Yesterday the U.S. and North Korea agreed to a food aid program that would send nutritional supplements to Pyongyang in exchange for halting uranium enrichment and allowing IAEA inspectors to visit North Korea’s main nuclear facility, Yongbyon. Although the temporary cessation of testing programs at this facility is definitely a step in the right direction, it is unlikely that anything meaningful will be gained out of the agreement.
In 2005, Kim Jong-Il agreed to a similar aid deal, only to resume nuclear testing a short while later. In addition, North Korea has in the past sold food aid rather than give it to the country’s own starving citizens. It is highly unlikely that newly-appointed Kim Jong-Un will relinquish the nation’s nuclear program–his primary bargaining chip and sole mean of maintaining power in the military junta. If Kim Jong-Un gives up their warheads, he undoubtedly understands his demise will be written on the walls of his ghost cities.
By providing aid to North Korea, we are also sending the wrong message to Iran. Washington is assuring Tehran that once they develop a nuclear weapon, not only will it legitimize and cement their autocratic rule, but as long as they make illusory efforts towards negotiations they will also be eligible for U.S. aid. Talk about a bargain!