Why Ordinary Agreements with North Korea are Destined to be Futile

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Open Doors1 noted that “Christians [in North Korea] try to hide their faith as far as possible to avoid arrest and being sent to a labor camp.”2  Given such a threatening environment for people of faith, we can conclude that attempting to solve the recent arms development problem with Kim Jong Un by negotiating routine treaties is not a high percentage strategy.  Why?  As Bishop Fulton J. Sheen (1895-1979) once said:

“Can we not see that if law is divorced from morality and religion, then treaties cease to be obligatory and begin to be mere arrangements, binding only so long as they are advantageous?  Rob international justice of its roots in morality and treaties are hypothetical, not categorical; convenient tools, not honorable obligations, while law becomes an attorney’s cloak woven from the flimsy fabric of legalistic phraseology artfully placed on the shoulders of arbitrary power.”3

Perhaps this is why Ronald Reagan used the Russian proverb “trust but verify”4 in his meetings with Russian President Mikhail Gorbachev on armaments in the 1980’s.It was essential in those discussions given the forty years of the Cold War.  It may be too optimistic with North Korea given their approach to life and religious rights.

 

1 – “Open Doors USA is a non-profit organization focused on serving persecuted Christians in more than 60 countries through:  Bible & Gospel Development, Women and Children Advancement, and Christian Community Restoration.”  https://www.opendoorsusa.org/about-us/

2 – “North Korea’s War On Christianity: The Globe’s Number One Religious Persecutor,” by Doug Bandow, https://www.forbes.com/sites/dougbandow/2016/10/31/north-koreas-war-on-christianity-the-globes-number-one-religious-persecutor/#25c3033556e3, 10/31/2016.

3 – “The Quotable Fulton Sheen,” edited by George J. Marlin, Richard P. Rabatin, and John L. Swan.  Doubleday, New York, 1989.  Quote was taken from “The Divine Verdict,” New York: P. J. Kennedy and Sons, 1943.

4 – “doveryay, no proveryay” according to Google translate https://www.google.com/search?q=russian+to+english+dictionary&oq=russian+to+english&aqs=chrome.3.69i57j0l5.11111j1j8&sourceid=chrome&ie=UTF-8

5 – Including: “doveryai, no proveryai,” as found in http://www.usmedicine.com/editor-in-chief/doveryai-no-proveryai-trust-but-verify/, by Chester “Tip” Buckenmaier, July 2014.  His article focused on the problems with and approaches to fix the problems with VA hospitals.