Dan Pinkston, the International Crisis Group res rep in Seoul, recently passed along this Bloomberg piece, “Abandoned Dogs Roam Detroit in Packs as Humans Dwindle,” complete with video. While Bloomberg saw this as a tale of 21st century urban dystopia, we see it as an opportunity. Call it dog meat diplomacy.
As we all know, US-DPRK relations are dead in the water. And as we recently observed, the WFP continues to document ongoing food insecurity. Some Koreans are quite fond of dogs—for their stamina-enhancing meat. So there seems to be scope for trade.
In talks to American audiences, I sometimes refer to the northeast coast as the DPRK as “North Korea’s rust belt” and liken Chongjin and Hamheung to Detroit and Gary. Shoot, in a more peaceful world, Hamheung and Detroit would probably be sister cities. So it seems clear that Detroit should ship its unwanted dogs to Hamheung, of course taking proper precautions that the dog aid doesn’t get diverted to the KPA. But here at Witness to Transformation we’re also strong believers in reciprocity, so we think that it would be entirely proper for the residents of Hamheung to send something back to Detroit in return for the protein infusion. Once home to a thriving chemicals industry, nowadays Hamheung may be better known for its meth labs, but a flood of hillbilly heroin is probably the last thing Detroit needs.
This is where you, the reader, come in. In the interests of international diplomacy, what can the city of Hamheung send Detroit in return for 50,000 mobile protein packets? The prize, beyond contributing to international reconciliation and barbecue for South Hamgyong, is an autographed copy of Hard Target: Sanctions, Inducements, and the North Korea Problem when it sees the light of day. So get those entries in! Contest ends 7 September.