Wednesday, August 17, 2005


HatTip to Mingi. He adds, "A rarity regarding North Korea, but these two liberals get it right."

Wrong on North Korea

The Baltimore Sun
July 13, 2005

Bruce B. Lee, Attorney,
Michael E. O'Hanlon, Senior Fellow, Foreign Policy Studies (The Brookings Institute)

In the debate over North Korea policy, Democrats have avoided raising the human rights issue, conceding it to President Bush and the evangelical wing of the Republican Party.

This approach may seem to make sense on narrow military grounds because it is principally North Korea's nuclear weapons that threaten us and therefore natural to focus on them in policy debates. But it is a serious mistake.

There are three major problems with the Democrats' reluctance to demand improvements in North Korea's human rights conditions as a necessary prerequisite to any substantial d├ętente between the two countries.

First, in U.S. political terms, it is helping turn Korean-Americans increasingly to the Republican Party, making them one of only two major Asian-American groups (along with Vietnamese) to favor the GOP.

There are 2 million Korean-Americans in the United States, with a substantial number successful economically, active politically and highly educated. More than 70 percent are Christian, and the majority can trace family roots to North Korea. For them, the issue of human rights in North Korea is an emotional issue just as the Soviet Jewry movement of the 1970s was for American Jews. In the last year, Korean-Americans have been politicized as never before.

There are more than 70 college chapters of LINK (Liberation in North Korea) across the country, and the Korean Christian community recently held a rally attended by more than 2,000 pastors. These efforts were largely responsible for the passage of the North Korean Human Rights Act last year. If Democrats appear indifferent to the well-being of helpless North Korean citizens, political prisoners and refugees in China, the Korean-American tilt toward the GOP will likely increase. (full article)

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