“Of course, no one wants the North Koreans to starve. But famine is a self-inflicted disaster. The North has socialized its agriculture and used food to reward political loyalty. Moreover, Pyongyang has devoted scarce resources to nukes, other weapons, and luxuries for the nomenklatura that otherwise could be used to purchase food.
Tempting though it might be to try again, a bad idea it certainly would be. Pyongyang will treat official aid as support for the regime; any resources transferred inevitably free up resources for use elsewhere. The more aid, the less pressure for reform. U.S. support would increase popular hardship over the long-term.”