Thursday, December 29, 2016

N. Korea Human Rights violations threaten US national Security

Below is transcription of a panel conducted last month at the George W. Bush Institute in TX on the threat that North Korea poses on the US…because of the inseparable links between human right violations in N. Korea and our own national security here at home.  Statements by former US President George W. Bush, two analysts and former Senator and Democratic VP candidate Joe Lieberman repeatedly make this case.

The links between N. Korea’s nuclear weapons program and the proliferation of Nuclear weapons and missile technology to Iran, Pakistan and Syria are clear and related to the resources the N. Korean government generated from the slave labor of it’s own people.
What is not mentioned is N. Korea’s impressive cyber force capacity which is well known or its biological weapons capacity which is not.   I don’t believe the N. Korean leadership is suicidal, but after the unjust US invasion of Iraq and President Bush’s provocative “Evil Empire speech’ putting cross hairs on both Iran and N. Korea, is there any doubt that the development of WMD capabilities would be in the best interests of both those ‘rogue nations’?   And that the growing tensions between major super power states, rogue states with WMD capacity, and violent extremists groups seeking it, that creating more injustice in the world isn’t in the best interest of any living soul?

After the horrors of WW II (the devastation of total war, a genocide and a new weapon capable of vaporizing tens of thousands of innocent people in a flash) that the Universal Declaration of Human Rights was passed.  It’s intent was to prevent future conflicts.  But the UN was never given the capacity to ensure such global justice.  Today, the closest thing we have is the globally agreed upon Sustainable Development Goals.  Achieving them would be the equivalent of enforcement of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.  And SDG #16 is vital in ensuring the global governance mechanisms  are in place to most effectively achieve each of the other SDGs. Then all that’s missing is the funding.  Something that would be available if the world stopped reacting to crisis and instead invested in their prevention.  With the money the US has spent on it’s invasion of Iraq and that it will pay for the future health benefits of its military survivors…the world could have met the Millennium Development Goals.  Now, we need the likes of a good businessman, to make deals and pull the resources from the Corporations that have an equal amount of funds in reserve just waiting for a wise investment opportunity.   A silly thought I know.  But no more silly than thinking we can keep our security without investing in global justice.

Former President George W. Bush on Human Rights in North Korea Former President George W. Bush spoke about the effect of the North Korean Human Rights Act of 2004, followed by a panel discussion on the foreign policy priorities of the incoming Trump administration and the 115th Congress.  “The Human Rights and Security Nexus” was a panel of “Light Through the Darkness: A Forum on Freedom in North Korea,” a George W. Bush Institute forum on U.S. policy toward North Korea and national security.  CSpan:  NOVEMBER 29, 2016

Amanda Schnetzer, Global Initiatives Director, George W. Bush Institute
[starting at 1 min. 30 sec. in] “Since 2014 the Bush Institution has convened unprecedented awareness raising, consensus building meetings, commissioned original research, and helped break new ground in our understanding of one of the worst human tragedies of our time.  The result has been a call to action!   For governments, the private sector, and civil society to work together in a bipartisan way to improve the human condition in North Korea.   We believe this calls for advocating for a new US policy that integrates the call for human freedom with de-nuclearization.  We also believe it means supporting the lives of escapees who are building new lives and freedoms here in the US.  All of you can be a part of this call to action!  If you visit you will find several concrete ways you can help.  Learn more about the Human Rights/Security Nexis by downloading”…research and policy recommendations being released today. “Help expose the suffering of the North Korean people and why it matters to Americans security by sharing his content on social media.  Let Members of Congress know how you feel. … Find ways to help N. Korean escapees and other refugees in your community.  And support the ongoing work of the Bush Institute to advance human freedom… The will for human freedom cannot be tamped down forever.”  [Ends at 3:10 in]
[8:20 Former President Bush speaks] 13:00 ‘we focus on a lot of things, but’ “people ask why North Korea?  Of all the places why should the Bush Center be thinking about North Korea? There are several reason….[last] N. Korea represents a grave security threat. It shows how the proliferation of a deadly technology can allow small leaders…to threaten and disrupt the world on a grand scale….there are no easy policy solutions. But any serious response must begin by accepting reality. There is no way to detach ourselves from events in east Asia.  Our future, and the future of that region are closely linked. Eventually, there is no isolation from proliferation. No safety in distance.  North Korea also represents the longest sustained humanitarian crisis in our time… Freedom, like the dignity of the individual is universal…. These two challenges, the humanitarian challenge and the security challenge are closely linked….The lesson of history is clear. A country that does not respect the rights of its people will not respect the rights of its neighbors. This is one of the arguments of an excellent report that Victor Chaw and Bob Gallucci have put together…” These to top experts, one a Democrat, one a Republican, “make a case that Human Rights and Security are inseparable.  They make a strong case that human dignity is not a distraction from security policy… [The report] sent out a range of options for a renewed North Korean policy, reassuring allies in the region, integrating nonproliferation and human rights sanctions, going after slave labor exports that fund weapons development…
This is a timely moment and our country is about to have a new administration which has every right to choose its own direction. They can take advice or not, but there is one option that can’t be chosen. The option of drifting.  Because that current would lead to disaster. Denial provides only the shallow and temporary illusion of security, and leadership on this matter cannot be delegated to others.  A successful response will require unprecedented global cooperation.  But it can it can only be led by one country, the US.  There is another way to show our commitment to human rights for the North Korean people.  By supporting refugees in our midst.  The Bush Institute’s Human Freedom Initiative is issuing a second report today, based on a survey of N. Korean refugees who live in our country. It shows a small but highly motivated community of exceptional people.  It also reveals real need in the areas of education and employment…. Coming to the aid of men and women who have fled the worst tyranny in the world is in our national interest…. The warm welcome of refugees is one of the truest expressions of our national character. It shows the broad reach of American ideals and the good heart of our people.  Refugees often risk everything, including their life, to come to America. Whatever their background they deserve our sympathy.  Not our concept.  The threat from North Korea and the cruel oppression of its people are urgent and related problems.   Free nations cannot accept a future on terms set by this brutal and unstable regime. Technology is bringing closer the threats of a dangerous world.  Technology can also carry a message of God given rights and dignity - the other direction.  And, that is a form of power as well.  The untamed power of freedom to reach the darkest corners of the world.  It is not foreign policy realism to ignore the deepest aspirations of humanity.  Yes, we defend ourselves in a tense demilitarized zone and we are grateful to American and Korean troops who stand guard on the last rampart of the Cold War. But we also defend ourselves by taking the side of the North Korean people.  They deserve better than brutality and tyranny. They deserve to determine their own future.  That would bring real peace to the Korean peninsula. The only true and lasting peace.  A peace. Founded on human freedom.
[22:25]  Michael J. Gerson, Washington Post reads a portion of President Bush’s second Inaugural address, “We are led by events and common sense to one conclusion. The survival of liberty in our land increasingly depends on the success of liberty in other lands. The best hope for peace in our world is in the expansion of freedom in all the world.  Americans vital interests and deepest beliefs are now one.”
Victor makes the claim in his report that “freedom and security are indivisible”.
[31:00] Robert Gallucci points out that N. Korea’ contribution to nuclear proliferation is significant. It has transferred both nuclear and missile technology to both Iran and Pakistan.  And it was in the process of assisting Syrian in the development of nuclear power when “Israel exercised its own policy of nonproliferation and bombed it”.   
Sen. Cory Gardner (R-CO), incoming Republican Senatorial Committee chair said he wanted to make sure the new Admin keeps the N. Korean issue on the top of his agenda. Make sure that UN sanction are enforced by working closely with China.
Former Senator Joe Lieberman.
[34;30]  Thanks the President and the Bush Institute's “principled public service, which always in my opinion is based on the centrality of the American ideal of freedom, which is the mission that our founders gave us in the Declaration of Independence- about all those self- evident, the rights we have to truth, the rights we have to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness- which clearly were not just given by our creator to Americans. That’s a declaration of universal human rights. We forget that sometimes that that's our mission as Americans, but it also happens to relate to our security in a very real way. And that can be lost.  So Why is it important that support for human rights in N. Korea and for a change of regime in N. Korea and the unification of Korea?  It is because it comes from our basic values. This ought not to be a partisan matter in any sense.
And the discussion we have when you think about it, it is easy enough for somebody to say, "oh, that's N. Korea, that's too bad. Kim Jong-Un is crazy and people suffer there, but it's far away from us." Well, now in this slave state, he's taken whatever resources he has, and he's built this nuclear missile capacity and now he is selling it to the Iranians, the Pakistanis, to the Syrians, and inevitability to terrorists, and he is also developing now literally the capacity to hit the western part of the US.  So what may seem like a kind of idealistic, not realistic pursuit of human rights for people far away from us,  is really not only directly related to what is in our hearts as Americans, but it is also related to our security.   I think that's why we have achieved bipartisanship on this matter and why it's so important we go forwards.
All of us have said and know, we are at the change of an administration in Washington, and I don't mean this derogatorily, this is an administration whose foreign policy in detail, has not been sketched out, so that unsettles people including our allies in Korea and places all around the world, but it also creates an opportunity.  If  I can put it that way, to a broadly bipartisan group brought together by the Bush Institute to try to speak the truth about N. Korea to those who will exercise power in the next administration because the reality is that N. Korea will be in the face of the next administration, whether it chooses to look at it or not.
[38] Victor…when asked if he was suggesting a new policy approach to N. Korea?   First of all we are making the statement that security and human rights are interlinked.  This is not a thing that has been done in the past [that he is aware of!!!!].  He stressed the importance of the new Administration making N. Korea a priority as well as this link between human rights and security…as well as other dimensions…such as the where resources from slave labor used to purchase

Well, the first reason is that this matters to us. It matters in terms of our national values, our purpose, but it also matters quite directly in terms of our security. There will be a debate as the new administration takes office as to what our role will be in the world. The president-elect said certain things during the campaign that suggested we would go back- I don't like to use the word "isolationism," but that we were going to withdraw from the world and concentrate on America, but the world doesn't allow you to concentrate on America. What happens in America, our security, our freedom and prosperity, depends a lot on what happens around the world and the example of N. Korea is a powerful example of it.
But the other thing to say is that we live in a world of instantaneous communications globally, so that what we do in one place is immediately known elsewhere. So, for instance, whatever position you took on the Iran nuclear agreement, the fact that the agreement was signed and that it appeared that our allies in the region, both in the Arab world and Israel, were very upset about it, I think unsettled people. I found my conversations with allies in Asia, for instance- wow, if the US did that, in that case, what are they going to do if China moves aggressively on us?  Or if Kim Jong-Un proposes some kind of compromise deal again.
What I'm saying is, what we do with N. Korea, what the new administration does with N. Korea, will establish a very important precedent for what its leadership will be in the world, and it will, to be explicit, either encourage or discourage or unsettle our allies, and it may also encourage or discourage our enemies.
The way we handle this is important beyond N. Korea.  But N. Korea, in my opinion, is probably the most urgent, immediate threat that the new administration will face to our security. We've got to acknowledge, as President Bush said at the outset, this is not easy, but whatever we have tried so far hasn't worked because people continue to live in terrible conditions, totally repressed, enslaved, and Kim Jong-Un has increased his nuclear and missile capacity. 
So to me, it is a time to get tough, both on the freedom agenda. Support opposition groups; try to get to the people of N. Korea more access to the internet and knowledge about what's happening around the world.  Get tough with the sanctions, which are very important, the secondary sanctions. This man is not going to make an agreement, as everybody seems to agree, unless he thinks the survival of his regime is on the line. We've got to convince him that that's how serious we are, including the potential for military action, which none of us want to take, but if all else fails...

I agree with everything that was said. This is all about leadership and part of leadership is education.  So I believe in the case of Syria that once the president had set the red line, if he actually followed through on it, and responded to us as you suggest, that he would have had great support from the American people.  In this case, if we get to the point where the red line, where it appears, that the N. Koreans have the ability to hit the western part of the US with a nuclear armed missile, then it'll take leadership to point that out.  But I think a president, in that circumstance, in Congress will also have to wrestle with the consequences of not acting and this is not an easy decision.
To state the obvious, I don't think the American people understand this very serious circumstance.To convince the American people that we should get involved in a Korean-like ground war again now. To take military action to incapacitate a regime that is totalitarian, and now has the capacity to hit the US, I think the American people would not prefer that, but would certainly support it. In other words, not their first choice, but would support it as opposed to being vulnerable to a mad man's missiles and nuclear weapons.

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