At National Review, Mario Loyola takes up many of the themes I wrote about in my Capitalist Manifesto, and concludes that North Korea’s collapse is accelerating. I think a few of us have noticed that trend for an uncomfortably long time, but until the last two or three years, I couldn’t quite understand how those trends could continue this long without the termination of the regime.

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Open News has two interesting reports on one of the most important and most overlooked trends in North Korea — food smuggling. I posit that this represents a loss of the regime’s control over the food supply, the borders, and even discipline over its security services. If harnessed properly, mass smuggling will sow the seeds for the regime’s undoing.

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If South Korea keeps talking like this, it might actually acquire some influence over North Korea’s behavior:

South Korea will launch a full-scale propaganda war against North Korea in response to any fresh cross-border provocation, Defence Minister Kim Tae Young said on Tuesday. Mr Kim on Monday had warned of possible provocations by the North as it puts a leadership succession plan in place and in the run-up to the G-20 summit in Seoul in November. The South’s military printed hundreds of thousands of leaflets and installed loudspeakers in border areas as part of reprisals following the sinking of a warship in March. [….]

Mr Kim told parliament preparations were under way to float the leaflets and small radios by balloon across the tense and heavily fortified border. His ministry would also consider installing electric message boards and more loudspeakers. ‘We will immediately switch loudspeakers on and launch leaflets’ if there was a fresh cross-border provocation, or if a political decision was made on the need to apply pressure on North Korea, Mr Kim said. [AFP]

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Skeptical Germans are questioning pretty much everything we think we know about Kim Jong Eun.

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Christine Ahn Was Not Available for Comment: Defectors report being made to pay exorbitant prices for food aid.

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Greek authorities search a North Korean shipment, bound for Syria, for banned weapons or dual-use cargo.

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Don’t Say I Didn’t Warn You: Chris Hill ought to be forced into early retirement over this — despite the gauzy promises of Agreed Framework and all of the valuable leverage we threw away for empty concessions, North Korea has now resumed construction at Yongbyon. On a side note, isn’t David Albright’s change of tone since Obama’s inauguration a remarkable thing to observe? Not that I’m a strong critic of Obama’s policy myself.

10 comments

  1. Glans says:

    About the North Korean shipment searched by the Greeks: “… ‘We have opened four containers so far and have found non-military material that could have a dual use,’ a senior government official told Reuters…”
    I’d like to know what that material was. This could be a big deal or nothing at all.

  2. KCJ says:

    Looks like the vestiges of the Sunshine Policy are alive and well. ROK gov’t money is funding Juche indoctrination:

    A university in North Korea set up with South Korean funding has opened a research center devoted to studying former North Korean leader Kim Il-sung’s “Juche” or self-sufficiency ideology.

    Pyongyang University of Science and Technology, which was established with South Korean funding, opened the research center after erecting a monument honoring Kim Il-sung, Grand National Party lawmaker Yoon Sang-hyun of the parliamentary Foreign Affairs, Trade and Unification Committee said Tuesday.

    He showed a photograph as proof and added, “We must immediately halt further aid for the university, which has turned into a school that propagates the personality cult surrounding the Kim dynasty.”

    Why send any aid of any kind to the DPRK???? No matter how pure the intention, the money inevitibly goes to fund the increasingly expensive and more rigorously compelled state religion of Juche – which requires reunification under the ‘eternal leadership’ of current president Kim Il-sung.

    This would be comparable to the US building schools to train Wahabbist Mujahadeen for polemical indoctrination against the Great Satan. C’mon!

  3. Glans says:

    David Albright’s tone today:
    ” What exactly all that activity [at Yongbyon] means, said David Albright, …, is unclear. [He] said the activity could mean that North Korea is moving toward reopening [it.]”
    To me that sounds moderate. I’ve only been following North Korean issues since St. Patrick’s day, 2009, so could someone tell me about Albright’s old tone?

    [Here. – Joshua]

  4. Theresa says:

    I think this says it all- taken from the Defector interview regarding SK giving aid to NK:

    —–
    “I understand that the South Korea government wants to help people, but I know how it works since I lived in North Korea. Even if rice is supplied by people living North Korea, how many people would get the chance to receive it? This is the reality in North Korea – that the supplies ¡®for¡¯ the people, with sympathy, are manipulated to strengthen the government. This is even sadder to see than to watch people die of starvation. I really hope that the Kim Jong-Il¡¯s administration collapses as soon as possible, without them receiving any further supplies.”

    And now I can hear the extreme left brushing off this testimony because he is “just a defector who probably got paid to say this.”

  5. Glans says:

    Joshua, thank you for the link to the prior discussion of David Albright. I think we can safely disregard that dude’s opinions.

  6. Glans says:

    South Korea: The Unloved Republic?
    SEOUL, September 14, 2010 – Have South Koreans lost their national pride? Such was the question posed by Brian R. Myers, Professor of International Politics at Dongseo University in Busan in an Asia Society luncheon lecture here at the Lotte Hotel.

    http://asiasociety.org/policy-politics/strategic-challenges/intra-asia/south-korea-unloved-republic?page=0%2C0

    I suppose everybody else has seen this, but it was new to me.

  7. kushibo says:

    I had not seen it, no. I’m not as big a fan of Professor Myers as most others seem to be. He seems to have found facile arguments for complex issues, tainted by an outsider’s willingness to focus on what is often the fringiest of public sentiment to make his sweeping generalizations.

    Still, I’m always interested in what he has to say. :)

  8. Joe says:

    Don’t Say I Didn’t Warn You: Chris Hill ought to be forced into early retirement over this — despite the gauzy promises of Agreed Framework and all of the valuable leverage we threw away for empty concessions, North Korea has now resumed construction at Yongbyon. On a side note, isn’t David Albright’s change of tone since Obama’s inauguration a remarkable thing to observe? Not that I’m a strong critic of Obama’s policy myself.

    I think what he did is something somebody had to do to see once and for all to end the debate over whether they would actually give up their nukes. Especially in the aftermath of the highly publicized — and extremely symbolic — detonation at Yongbyon, I think it to be of great fortune that this happened. Imagine if people still credibly argued for the Sunshine Policy…

  9. Joe says:

    Glans said

    South Korea: The Unloved Republic?
    SEOUL, September 14, 2010 – Have South Koreans lost their national pride? Such was the question posed by Brian R. Myers, Professor of International Politics at Dongseo University in Busan in an Asia Society luncheon lecture here at the Lotte Hotel.

    I haven’t seen it either, but I find that hard to believe. While we see China particularly if looking a few years back at their anti-Japan episode to be extremely nationalistic, I think they chide South Korea for being far too nationalistic. I think the reason the Cheonan incident might not have incited the anger that might otherwise be expected is that it’s from a non-threat… North Korea… All you have to do is google or naver Dokdo and I’m sure you’ll find people having gotten married there and those ridiculous groups of ultranationalists wearing those red head bands proclaiming it to be sovereign korean territory…

  10. kushibo says:

    Joe wrote:

    While we see China particularly if looking a few years back at their anti-Japan episode to be extremely nationalistic

    I think you mean a few weeks ago.

    At any rate, couples getting married on Tokto are man-bites-dog fringe news items. Right now, neither Japan nor South Korea have anything on the Chinese in the nationalism department.

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