Updated: 5/16/2006; 11:12:51 AM.

Ken Novak's Weblog
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daily link  Saturday, November 01, 2003


The madness of Kim Jong Il: Extensive review of the history and the current politics.  "Shin spoke bitterly of the years he had lost in the North, yet even as he described Kim Jong Il's cynicism and called him an evil, controlling micromanager, most of his anger was reserved for South Korean leaders Kim Dae Jung and Roh Moo Hyun, who have abandoned a half-century of hostility to the north and established a rapprochement with Pyongyang. Shin has written a memoir of his kidnapping and sojourn in the North. It is entitled Our Escape Isn't Over Yet because, he said, 'South Korea is now sympathising with North Korea, and it's a dangerous situation.' ..

To speak of North Korea under the Kim dynasty simply as a Communist state is insufficient. In recent decades, references to Marxism and Leninism have steadily faded from its propaganda. Marx and Lenin were not Korean, and North Korea's ruling ideology, Juche - which means self-reliance - is predicated on being independent from the claims or destinies of other revolutions.  In its most obvious form, the Juche idea is a claim of radical autonomy: absolute political and economic independence for the Korean nation without any desire or need for traffic of any kind with other peoples.  ..

Refugees' stories are often treated with suspicion, but in the late 90s, as the number of malnourished North Koreans in northeast China swelled from the thousands to the tens of thousands and then into the hundreds of thousands, their accounts of the conditions that had driven them to risk their lives and escape had a cumulative authority that defied disbelief. What's more, the fact that they were there - that so many had got out - was, in itself, evidence of a radical breakdown inside North Korea. ..

The passion North Koreans felt for Kim Il Sung, which was genuine, however misplaced and deluded, does not appear to have been transferred to Kim Jong Il, who is remote and secretive and lacks his father's populist touch. He has only once spoken before the general public, at a military parade in 1992, when he was heard to blurt out: 'Glory to the heroic Korean People's Army.'..

[Defector] Kang, who now works as a newspaper reporter in the South, regarded both the fanfare of the sunshine policy and the caution of Roh Moo Hyun's peace-and-prosperity approach as hopelessly naive, and as something worse than appeasement, more like capitulation. If the issue is protecting the South's pocketbook, he said, then what about the South Korean stock market's 5 per cent plunge when North Korea admitted to having a nuclear-weapons programme, and the enormous defence expenditures on both sides of the DMZ? .. After the UN human-rights vote [in which South Korea did not participate], he wondered, 'Why doesn't this government think about the situation it will face after unification when North Koreans ask why it didn't care about human rights?'"

  9:25:25 PM  permalink  

Arms and Aims: The Art of War vs. the Craft of Occupation: "The American forces have often been operating on the basis of inadequate or bad intelligence, according to a report that was recently released by the Center for Army Lessons Learned, a study group in Fort Leavenworth, Kan.  The United States has 69 intelligence teams in Iraq, but they produce about 30 reports a day, about one-quarter as many as they should, the study found. The Army continues to suffer from a severe shortage of interpreters, and many of those it does employ are barely competent, the report says. ..

Lawrence J. Korb, who was an assistant secretary of defense in the Reagan administration, is less optimistic. "Pretending things are better than they are, that's what worries me, that they don't seem to face up to it," he said in a telephone interview, referring to the Bush administration. "Before you can deal with the problem, you've got to recognize what the problem is.""

  10:35:02 AM  permalink  

PCASTRD-DOST: Review of ICT development in universities and local software development in Cebu, Philippines (now second to Manila in ICT activity).  9:52:41 AM  permalink  

 

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Copyright 2006 © Ken Novak.
Last update: 5/16/2006; 11:12:51 AM.