It is felt that we cannot just watch them die, so we send food aid in return for an ever-receding prospect of good behavior in respect of the Dear Leader's nuclear program. The ratchet effect is all one way: Nuclear tests become ever more flagrant and the emaciation of the North Korean people ever more pitiful. We have unwittingly become members of the guard force that patrols the concentration camp that is the northern half of the peninsula.
The dirty secret here is that no neighboring power really wants the North Korean population released from its awful misery. [...] Kim Jong-il's junta knows this, as it knows that we are not prepared to fight him. So the deliberate mass starvation and the nuclear blackmail are two aspects of the same depraved system. (Incidentally, if that system doesn't deserve to be called evil, I don't know what does.)