Workers paradise: North Korea and hunger. What can be done?

I remember thread not so long ago (I think it was a Brainglutton thread IIRC) asking why the North Koreans have come back to the table. I’m not sure if anyone answered that one of the reasons might be that they are rapidly running out of food (again) and that large segments of their population are out in the woods literally savaging for acorns. This problem with North Korea not being able to feed itself (or to provide adequate power) seems to be ongoing since the collapse of the old Soviet Union…and it can be argued that prior to that collapse they really were unable to really feed themselves before that, but received subsidies which got them through.

The picture in North Korea just seems to be getting grimmer and grimmer and the specter of mass starvation seems to me to be rising…all it will take is for a year or two of the list of countries currently pouring food into North Korea (United States, South Korea, China and Japan…3 of the 4 are fairly ironic to my mind) to stop doing so for a variety of reasons. Millions could potentially starve to death (I believe something like an estimated 3 million starved to death in North Korea in the '90’s if memory serves).

So, what’s to be done with this workers paradise? Is there anything that CAN be done? Should be done? Should we just leave them be to fall apart on their own? What about the human suffering? Should we continue to pour food (and in China’s case power and other aid) into North Korea knowing this will continue to prop up the government there, or should we just allow it to collapse? Maybe we should just give them some agricultural technology (i.e. ‘teach them to fish’)? What about a military option…just bite the bullet and take out North Korea’s government? Assassination of 'lil Kim and maybe some of the top leadership?

The choice seems to be a long lingering death for the poor people there as the status quo is maintained and props up the existing government verse a shorter but more horrific period of total starvation and perhaps revolution (if the people there COULD even revolt…something like 1 in 3 North Koreans are chronically malnourished…and that’s WITH all this aid) as we either let them starve or strike with our military to take the existing government out. Neither option seems palatable to me but clearly SOMETHING needs to be done there. Or does it?


A couple things to add to this.

1.NK apparently has a huge amount of artillery ready to level Seul if War starts. We will not be able to prevent this unless we hit those pieces first(assuming there is to be war at all).

2.NK now has at least 1 nuke and missles capable of hitting Japan.

3.Kim Jong Ill has apparently said that cutting off Foriegn Aid would be an Act of War. See 1 and 2.

US Backs South Korea’s Rapprochement With DPRK
We should get back to this.
Opening the border between North and South will drive home to the people of the North just how badly their leader is screwing them over.

This is a good book on North Korea written by a journalist who is heavily involved in south east asia.

According to him North Korea’s food supply collapsed due to mismanagement, not necessarily to drought. Food aid is misused. So even if we give food aid (which I’m in favor of, North Korean civilians are prisoners of a dangerous government, not pawns) it will not change the screwed up system and may not get to the people who need it. He said during the 90s there was alot of BSing on the part of charities to keep the aid coming, ie korea would cherry pick which orphanages charity workers could visit, only sending them to the ones with nourished children and hiding the starving ones, so that the aid would keep coming so NK could use it to feed their military. In the book it is mentioned that a head of a charity ended up committing suicide over his guilt for bieng part of that.

The author also says it is common to see graffiti in North Korea saying stuff like “death to Kim Jong Il”. Basically Kim Il Sung is still respected but Kim Jong Il may not be well liked in Korea right now.

However Kim Jong Il is terrified of reform because if reform happens all his crimes and corruption may come to light. Many in North Korea are told Kim lives a simple life, but in reality he has numerous mansions and mercedes while the people starve. If control of the media is lessened (aka human/civil rights are promoted) people may find out about this fact and kill him.

NK also operates some really evil concentration camps, if word got out about them Kim is afraid that this would also create extreme backlash domestically and abroad.

The author also says Kim has survived quite a few assassination attempts. Even his own bodyguard tried to kill him once, and supposedly kim has problems sitting now due to physical damage he suffered as a result of that altercation. So who knows what 10-20 years will bring.

So, according to the author, Kim is not well liked. He is afraid of reform for fear his corruption and abuses will come to light domestically and internationally, leading to his overthrow.

So, status quo (i.e. continue to ship food to N. Korea even though the majority just goes to his military) and hope he dies from exhaustion in banging his harem of women or gets wacked by his own people?


That works for me! No way his successor can be as much of a nutter as he is. Give them enough food aid to provide 2000 calories per day, per person, until he dies. Then we’ll talk. If they squander or waste it, their fault, not ours.

I think that’s about it. Giving them food aid knowing full well that 90% will go to the military is a terrible idea … it’s just that not doing so is an even worse option.

What about giving them agricultural technology (or some other technology) that will better allow them to feed themselves? Whats the stumbling block to that?


Sure. I got no problem with it; I think they would. If you’re bent in portraying Americans as imperialistic aggressors held at bay only by the genius of Boy Kim, allowing significant numbers of neighborly American technicians in to teach your farmers obviously superior methods isn’t a good idea.

That’s one reason why you send in South Korean agricultural techs. Kim Jong-il couldn’t so easily dismiss them as tricksy foreign devils.

There isn’t any fuel or spare parts for machines in North Korea, so you’d have to send fuel aid as well. According to the book I listed earlier in some parts of North Korea entire factories are torn apart bit by bit by people looking for scrap metal until the factory doesn’t work anymore due to being ransacked for parts by civilians.

Beyond that I don’t see what is unworkable with that idea.

I agree: this is a hostage situation in which a criminal (KJI) holds a loved one (the NK people) close to him at gunpoint (the NK Army), having rigged explosives (missiles/super-artillery) to blow up other civilians (South Korea) if the police (the UN) or a vigilante hero (the US outside UN mandate) interferes.

Shoot the hostage.

Only kidding.

The difference in this case is that the gun can talk. Be clever. Use intelligence to appeal to key officers in the NK Army to enact a bloodless coup. (This does not mean just throwing money around - the CIA must learn that this is a lazy and unintelligent mode of operation which backfores far too often.)

He’s not crazy. He’s a desperate, evil man, pampered since childhood and callous to the suffering of anyone else. Note that his strategy worked pretty well. Seriously, take a good long look. He’s not crazy, but looking that way helps him.

This is very difficult. Movement in N.K. is very restricted.

Horray for fighting ignorance. This thread got me reading on current situations in NK and WOW. Knew they had a loose cannon in charge but holy cow. No clue it was so bad over there right now.

Q under the circumstances what kind of shape is the NK millitary in to really effectively supress the populace if for example we just started paradropping pallets of MRE’s/seeds/medical supplies into remote areas. Would NK really be in any condition to effectively enforce air superiority for an extended period of time? Could they really susain any kind of shooting war for more than a matter of days? If it actually came to a ground engagement would you see mass surrender and or desertion.

Drachilix, the short answer is that no one knows. N.K. has a lot of guns and a lot of men, but no one really knows how they will perform, or even if their artilliery will work at all.

They would almost certainly inflict severe damage on S.K. for a short duration, but chewed to pieces thereafter It’s the quantity of damage that’s the problem.

He’s just Ronery…

Here’s the problem with your scenario, and while it may seem extreme to us, this is a government that has said, “We can’t feed our people, so you will, and if you don’t we’ll try to kill you.”

American (or UN, or NATO) planes drop pallets of MRE’s.

NK gov’t says we’re trying to undermine them.

Food drops continue.

Artillery levels Seoul, as a warning to not interfere, but keep sending food aid through proper channels or a new high of 50000 f will be set in downtown Seoul.

But the problem with that scenario is that the second North Korea starts artillery fire over the border it will trigger an invasion of North Korea, at the very least to kill the artillery. And once you’re over the border blowing up artillery tubes there’s no sense in stopping until you reach Pyongyang.

South Korea is a hostage because North Korea could inflict unacceptable damage to South Korea if a war started. But once the war starts and they start shelling Seoul then the NK regime is over. Once the bad guy shoots the hostage there’s no reason for the cops to hold back. While North Korea might have a nuclear bomb or two, they probably don’t have a reliable delivery mechanism. If the combined US/South Korea/Japanese offensive is quick enough we have a pretty good chance of dismantling the nuclear command and control before a bomb can be used against South Korea.

It is pretty likely that the North Korea military is capable of a task like, “At time zulu, everyone start firing at your predetermined target in the south.” They probably aren’t capable of defending against a modern military invasion…the North Korean military’s primary use is against the North Korean people, it’s secondary use is to threaten South Korean infrastructure and civilians. It probably won’t be able to do much more than that. Of course, we won’t know for sure until the shooting starts.

Sadly its still a few years out but a group of these
could very well neutralize the primary threat that those artillery tubes present.

North Korea has alot of underground bunkers. From the book I read earlier I remember mentions of things like numerous underground bunkers in places like Pyongyang to provide food, water & military hardware for months on end. The goal of the regime is to cause so much suffering and damage in those ensuing months that the allies sue for peace before they have a chance to take down the NK regime, which will be hiding out in protected bunkers.

As far as artillery, the US military can place an artillery piece right after it shoots a shell. So every first shell from an artillery piece will probably also be its last. However the goal of NK is still (if all out war breaks out, according to the author I listed) is to cause alot of damage and suffering in Japan & South Korea and america while digging in deep.

NK also has a gigantic special forces unit numbering 100,000. These are essentially special forces military operatives who are also suicide soldiers. Supposedly NK already has alot of sleeper cells in the US, South Korea & Japan. If war breaks out these people will go on a terrorist rampage making 9/11 look like a joke, committing assasinations, bombing and hijackings. 9/11 only took 19 people and the bombings in places like Iraq only take a handful of people, so those NK cells could do alot of damage.