Saturday, October 09, 2004

NKZone article - negative impact of North Korea Human Rights Act

I posted this in response to an article on NKZone:

This item implies that viewing the

the North Korean Human Rights Act, recently passed by the Senate, as a violation of Korean sovereignty and "an excuse to invade."
as the DLP [South Korean Democratic Labour Party] does, is somehow incompatible with being in favour of the downfall of the North Korean regime.

But on the contrary, many people who would like to see regime change in North Korea and the chance for non-violent reunification of Korea also want to see a less bellicose approach from the US administration to the problems of the region. Historically, US Human Rights Acts and similar pieces of legislation _have_ been used as excuses to invade other countries, or to infiltrate them using the CIA, so it's not crazy to suppose that one or both of these will be among the consequences this time.

As the article about the DLP [that the NKZone article quoted] says,

"In particular, the DLP took examples of the Iraq Liberation Act and Iran Democracy Act and expressed concern that even within the NKHRA, there was a hidden U.S. intention to invade North Korea. In fact, the U.S. enacted the Iraq Liberation Act in 1998 with the intention of making the Saddam Hussein regime collapse, and five years later, the U.S. carried out its invasion of Iraq."
Something similar seems to be happening now with last December's "Syria Accountability Act" passed almost unanimously in Congress, and partially implemented by Bush on 11th May this year. There's criticism of Bush's imposition of sanctions by the right-wing Cato Institute here and a better piece on the leftist site, Counterpunch, here.

It's only good sense to oppose totalitarian regimes AND to oppose US foreign policy which seems likely - at best - to entrench the power of the dictator, and not unlikely to lead to violent confrontation, given the US's record. There's no inconsistency there, just the humanitarian/leftist principle of putting first the interests of the people likely to be most affected - in this case Koreans and others in the region.

Here's a summary of the Act, which was presented to the US president for his signature yesterday. Section (302) is pretty bizarre. I don't recall anyone saying during the cold war that East German refugees shouldn't be treated as citizens of West Germany if they wanted.

Rep. Lee Yeong-sun (second from right) and other DLP members short slogans protesting the passing of the NKHRA by the U.S. Senate in front of the U.S. embassy on Sejong-no, Thursday morning.


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