Open Sources: October 1, 2012
STEPHAN HAGGARD REVIEWS MELANIE KIRKPATRICK’S “ESCAPE FROM NORTH KOREA:” Haggard’s intellectual honesty holds my respect despite all we disagree about, but when he points out that Kirkpatrick has little “patience for engagement,” and considering the results engagement has achieved over the last two decades, it’s not Kirkpatrick’s views that are really questionable on that point.
My own views on Kirkpatrick’s book ought to be suspect, too: once you’ve read the Title of Chapter 17 you’ll see that how hard it’s going to be for me to stay objective about this book. One point I took from that chapter, however, seems implausible to me — the idea that China can simply be persuaded to comply with its obligations to North Korean refugees under international humanitarian law. My view is that it’s going to take much stronger pressure than that — a combination of the sort of “hole in the fence” subversion that Kirkpatrick advocates, but also sanctions targeted at North Korea’s Chinese investors and credible threats to build, train, and arm a domestic North Korean opposition force that would sow instability along China’s border.
YOU’LL NEVER GUESS WHO’S SUSPECTED OF SELLING WEAPONS TO SYRIA, in violation of at least TWO U.N. Security Council resolutions.
ACCORDING TO THIS REPORT, North Korea’s belligerent behavior has harmed its image among South Korean voters: “The survey, which was carried out in July, asked 1200 adults across the country for their opinion of North Korea. 47.3% of respondents said that North Korea is the most threatening country they face, followed by China with 30.5%. Japan and the United States came far behind.” I have to see a few survey results that say more-or-less the same thing before I believe any of them, and even then, South Koreans’ views of just about anything can shift very suddenly.
HERE’S A DETAILED AND CRITICAL EXAMINATION of the U.N.’s internal investigation of its transfer of computer technology to North Korea.
LIFE IMITATES TEAM AMERICA: “German film takes grand prize at North Korea’s international film festival.” Via the AP, naturally. In a world where the Middle East is radicalizing, Iran is about to get nukes, China is banging the war drums, and the world is completely in the dark about North Korea’s true food, economic, and humanitarian situation, my question is, why is this news again?
I WISH I LIVED IN A PLACE with such fine recreational facilities and public transportation as North Korea! Guttenfelder is obviously a talented photographer — I’ve described his work as “visually striking and ideologically compliant.” On the few occasions when he could get that kind of image past the censors, he has sometimes captured a darker and grittier side of North Korea. The real question is who the censors are — are they North Koreans, within the AP itself, or is Guttenfelder censoring himself to avoid losing the chance to win an award?
KIM KYONG HUI, KIM JONG IL’S SISTER, is said to be seriously ill. Of all the reports from inside North Korea we read, those that I trust the least are the ones reporting on developments inside the ruling power structure.
THE GREATEST OUTRAGE ABOUT THE CONDITIONS OF NAKOULA BASSELEY NAKOULA’S CONFINEMENT must be the general lack of outrage that this man is being held in Supermax-like conditions of “protective” custody for committing an act that used to be protected under the First Amendment. Nakoula, regrettably, has become a test case for the new Islam exception to the First Amendment, and our society is failing that test. Almost no one questions why the heretic is almost completely isolated from communicating with the world, with only a radio to listen to. When will we see Nakoula’s lawyer’s habeas petition?