Who Wants Kim Jong Un Ousted? We Do

Who Wants Kim Jong Un Ousted? We Do

This article first appeared on the Council on Foreign Relations site.

The White House said on September 25 that it is not advocating regime change in North Korea.

Why ever not?

This is generally agreed to be the worst regime in the world, whose viciousness, brutality, starvation of its population, and threats to its neighbors are awful. Of course we want a different regime there.

The same goes for other countries ruled by horrendous tyrannies, such as Iran and Venezuela.

Ronald Reagan taught us the right way to handle this issue.

The answer cannot end with, “We are not trying to overthrow the regime.” It must continue, as Reagan did with the Soviet Union, by saying things along the lines he said: he called the totalitarian USSR the “focus of evil in the modern world” and an “evil empire,” and said "freedom and democracy will leave Marxism and Leninism on the ash heap of history."

The point is simple: when North Korea accuses the United States of desiring regime change, we should not say, “No, we are not seeking that.”

We should say,

We are not invading or subverting that regime. That charge is false. But do we desire the end of that regime? Of course.

We want the people of that country to live decent lives in freedom. Anyone who seeks just and decent governance and values human freedom would like to see the end of that regime.

It is the task of the people of that country to seek and win their own freedom, but of course we wish them well and wish it could happen tomorrow.

GettyImages-679196982 May 5, 2017, North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un inspecting the defense detachment on Jangjae Islet and the Hero Defence Detachment on Mu Islet located in the southernmost part of the waters off the southwest front. STR/AFP/Getty

Elliott Abrams is senior fellow for Middle Eastern studies at the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) in Washington, DC. He served as deputy assistant to the president and deputy national security advisor in the administration of President George W. Bush, where he supervised U.S. policy in the Middle East for the White House.

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