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Friday, June 18, 2004

Vaclav Havel on North Korea

Vaclav Havel writes about the human rights crisis in North Korea and what we should do about it.

Now is the time for the democratic countries of the world -- the European Union, the United States, Japan, South Korea -- to take a common position. They must make it clear that they will not offer concessions to a totalitarian dictator. They must state that respect for basic human rights is an integral part of any future discussions with Pyongyang. Decisiveness, perseverance and negotiations from a position of strength are the only things that Kim Jong Il and those like him understand.
Havel knows a bit about what it takes to defeat totalitarian regimes. His advice is always worth listening to. The real challenge here I think is getting South Korea to make a strong stand against North Korea. Kim Jong Il is crazy and he has enough conventional weapons (let along nuclear weapons) to level Seoul. Confronting North Korea is a real risk for the South and they have a lot to lose. On the other hand, the guy isn't getting and saner and his country isn't becoming more stable. We hope we can get him to crash, but not burn something that will take a lot of finess and probably a lot of luck as well.


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