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Example research essay topic: North Korea Policy Change - 1,253 words

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To claim that North Korea is a country with no hope is delusional and untrue. Kim Jong Il, the fiery and irrational dictator of North Korea needs to change, or better still, forced out of power. Remember, dictators of the ilk of Kim dont possess a plan to an ultimate objective. Their only objective is to remain in power. At whatever cost. America and the world need a plan to address a change in policy as well as a regime.

Ever since the 19 th century, North Korea has been used and abused. First it was China until 1894, followed by Japan who beat the Chinese in the Sino-Japanese war of 1894 - 95. It finally received independence in 1948, after the Second World War when the Japanese were humiliated. Its better southern half has paced ahead in terms of economic growth and freedom, while North under the dictatorial regime of Kim Il Sung and then his even worse son Kim Jong Il has declined. Not faded. The United States policy with respect to North Korea has been hopelessly inconsistent and inadequate.

Like with Cuba, and as Free Zakaria argues, it relies on imposing economic sanctions and waiting for the downfall of these regimes. And like with Cuba, all it has done is break the bone of the middle class and ensured and allowed their hapless leaders to continue. Today Fidel Castro would be leading Cuba for the 41 st consecutive year. Clearly, engagement with North Korea is not a priority for George Bush. And rightly so. North Korea has one of the most appalling human rights records ever recorded in history.

Its 23 million habitant's are on the brink of poverty, due to the droughts and famines that have occurred since 1997. And North Korea has violated a serious 1994 agreement, which required it to freeze its nuclear weapons program. It is entirely dependent on aid from the UN and China with respect to food and power. Apparently, China supplies North Korea 75 % of its electricity and 40 % of its food, fearing if North Korea were to be a failed state, it would be flooded with refugees. Recently even South Korea has joined in with a plan for electricity, which would commence from 2007.

President Bush has defined North Korea as part of Axis of Evil along with Iran and Iraq, but that is clearly a sign of desperation from the United States. There is little more that the United States can do, after imposing all sorts of sanctions and forced isolation for the Communist nation, which has destroyed their economy. Over a third of the population of the country is fed on the United Nations Food Program, with a substantial amount of the remaining being received from China and South Korea. South Korea, for all the progress it has made economically can ill-afford to have a regime that brings about regional stability.

Already Kim has claimed that he has uranium and plutonium WMD (he does, not Saddam) and could be on the verge of building more. What is the reason for Kim Jong Il to boldly proclaim that he possesses such weapons? He could have easily denied the allegation and delayed the inspection of the nuclear reactors. Analysts state that he was cornered and caved into international pressures. While that may be partly true, it doesnt reflect the complete truth considering, that it was Kim Jong Il who pulled out of talks earlier this year, after he witnessed the pressure United States was trying to impose on China, Russia, Japan to press Pyongyang to abandon its program.

The reason as a Newsweek columnist puts it is, Kim believes that United States wants to kill him and he is right. For Kim to survive and lead North Korea, the only way possible is to claim that he possesses nuclear weapons that he intends to use for destruction. Only then can the world and United States have second thoughts of using the stick with North Korea. CHINESE BLUFF While, there is merit to that refugee claim of China, it seems ill conceived or baked truth. If that were to be the case for China, why is it that despite the clout it possesses with Pyongyang it doesnt call for economic policy decisions that can lead the North to prosperity again? Today the per capita GDP of North Korea is less than a tenth of its southern successful half.

The only reason China is consistently flooded with refugees even today, it is because the Kim Jong Il regime has followed appalling economic decisions and have curtailed freedom that have compelled the North Koreans to flee in hope for a better life. If the prospects of progress in North Korea were high, the cases of refugees to China would even diminish. Its clear common sense. (A thought that India also needs to address with fundamentalist Bangladesh) By not calling for a regime change it is only delaying the inevitable and allowing the North Korean population to suffer. There is a greater reason with China to this whole North Korea issue than just the thought of fleeing refugees or even the fact that the nations are communist. And it has something to do, with what the Chinese have been attempting to do for over a quarter of a century, ever since Deng Xiaoping began the process of economic reform. Become an economic global super-power.

Ever since China and South Korea normalized relations in 1992, trade and investment between the two countries has expanded rapidly. So much so, that South Korea is perhaps one of the few nations that has more often than not clocked a trade surplus with the giant. Infact, as an economic commentator points out, that both the countries have export led economies and are in direct competition with each other unlike the case with Japan which focuses on high end products and technologies. Since 1949, China has had a perennial dispute with Taiwan, and by supporting a regime that has threatened to launch and destroy the world with its nuclear missiles; it ensures that its neighbour-competitor is also kept in check. Much like how it has ensured the same with India, by providing assistance to the Islamic fundamentalists in Pakistan. But even that reason may pale in comparison to the one suggested by a political analyst, which mentions, that as long as the North Korea issue is not dealt with, China will never be in the core focus of the United States.

Remember, China isnt doing far too better than Kim Kong Il. Its human rights record is appalling and there is still no free press or media. Democracy protests are muted forcefully, especially since the 1989 Tiananmen Square incident. And one hasnt even reached the labour rights violations, the pinnacle of their astounding economic growth. Remember, while policy change is necessary in the short-run, in the long run it is a positive regime change that can bring about a real change in the lives of the North Koreans. So, while we can keep debating about the reasons for a policy change, the real challenge for the world is the possibility of bringing about a regime change from a family that has brutally ruled Pyongyang for the last six decades.

So far China has demonstrated that it is willing to act irresponsibly for the sake of its relative petty goals. And thats a bad sign for the rest of the world, if the next global superpower behaves in that selfish manner.


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