreans would fight bravely and bitterly for a regime that has given them nothing but pain. The country is so tightly closed that I think they would actually believe the regime's claims that the West is bent on their destruction. So many instances of thriving samizdat knowledge in other totalitarian states prove nothing. We're talking about a country that, aside from its weaponry, is technologically living a hundred years in the past.

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