Thursday, August 15, 2013

A Peek Inside North Korea...

Michael Malice is an American writer who was born in the Soviet Union, but came to the U.S. at the age of 2.  He visited North Korea as a tourist, partly on a quest to see a land that might give him a sense of what life in the Soviet Union was like for his parents.

He wrote about his week in North Korea for Reason.  He has some fascinating, sober, and insightful observations about the people there; well worth reading.  I continue to be impressed with the quality of the writing in Reason - one of only two magazines that I still subscribe to (the other is Science News).

A lot of observers who claim to be much better informed about what's going on inside of North Korea are convinced that the government there is about to collapse.  Nobody can be precise on the timing, of course – but the consensus seems to be that the intersection of a better-informed public (mainly through smuggled devices giving them access to Chinese media) and a disintegrating state apparatus (mainly because of its inability to pay, or even feed, its minions) makes a collapse inevitable.

That can't happen soon enough for the suffering people of North Korea.  But when the collapse does come, it will pose large problems for South Korea, and to a lesser extent, China.  South Korea will be in the same position as West Germany in 1991 – but with an even greater economic disparity, and with the enormous disadvantage of a relatively poorly educated and brainwashed North Korean population.  China will inevitably be taking in refugees and probably supplying humanitarian aid.  Even worse for them, however, will be losing the useful thorn in the West's side that North Korea has been for them...

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