Understanding North Korea

what's left

By Stephen Gowans

“Che Guevara visited Pyongyang around (1965) and told the press that North Korea was a model to which revolutionary Cuba should aspire.” [1]

North Korea is a country that is alternately reviled and ridiculed. Its leader, Kim Jong-il, is demonized by the right and — with the exception of Guevera in 1965 and many of his current admirers — mocked by the left. Kim is declared to be insane, though no one can say what evidence backs this diagnosis up. It’s just that everyone says he is, so he must be. If Kim had Che’s smoldering good looks he may have become a leftist icon, leader of “the one remaining, self-proclaimed top-to-bottom alternative to neo-liberalism and globalization,” as Korea expert Bruce Cumings puts it.[2]

Available from Baraka Books http://www.barakabooks.com/catalogue/washingtons-long-war-on-syria/ Instead, the chubby Kim has become a caricature, a Dr. Evil with a bad haircut and ill-fitting clothes…

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2 Responses to Understanding North Korea

  1. beetleypete says:

    A long read from Mr Gowans, but as always, worth the time. I liked the comparison with the US Civil War, one I have often used myself.
    I have never understood why other western countries have not treated the DPRK much the same as they once did Tito’s Yugoslavia. Embracing the differences, rather that demonising them would have been a better policy than creating a bitter enemy through decades of aggression, and ‘punishment’.
    Because the allies beat Japan so comprehensively during WW2, it would appear that there has been a tendency to nurture this former enemy since 1945, thus bringing it into the fold, and installing a western culture on an eastern race. So I conclude it has to be because they did not defeat North Korea, that the bitterness remains.
    Best wishes, Pete.

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