The Democratic Peoples Republic of Korea has successfully completed its second transition of leadership since it was founded in 1948. The unexpected death of Kim Jong-il in December 2011 caught many western foreign ministries and think tanks by surprise.
Preciously little was known about his successor and son Kim Jong-un. Even less, other than speculation and preciously little verifiable information, was known about whether the transition to the leadership of Kin Jong-un would be smooth, whether he had sufficient backup from within the population, party and military.
It was speculated whether the country would be governed by committee, with Kim Jong-un as powerless figurehead.
The stability of the nation was questioned, and whether it would become more dangerous and unpredictable. To use a reductionist approach one could say that these speculations and worries reflected the cornerstones of US/NATO foreign policy towards the DPRK.
These cornerstones are:
1. The perception of the DPRK as a nation that is to be targeted within the US/NATO race for Global, Full Spectrum Dominance, targeting any nation that is an obstacle in the strategical encirclement of Russia and China.
2. The propensity towards an US/NATO military aggression against the DPRK as ultimate goal precondition for an aggression against China or Russia.
3. The propensity towards continued attempts to destabilize and weaken the nations popular, political, economical and military resilience by subversive- and sanction-based diplomacy and politics.
4. The propensity towards the use of aggressive propaganda to justify aggressive diplomacy, sanctions, and ultimately military aggression.
5. The typical condescending disregard and disrespect for any cultural, sociological, philosophical or political system that is not in agreement with the cultural, sociological, philosophical and political systems that are sanctioned by the US/NATO alliance.
An analysis of how western think tanks evaluate the DPRK, and which challenges and changes it may undergo after Kim Jong-un has been trusted with the helm of the Korean vessel, implicitly outlines the most likely strategies that will be used against the country and its people.
Kim Jong-un – studied in Switzerland – the condescending modo-colonialist analysis.
The fact that Kim Jong-un has studied in Switzerland during the 1990s will by many be perceived as an indication for that he could be more open towards, what westerners would call reforms, than his father.
Already here we see the condescending attitude towards the country It is the white mans burden to teach those backward, uncivilized nations, who already had high cultures when Europe still enjoyed the stone age, true culture, democracy, human rights, and most importantly, submission to disaster capitalism and western military might.
Based on this ethnocentric and condescending attitude most westerners made the second false assumption. Because Kim Jong-un did not abandon the DPRK principle of military first, which has deep roots in the revolutionary fabric of the country´s history and politics, it was assumed that Kim Jong-un was politically weak, and that the country would be governed by military committees with Kim Jong-un as front figure and idol.
Nervous western think tankers interpreted it into a greater propensity towards military threats. Political instability could be compensated for by focus on the external enemy. This, however, may be a behavior that is typical for western cultures but it is not very prevalent in Asia. Maybe Asian nations are to “civilized”?
Also this false assumption should soon be frustrated when Kim Jong-un gave a long and flamboyant speech at the 100th anniversary of the birth of Kim Il-sung, his grandfather Kim Jong-un praised his grandfather and father without giving any indication for change in the political programs or the structure of the DPRK.
His declaration, that the final victory of the Korean revolution and the path to independence would be achieved by the strategy of military first, and that military superiority no longer was the privilege of imperialists shamed many western think tankers. Referring to the nuclear capabilities of the DPRK he stated that the times where the country could be blackmailed with atomic bombs were over.
Naturally, also this statement was misconstrued by propagandists and misunderstood even by many western think tankers who often have little insight into either Asian culture or Marxist-Leninist or Maoist philosophy. Hence, the US/NATO post- and modo-colonialist philosophy of foreign intervention, which is being sold under euphemisms like “humanitarian intervention” or “the responsibility to protect”, was projected onto the DPRK. Of course the projection DPRK miltary might was not euphemized. That privilege, the privilege of being spoken about in euphemistic terms, is reserved for Al Qaeda mercenaries and other US/NATO allies.
In fact, Marxist-Leninist dialectical philosophy is inherently opposed to interference into other nations internal affairs. It is considered “contrarevolutionary”.
Although Marxism-Leninism encourages revolutions recognizes that a revolution has to arise out of a nations internal dialectical agonies, and that a revolution that is based on foreign intervention is deemed to failure. In fact, contemporary history has confirmed the validity of this thesis. A closer look at the results of the so-called “revolutions” in Libya, Egypt and Syria shows that neither the nations nor its citizens are the beneficiaries of these western style “interlutions” or post-modern coup d´etats.
How should a revolution that is incited, financed and managed by the USA, who has utterly undermined civil liberties and human rights in the USA itself which is a nation with a health care system that considers human lives as dispensable, disease as asset for potential corporate profit, which is a nation that has the declared political and military goal to dominate the world, be able to facilitate civil liberties, social and legal justice and self-determination in other countries ?
How should a nation that is based on the genocide of the native population of almost an entire sub-continent be the facilitator of cultural self-determination? How should the USA be the facilitator of a revolution when it has undermined all achievements of its own revolution and cadres within its own military whisper that a renewed revolution soon might become a necessity ?
Although the US/NATO often projects its own interventionism onto others, it is a fact that interventionism is diametrically opposed to root principles in both Chinese and Korean revolutionary as well as cultural philosophy.
In “The State”, Plato stated that power should preferably be given to those who had the least ambitions for acquiring and possessing it. While all students of political sciences in western nations have to learn Plato, there is not one western nation that attempts to implement the principle in its “democratic” system.
On the contrary, the Machivallian principle that a good leader is a leader who is feared by his people has historically been the guiding principle of western nations domestic and foreign policy and it becomes ever more outspoken as primary principle of population control in so-called western democracies.
If western think tankers, like those of the Soros financed International Crisis group were serious about embracing conflict resolution and self-determination, which of course is laughable, they would at least have noticed the following:
The political philosophy of the DPRK is not only based on Marxism-Leninism, but it is highly influenced by age-old Asian philosophy. It is in particular influenced by the political philosophy of Lao-tzu, who idealizes a political leader as one who is loved and not feared by his people, whose conduct inspires people to look up to him, and whose actions and conduct are guided by his love for his people.
A good example for how deep-rooted the philosophy of Lao-tsu is within the cultural self of the people and within the political system is, that the Media of the DPRK were referring to the fourth wife of Kim Jong-il who was born in Japan, as mother of Korea and as respected mother.
Taking all realistic human frailty into account, the DPRK is a nation that is implementing both the principles of Marxism-Leninism as well as culturally, deeply embedded Asian philosophies.
Condescending remarks about dictatorship may be practical for propaganda purposes and for preparing western populations for accepting yet another illegal “intervention” under the guise of democracy and human rights. They have, however, nothing what so ever to do with the true endorsement of the democratic principle of self-determination and respect for the diversity which its proponents claim to endorse, and they will not stand for objective analysis.
Analyzing the average western think tanks suggestions for the diplomatic, political, economical and military discourse with respect to the DPRK it becomes evident that the greatest threats for the country from abroad as well as from within could be summed up as follows:
1. Diplomatic and political initiatives designed to drive a wedge between the military and the Communist Party.
2. Military responses to military provocations along the inner-Korean border will be construed as signs of the Communist Party´s lack of influence over the military, with the intention to create rivalry and conflicting interests between party and military organizations.
3. Diplomatic and political initiatives as well as initiatives by UN organizations, NGO´s, think tanks, as well as finance capital, to drive a wedge between the population and the military and party leadership.
4. Undermining the socialist revolution by creating or aggravating inner disputes and rivalry within the party. Among other this will probably be attempted by utilizing regional conflicts of interests. The same strategy is planned against China.
5. Undermining DPRK-Chinese as well as the DPRK´s relations to Lao, Vietnam, Japan, Russia by sanctioning their diplomatic, political, economic, military or other support of the DPRK.
6. Positioning the DPRK as dictatorship and thus inherently political unstable, to create a negative diplomatic climate between the DPRK and nations like China, Russia, Vietnam, Lao, Japan, with the purpose to isolate and weaken the country.
7. Attacks on the currency are to be expected and negative results will be blamed on Kim Jong-un, referring to problems with the currency reform in 2009 in which he took part.
8. Abuse of the DPRK´s Joint Venture law and a weakened national economy to force the government into concessions that are opposed to socialist economy with the intent to drive a wedge between party, military and the people, and with the purpose to create a class based system that can be used to destabilize the nation. EU countries as well as the USA via South Korea are most likely applying this strategy.
9. Applying political pressure on Pyongyang to publish economical data of the country will most likely be part of the strategy to gain greater access to knowledge about the nations economical vulnerabilities.
10. Attempts to utilize Chinese influence to force the DPRK into making concessions with respect to western corporations access to the nations markets.
11. Attempts to apply political and diplomatic pressure on China to use its economical and other support of the DPRK to make concessions to western nations and corporations.
12. Utilizing Chinese claims to territories within the South China Sea to drive a wedge between DPRK-China relations.
13. Aggravating sanctions based on positioning the DPRK as regional as well as international threat to security, stability and peace.
14. Attempts to use information technologies such as Satellite TV as well as the Inter-net and social networking sites for spreading disinformation and propaganda, as well as for organizing dissent to weaken party and military. This includes also, the smuggling of CDs, DVDs and carriers of electronic information. A survey among defectors from the DPRK showed that more than 50 % had been inspired to defect when watching these smuggled propaganda DVDs. It is an extremely inexpensive and extremely effective way of draining the nation for human resources.
15. It is likely that these attempts will increase and become more systematic and organized over the course of the next five years, and parallel to US/NATO establishment of a greater military footprint in the region.
The list of strategies could be continued to fill volumes, and each of the points could be expounded upon in separate in depths analysis. I would be happy to do so but it would be beyond the scope and purpose of this article.
Suggestions: Towards a more stable, secure and prosperous DPRK
Nuclear weapons and their use are inherently criminal. Nuclear weapons murder indiscriminately, kill predominantly non-combatant civilians, are devastating for targeted nations infrastructure and they cause long-term, indiscriminately distributed and severe health hazards for entire nations and populations beyond. The sole nation ever to use them in anger is the USA.
In the light of the fact that they, so far, have been the only type of weapon that have effectively deterred the US/NATO from attacking nations that were potential targets for US/NATO military aggression, and in the light of the fact that Korea has previously been attacked and that it still is suffering the consequences of a US-aggression, however, it is not only entirely understandable, but entirely legitimate that the DPRK is developing and possessing a relatively limited deterrent arsenal of nuclear weapons.
It is the awareness of this fact that inspires western sanctions based on the nations nuclear weapons program. By comparison one must admit that Pakistan and the DPRK are far less threatened by military aggression that Iran.
The constant and consequent diplomatic, political, economical and military pressure against the DPRK is straining the nations capacity to achieve a higher standard of living and prosperity for its citizens. This pressure would not cease in the case of concessions with respect to nuclear weapons and concessions would instead heighten the risk for a military confrontation with its brother nation in the south and the US/NATO.
The US/NATO is currently establishing a greater military footprint in South East Asia. It is beginning to negotiate with, among other Vietnam to station additional troops.
The best strategy for the DPRK would be based on a gradual harmonization of its market with the Chinese market while keeping western corporations under the present, and stricter control. Increased cooperation with Russian state-owned corporations could be negotiated. Chinese and Russian guaranties for Vietnam and Lao finessed, cooperation and trade with Lao and eventually Thailand via Lao increased. The DPRK rightfully orients itself within an Asian context that is respectful of its culture. It does not need increased trade with modo-colonial racial supremacist nations.
The geo-political developments since US/NATO´s abuse of UNSC resolution 1973 (2011) on Libya, the ongoing illegal, unconventional war on Syria, the fact that both China and Russia have drawn a clear line at the UNSC and in bilateral and multilateral relations with nations that are playing an active role in the aggression against Syria should reassure the DPRK that its two potential allies have a self-interest in securing the nations stability, and that they have become more reliable with respect to securing their regional interests and partners.
A gradual opening of the DPRK´s economy and increased bilateral and multilateral relations with and between Russia, China, Lao, Vietnam, Japan, could safeguard that the socialist project could afford to wait out western sanctions with much more calm, while securing that the military can be maintained and the country can be developed socially.
Concerning a so-called “free press”. As mentioned above, over 50 % of defectors from the DPRK defect after watching propaganda DVDs that are smuggled into the country. Most of the defectors are bitterly disappointed when they realize that there is a unbreachable gap between the world of propaganda and that of the realities of capitalism.
Improved access to social media, improved access to internet, improved access to foreign TV and even to foreign propaganda does not make a great impact on a people who are educated, who are aware of that their nation is threatened, and who see that their labor produces modest increases in their standard of living.
All of the above will not be possible by applying isolationism, but they are possible if the DPRK is redefining its proper place as Asian nation in Asia. It does not need the west half as much as the west needs it for its strategic encirclement of China and Russia and Global Full Spectrum Dominance.
Dr. Christof Lehmann
A geo-political analysis of the background for the developments in the South-China Sea, the region, and suggested developments towards regional security and stability.