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.
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.
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]
Skeptical Germans are questioning pretty much everything we think we know about Kim Jong Eun.
Christine Ahn Was Not Available for Comment: Defectors report being made to pay exorbitant prices for food aid.
Greek authorities search a North Korean shipment, bound for Syria, for banned weapons or dual-use cargo.
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.