[CanKor Brain Trust member Hark Kroll alerted us to this opinion piece published in The New York Times on 29 April 2012. Op-Ed Columnist Bill Keller begins with the now familiar rehearsing of DPRK human rights violations, mentioning several books published recently, including CanKor Brain Trust member David Hawk’s updated “The Hidden Gulag”. But the more interesting part of this article is contained at the end, where Keller reviews the questions posed by the “engagement camp” and the “regime-change camp”, concluding that both are missing the most pertinent questions about what is to happen after an eventual collapse in North Korea. –CanKor]
Bill Keller (photo by Tony Cenicola, The New York Times)
THE one thing everyone knows about North Korea is that we know very little about North Korea, except that it is miserable, totalitarian, nuclear and erratic. It is the hermit kingdom, the dark side of the moon.
But thanks to many thousands of refugees who have reached freedom by way of a long underground railroad through China, we know a lot more now about the grim reality. We understand better how the government sustains its dreadful power, and where that power could be faltering. Among people who follow the country closely, there is fresh discussion of whether this most durable of monster-states could be nearing its end days, and what we should do about it.
In recent weeks the news spotlight has focused on the 29-year-old novice tyrant Kim Jong-un, performing his family’s time-tested repertoire of bellicose bluster. Like a lunatic waving an assault rifle as he dances on a high window ledge, Kim galvanizes our attention.
But the more interesting story is down below. Read the rest of this entry »