The
Philosophy Hammer
Philosophy, Economics, Politics & Psychology Tested with a Hammer

The Cleanest Race
How North Koreans See Themselves - And Why It Matters
By: B. R. Myers
Major Topic: Politics
Minor Topic: Diplomacy

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         Chapter 5: Foreigners

         The North Korean world view cannot be maintained without an anti-pole. Foreigners serve in that role.

         Friendly states such as Laos and China are presented as tributary nations, seeking greater understanding of the Juche philosophy, or just generally behaving with the proper reverence for the greatest state and leader in the world.

         The Soviet Union is presented with total contempt for giving up the fight in a cowardly way: that is without firing a shot.

         Most of the propaganda is directed at describing the vileness of the American and Japanese peoples.

         The Japanese are an evil people who have not, and cannot, change: they are still just like the Japanese that invaded Korea in 1902: evil and subhuman. Interestingly they are sometimes depicted as being able to grasp the greatness of North Korea.

         The US is North Korea's biggest bugbear. The history of the US, according to the DPRK, goes something like this: America is the greatest trouble maker in the history of the world. They killed off all of the native people in their homeland then brought in slaves from Africa. They came to Korea for the first time in 1866 but were driven away by the Great leader's grandfather. Ever since then the US has had it in it for Korea and has worked to destroy the unity and purity of the Korean people. They set up a colony and puppet government in the south of the country and then attacked the peace loving People's Democratic Republic of Korea. They were quickly vanquished thanks to the Great leader's leadership and forced to surrender. However, untrustworthy as they are they soon disregarded the surrender agreement and have continually tried to provoke a new war. On one occasion the sent warship that was quickly captured; another time they sent a spy plane which was quickly shot down; another time US solders ambushed a DPRK patrol they were quickly subdued and killed. America's fear and hatred only increased throughout this time. They brought up false accusations about a nuclear 'problem' and used it to justify more aggression but the Dear Leader turned the plan against them and made them promise to deliver two light water nuclear reactors. But the US defaulted on the promise so the Dear Leader developed and tested a nuclear deterrent. The US continually threatened nuclear war, but they are just a paper tiger because they never do anything they say. It is only a matter of time before the American's leave and Korea will be unified.

        

         Chapter 5: The Yankee Colony

         North Korea, up until around 2000, was able to keep information about the outside world out of the country. As a result they were able to create a myth about the world and about South Korea that supported their political establishment. After the year 2000 they had a harder time keeping out the truth but they were still very effective in turning it to their own advantage.

         The Yankee colony is a reference to South Korea. The official myth is: After Kim Il Sung defeated the Japanese the vile and cunning Americans took advantage of the chaos and sneaked into the south of Korea. There they set up a colony by setting up a puppet government and a puppet president which they then forced to kill thousands of people. Later the Americans launched a surprise attack on the DPRK but were quickly routed. Not being able to take the whole peninsula the US exploited the south and made life miserable for the people. Fortunately for the South Koreans the Dear Leader instituted a “Military First” policy that has scared the Americans into behaving better toward the South Korean people. In 2000 the South begged the North to open up trade relations the result has been that the south has grown rich but they also know that it is due to the North's “Military First” policy. Even now the South's people desire more than anything to join the DPRK but as always it is the Americans that keep the two peoples apart.

         The North's propaganda changed when it became clear that the Republic of Korea was doing much better than the DPRK. Today they freely admit the wealth of the South but claim that it is impure. The North Korean people get their sense of superiority because they believe that the south owes them for their wealth. Furthermore they believe that the south has been corrupted by impure foreigners and so being in the south is not worth the apparent benefits because of the contamination of outsiders. Purity has an immeasurable intrinsic value that can never be compensated for with wealth. The southerners should be pitied not envied.

         The author claims that the strongest challenge to the North Korean worldview is the discovery of the South Korean's true attitude concerning reunification. It is part of the DPRK's worldview that the South wants to join but the Americans do not let them. If the people of the North realize that the Southerners do not want to join them and in fact would like to postpone reunification as long as possible, the author believes that, then the North's propaganda would be totally discredited in the eyes of the people of the DPRK.

        

         Conclusion

         The author laments that fact that many American diplomats seem to think that although Kim Jong Il does not believe his own rhetoric, the internal propaganda does not matter when negotiating with North Korea. Considering that the DPRK bases its legitimacy on protecting the people from the evil Americans, it is hard to see how or why they would give up their people's sense of legitimacy.

         Consider what it would mean if the DPRK were to give up its legitimacy in the eyes of its people: The south, a larger and richer country would naturally be the legitimate authority on the whole peninsula. North Korea would trade a heroic role for a handout – an exceedingly unheroic and therefore unlikely event.

         Consider also how they have behaved. In the past the DPRK has acted as if the propaganda were true and not as if they did not believe it. It seems illogical to believe that getting just the right carrot and stick deal will change their behavior because every carrot and every stick is reinterpreted to support their world view.

         The author believes that the two biggest problems the North faces are the prosperity of the South and the ambivalence of the South towards reunification. The first is troublesome for the north but not insurmountable – they have claimed that the South owes its material well-being to the North. The world view of the DPRK however cannot explain why the South would not want to join the North. As long as the US can plausibly be responsible for this failure, the North's propaganda will succeed – but with the realization that the South does not want to reunite, the propaganda will lose any creditability it may have had.

         Based on this analysis, the purpose of North Korean negotiations is to keep a low level crisis going as long as possible. Full war or full peace is not in the DPRK's ruling class' best interest.

         The best way to defeat North Korea is to do so on their own terms and according to their world view. Three possible ways are: 1) negotiate away their nuclear weapons. -- this is likely to be impossible; 2) the possession of nuclear weapons is supposed to provide eternal safety for the nation – show that this is not true; and 3) demonstrate clearly that the people of South Korea (not in any way influenced by foreigners) do not want to join with the North. These three are the keys to defeating North Korea. The authors favorite is the third.

         It should be noted with caution that the ideology of the north edifies the instincts and diminishes the value of reason and forethought. This suggests that the North may be more likely to act rashly in a crisis where collapse is immanent.

        

Added on: 2010-06-15 23:30:41
Text Crawl by: James Jeff McLaren
© 2008 - 2017, James Jeff McLaren