Alliance Politics: Legislating Hunger by Morton Abramowitz


[Another article on US food aid to the DPRK to be found on our Partner website 38North is authored by The Century Foundation’s senior fellow Morton Abramowitz, who is on the boards of the International Rescue Committee, the International Crisis Group, and Human Rights in North Korea. He was president of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace and has held numerous positions in the US Department of State, was ambassador to Turkey and Thailand, and served as assistant secretary of state for intelligence and research, and political adviser to the commander-in-chief, Pacific. Abramowitz argues that this is one issue on which the U.S. cannot afford to simply follow Seoul’s lead. Following are two excerpts from his article, which is worth reading in full. Link supplied below. –CanKor.]

The South Korean government should stop blocking American food aid to large numbers of their brethren in the North facing starvation.

The Obama administration has worked hard to strengthen its relationship with our ally South Korea and claims today’s partnership is the best both nations have ever had. That is probably true, achieved by following Seoul’s lead on major issues, particularly the reversal after ten years of the “Sunshine Policy” toward North Korea, which saw massive South Korean aid to the North with little success in transforming that floundering state. It is one thing for Washington to join Seoul in isolating the Kim regime. It is another for the U.S. to follow Seoul’s lead in denying food aid to millions of North Koreans. This will lead to deaths or severe malnutrition, diseases, and stunted growth, a malady which is likely to affect even the lower ranks of the DPRK military. It is a price too high for any American government to pay.

(…)

South Korea has ample resources to take care of the terrible situation in the North. If it prefers to let Koreans in the North starve, that is deeply regrettable and the United States should at least urge them to change their policy. If they refuse, the U.S. should abandon its support of the South on this issue. This is not a situation we like, but it is one we must face up to. The long standing other Reagan doctrine-hunger knows no politics-should be our guide. It would be unthinkable for the U.S. to follow the South in allowing large numbers of people, who will one day be South Korea’s fellow citizens, to die or to be permanently maimed by malnutrition.

Read more: Alliance Politics: Legislating Hunger 

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