Aidan Foster Carter has the 'bona fides' of a Korea watcher. Long in the tooth, his opinion in sought in the press. When it comes to North Korea, the disciplined Foster Carter throws caution to the wind: 'I wish the Kim regime would simply go away' is a sign of the emotional agitation the mere mention of North Korea arouses in him.
Consider his latest journalistic contribution on North Korea: 'North Koreans: Still hungry. Who cares?', which recently appeared on ATOL.com.
Look at his opening remarks: 'Warning: This article is really boring. And ever so depressing. There's lots far more exciting than this on "Asia Times Online". Why not go read something else instead?' Then, Foster Carter goes on to draw of a list of what he calls 'sexy stuff': grievances and an indictment of North Korea.
His tone is in a 'The New Yorker' coined phrase -- 'smary self satisfaction'.
You can blame Kim Jong il & co. for many things, but not for acts of God. North Korea has been hit by a series of floods and droughts that have wreaked havoc on the lives of ordinary North Koreans. Starvation, stunted growth of children, early deaths, and an exodus of northerns to China and a circutious flight to South Korea in quest of economic relief.
International organisations have tried to reduce the violent suffering of the Northerners without curing the starvation, physical diminisment, and deaths.
Moreover the intentional flint hearted Southern regime of Lee Myung bak withheld the much needed fertilisers in the North, and drastically cut food supplies to a bare minimum if that.
Foster Carter neglects to point out that Kim Jong il's government appealed to the international community for more food aid, owing to a bad harvest. The US, UE, and Australia refused its appeal unless North Korea would give them the right to control distribution and the right to impose their policies. Naturally, North Korea turned the offer down. [For those with the memory of elephants, think of the US, UK, and France's proposals to take over the Suez Canal authority nationalised by Col. Gamal Nassar in 1956. The 'rais' flatly turned them down, for he recognised that it was a backdoor tack to again control the Canal and its receipts and thus bestow on Egypt the honour of being the former colonial powers' straw man.]
And as such, the US, US, and Australia simply dusted off an old stock in the trade of throwing their weight around. Have we to appreciate their utter gall? Have they learnt nothing in dealing with North Korea? Obviously not!
North Korea is fiercely nationalist and wears its honour on its sleeve. Technically at war, it does remember the horror of Japanese occupation and the utter destruction of its territory by the US led UN troops during the Korean War. It is justly proud with volunteer troops from China, of having 'rolled back' these troops to the 38 parallel where the war is set in stone by an armistice agreement.
Foster Carter will belittle the idea of 'juche' or the 'Cholima spirit' or the regimentation and uniformity of the land of the Kims, yet the condescending pen of his reminds one of the well fed, comfortable moraliser who from afar can go 'tsk, tsk, tsk...oh, how awful...triple shame on North Korea...and hot in condemnation and the ready finger of beads of high dudgeon...and sigh with the frustration that he cannot do much about the way things are but scold' whilst sipping his tea.
We've heard this old song before: remember the sanctions against Hussein's Iraq where the incidence of early children's death spiked higher and higher...and the belt tightening cut into the Iraqis' hide...' It took an war based on lies to remove Saddam Hussein and even now the suffering of the Iraqis remain extreme.
Although Foster Carter won't admit it: he desires the reopening of the war front in North Korea. But his body won't be on the front line...
Better the North Koreans starve so that the Snow White purity of Foster Carter's motives remain to slip into Francois Villon's line like 'les neiges d'antan'.