Friday, April 12, 2013

Andrei Lankov on North Korea's Bluff of War

Professor Andrei Lankov

I wasn't going to write more on North Korea's bluster, but after posting my opinion yesterday, I discovered a column in The New York Times by an acquaintance of mine, Professor Andrei Lankov, who echoed my views, not that he was borrowing from me, of course, for he's a far more informed scholar than I'll ever be. Anyway, the article -- titled "Stay Cool. Call North Korea's Bluff." (April 9, 2013) -- in an expansion on this title, says the following:
[T]here is almost nothing particularly unusual in the recent developments. In the last two decades, North Korea has on various occasions conducted highly provocative missile and nuclear tests and promised to turn Seoul into a sea of fire. Now it has declared its withdrawal from the 1953 armistice agreement that ended fighting in the Korean War but not the war itself. It has denounced American and South Korean military exercises as an act of war. And on Tuesday, North Korea told foreigners in the South to look for shelter or consider evacuating because the Korean Peninsula could soon be engulfed in nuclear war. This time, the tune is being played louder, but that is the only real change.

A closer look at North Korean history reveals what Pyongyang's leaders really want their near-farcical belligerence to achieve -- a reminder to the world that North Korea exists, and an impression abroad that its leaders are irrational and unpredictable. The scary impressions are important to North Korea because for the last two decades its policy has been, above all, a brilliant exercise in diplomatic blackmail. And blackmail usually works better when the practitioners are seen as irrational and unpredictable.

Put bluntly, North Korea's government hopes to squeeze more aid from the outside world. Of late, it has become very dependent on Chinese aid, and it wants other sponsors as well.
That's enough for me to make my basic point, namely, that my opinion is not idiosyncratic, but is shared by others, even by experts such as Professor Lankov, so stay cool, everyone, and don't worry about the North starting a war.

Meanwhile, readers and visitors with an interest in more details should go on to read the article itself.

Labels: ,


At 2:18 PM, Blogger John from Daejeon said...

They sure do a lot of bluffing. Watch this truly eye-opening glimpse into North Korea to experience "The Twilight Zone" north of the DMZ. This film maker sure has some guts.

At 4:20 PM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

Thanks, John from Daejeon -- that looks interesting.

Jeffery Hodges

* * *

At 1:27 PM, Blogger John from Daejeon said...

You're welcome. I can imagine that it would be eye-opening for your students, and children, as well.

The fact that the North Korean handlers can also end up in gulags if they don't toe the party's line was seemingly lost on the young film maker as he tried to film when he was told not to but did so anyway. I hate to imagine where "Jim" is now.

At 1:39 PM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

I hope that I can find time for the entire video -- I've had time only for skimming through.

Jeffery Hodges

* * *

At 10:57 PM, Blogger John from Daejeon said...

It's less than an hour long and well worth it. He does the subject matter justice and tries to show all sides while coming close to ending up in a gulag himself when he tries to show more than what the minders want him to.

Personally, I loved his optimism in wanting to return to Korea in a few years (that's North Korea to you and I) to see the changes that he could see slowly occurring due to the exchanges with locals that visitors like himself and others are slowly igniting. Those changes nearly had me in tears at the end of the film as they came from a very hardened and unlikely source.

At 11:06 PM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

Well, I'll definitely watch the entire video on that recommendation.

Jeffery Hodges

* * *

At 9:10 PM, Blogger John from Daejeon said...

Here's a link to a trailer for the one the the BBC ran last night.

You will probably have to download it, but after watching it. I'm certain that there will be no war. The evil running that poor country is only trying to fill their own coffers with U.S. and South Korean money and to keep their brainwashed citizens brainwashed. It was extremely hard to watch the average citizens in the background.

At 9:34 PM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

It looks even worse than I had imagined.

Jeffery Hodges

* * *

At 9:24 AM, Blogger Carter Kaplan said...

Very interesting video. Thanks.

At 9:49 AM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

I've not yet had time to spare for it.

(Also why I've not yet posted on Dario's book . . .)

Jeffery Hodges

* * *


Post a Comment

<< Home