by Ben Cohen
I'm no advocate of regime change, but the abuse doled out to the people of North Korea would make the most ardent liberal think twice.
According to the Economist, the economy has essentially collapsed in North Korea, leading to food shortages, famine and unrest.The government's response has been to crack down on dissent and further brutalize its people rather than respond to the dire situation.
A horrifying report from the East West Society also details the expansion of political imprisonment, large scale prisoner abuse in N. Korea, and the use of forced labor as the main means of production (pdf version here: *“Repression and Punishment in North Korea: Survey Evidence of Prison Camp Experiences").
The West's primary concern has been to dampen North Korea's nuclear potency and has assiduously avoided human rights issues. From a geopolitical point of view, this is understandable, but the vast scale of horrific human abuse cannot be ignored.
I generally don't believe in military solutions to human rights crisis (although there are certainly exceptions), but some form of multilateral action should be considered by the international community at some point. This action does not need to be violent, but a coherent strategy must be formulated to deal with a situation that could potentially collapse at any moment. And if you're wondering how bad the situation really is, I suggest you watch this.