North Korea and Climate change
Nothing could be more alien to the debate on North Korea today than to mention climate change. The whole media circus seems to be set up specifically to avoid the topic. Certainly everyone is assuming, at least in South Korea, that the point will be to make North Koreans consumers who eat a lot and waste a lot, use smart phones and live in big apartments. It is often assumed to be fine for South Korean companies to exploit low labor costs in North Korea in order to increase profits.
But the recent interview on Fox News of US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo by Chris Wallace on Fox News (May 13, 2018) was particularly revealing.
Mike Wallace: I want to go back to the comment – and Kevin just played it – your comment on Friday that if Kim chooses the, quote, “right path,” the U.S. is prepared to work with North Korea to, quote, “achieve prosperity.” What does that mean in terms of direct U.S. investment in North Korea? And are we, as part of this, willing, in effect, to guarantee Kim’s security, that regime change will be off the table?
Mike POMPEO: Chris, here’s what this will look like. This will be Americans coming in – private sector Americans, not the U.S. taxpayer – private sector Americans coming in to help build out the energy grid – they need enormous amounts of electricity in North Korea; to work with them to develop infrastructure, all the things that the North Korean people need, the capacity for American agriculture to support North Korea so they can eat meat and have healthy lives. Those are the kind of things that, if we get what it is the President has demanded – the complete, verifiable, irreversible denuclearization of North Korea – that the American people
will offer in spades.
We must remember that the Trump administration has pulled out of the Paris Accord and thrown all science out of the Environmental Protection Agency. it is undoing regulation on pollution in the United States and encouraging the massive consumption of oil and coal, in the face of overwhelming evidence of the destruction of the atmosphere which will be catastrophic for all of humanity. Here, clearly the intention is for US corporations to take over the North Korean energy grid, encourage North Koreans to buy American meat (some of the least healthy around and no longer subject to serious inspection). No doubt this also involves the exploitation of North Korean coal (which ought to be left in the ground) to fuel this effort and of course all sorts of deals for the exploitation of natural resources.
Sounds a lot like what was done to Iraq. Perhaps we might suggest that the low energy consumption in North Korea is not entirely a negative and that developing organic farming in North Korea is far more important than importing US beef. In any case, it would not be unreasonable to demand that we know what agreements have been signed.