- The Washington Times - Monday, February 9, 2004

Three communist countries are responsible for the world’s most devastating famines.

Forcible collectivization of agriculture by Mao Tse-tung caused a famine in the early 1960s, which cost the lives of between 27 million and 40 million Chinese people. V.I. Lenin and Josef Stalin between them created two famines in the Soviet Union that cost the lives of at least 12 million people.

The third communist dictatorship where a government-induced famine endures to this very day is North Korea. So far at least 3 million Korean men, women and children have died of starvation in a population of some 22 million, although no one really knows what the actual population is.

Dictator Kim Jong-il doesn’t believe in censuses. In any case, were it not for foreign aid, the death toll of the prisoners who live in this giant prison camp of a country would be much higher.

Emeritus Professor B. J. Rummel, Nobel Peace Prize finalist and a leading expert on genocide, writes in a special study about North Korea:

“As I write this, people are dying by the thousands everyday, due to the regime. … [T]hey die because of the ideological fanaticism of the small gang of thugs who hold power over them with their guns.”

North Korea, says Professor Rummel, is one of the few countries in which population mortality rates have been increasing, especially infant mortality.

According to London’s Economist, North Korea’s unending famine has “produced seven-year-olds who are on average 8 inches shorter and 22 pounds lighter than their potential South Korean playmates.”

Professor Rummel is the framer of what I have called “Rummel’s Law”: “The less freedom a people have, the more likely their rulers are to murder them.” He has shown that more people in the 20th century have been killed in cold blood by their own dictatorial governments right and left — 3 times as many — than have been killed in the heat of battle.

He cites not only the past genocides in China, Soviet Union, Nazi Germany and Cambodia but more recently Rwanda, Congo, Liberia, Sudan, Afghanistan, Iraq and North Korea.

North Korea’s population requires about 6 million tons of food a year for a minimum diet. The regime, which controls all agriculture, can only produce about 4 million tons, which means a shortfall of 2 million tons below what is minimally required. According to the U.N. Food and Agricultural Organization, the minimum consumption of rice per day calls for 24 ounces. Dictator Kim has cut this to 14 ounces a day, according to Mr. Rummel.

So while tens of thousands of its citizenry are starving, this inhuman dictatorship has sent a delegation to Nigeria with an offer to share missile technology and training of army personnel. The CIA has described North Korea as the world’s largest exporter of ballistic missiles. Yang Hyong Sop, vice-president of North Korea’s Presidium of the Supreme People’s Assembly, made the offer. Nigeria, with 134 million people, is the most populous country in Africa and its petroleum-based economy could one day make it the richest country on the continent.

North Korea, a garrison state, is a leader in fostering proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. If Nigeria goes through with the missile deal, it would be the first known sub-Saharan missile power, according to UPI.

Some Middle Eastern countries have already benefited from North Korea’s proliferation policies — Libya, Iran, Egypt, Pakistan and Syria. There is something mad about the Kim family dynasty, which has ruled this ravaged land since the end of World War II and which tried to conquer South Korea in 1950.

According to recent studies, the present ruler, Kim Jong-il has told his subjects he is the author of 1,000 books, all of them “written” while he was still in college. He has also promulgated a law that his late father, Kim Il-sung, is North Korea’s president for eternity.

North Korea is a menace to all its neighbors, especially Japan and South Korea. While China has some influence with Kim Jong-il, it is wary of his policies because starving North Koreans aim to cross the border into China. But as soon as they cross, they are caught and repatriated. Then they are returned to prison camps within the prison camp that is North Korea.

As for the United Nations and its Commission on Human Rights, it sits there and says nothing about one of the world’s great human tragedies.

One day, the democratic countries will have to do something about this monstrous dictatorship, including perhaps the military option. That day cannot far off.

Arnold Beichman, a Hoover Institution research fellow, is a columnist for The Washington Times.

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