Friday, March 04, 2005

Enough rope?

Power Line ( has a second piece on this Barbara Demick story from the L.A. Times (,0,8347.story?coll=la-home-world). I've read both, and I have to say I side with the original reporter on this one. I can see how some might consider the story an apology puff-piece for North Korea, but as I read it, it's exactly what she claim it is - the view of one wealthy North Korean 'businessman' of the strained relationship between his nation, its neighbors, and the U.S., conveyed in a manner free of the 'rancor' that normally accompanies such views given by either side.

What's much more interesting to me is the underlying assumptions about the world, society, people, freedom, etc. in Mr. Anonymous' worldview. In particular, the sense of wounded pride he feels was assuaged when his country annouced that it had developed nuclear weapons. I can understand this on one level, but it's worth mentioning that there is a difference between a parent warning a child not to play with matches and a cop warning a would-be criminal not to go for a gun, which is closer to the reality here from my point-of-view. I wonder how South Koreans would judge the analogy.

On political prisoners vs. social agitators tomes could easily be written, and have been - the clash of worldviews is starkly obvious, but I would have liked Ms. Demick to have asked the obvious questions - "If Asians really prefer a 'benevolent father leader', why are so many of them social agitators? Why, if they in any real sense 'chose' their current government, does that government do so much to prevent North Koreans from having any contact with the outside world? If North Koreans are really as happy with Kim Jong Il as you would have us believe, why spend all those resources maintaining that huge army north of the 38th parallel? Wouldn't the traditional Asians in South Korea voluntarily join your state if the appeal of your system were as strong as you say?"


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