Brent Scowcroft Center Resident Senior Fellow Robert A. Manning cowrites for the Wall Street Journal about why North Korea is able to produce ever more ballistic missiles and nuclear weapons yet is unable to feed its people:
Why, after nearly two decades of food aid, is an industrialized state able to produce ever more ballistic missiles and nuclear weapons yet unable to feed its people? Some 70 percent of North Korea’s 25 million citizens face “food insecurity,” the United Nations says, and the proximate cause is a nasty drought, with rice, wheat and potato crops expected to be down 50 percent. But that’s not really it at all.
It’s important to keep in mind cause and effect. In 1997 we wrote an op-ed about North Korea titled “Feed Me or I’ll Kill You,” and little has changed since. Drought or not, this is a chronic condition. And the cause isn’t nature but distorted policies.