[Editor’s note: The following paper in 3 Parts was originally prepared to present before the 70th Anniversary International Symposium on the occasion of Kim Il Sung University Foundation in Pyongyang, DPRK in September 29 – October 1, 2016.
The 4th Media believes Dr. Chung’s paper might be beneficial for its global readership hopefully to understand better the “anti-imperialist” struggle DPRK has endlessly waged ever since the Korean peninsula has been forcibly divided by the Washington’s “Imperial Ambition” in 1945. However, the topic the author persistently dealt or wrestled with throughout the paper should be a non-issue or a less-readily acceptable issue to many.
But, since both the worst W Bush and Obama era ever since early 2000s, specifically with the disastrous and helpless experiences from the cases of former Yugoslavia (in Clinton era), Afghanistan, Iraq, Sudan, Libya, Syria, Yemen and many other defenseless nations around the world which had been either already destroyed into shatters and ruins or still being bombed daily for years, it seems many in the world today might have a better (or much better?) position finally to understand at least what the nonstop DPRK-US confrontation for over 70 years is all about.
Therefore, some of the core arguments Prof. Chung presented in his paper should be quite controversial and/or for many hard to swallow to agree with. The 4th Media however hopes its global readership to wrestle with a rather long paper which painstakingly dealt with certainly the most (worst) demonized nation on earth the “North Korea” of its “not-known-before (or probably never been introduced) -to the world issue”, called, the “Military-first Politics“. Best wishes!]
On Historical Significance of “Songun (i.e., Military-First) Politics”
Introduction Linguistic Analyses and Interpretations
The DPRK-US Struggle and a New Future for the Humanity
A New Russia-China Alliance and the Failed “Anglo-American Empire”
The Songun Politics is the Answer
“Parallel Strategy to Develop Simultaneously both Economy and the Nuclear Power”
Most Challenging, Unpredictable Task: “Leadership Succession”
“North Korean Collapsing Theories” Made in USA
The Game Is Over: “Collapse of Collapsing Theories” and the Peace Treaty Issue
Rapidly Growing Geopolitical Awareness on the DPRK’s Parallel Strategy
Military-First Revolution Continues Through Generations
An Undeniable Historical Fact: It’s the US Who Has Always Failed
The First-ever Defeat the US Imperialists Had in Its War History
The Korean Holocaust and Other Unrecognized Holocausts
Most Extreme Asymmetrical War, Cultural Imperialism, Great Suffering
Songun Politics, US President’s Admittance of Military Defeat
This short paper is prepared to present at the September 29th International Symposium on the occasion of 70th Anniversary of Kim Il Sung University Foundation in Pyongyang, Korea in 2016. The paper will attempt to explore some of the Historical Significance of Songun Politics of Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK, aka, “North Korea”) in the context of still ongoing 70 years-old DPRK-US confrontations.
Let’s find out first where that Korean language Songun which literally means “military-first” is originated from. The still relatively new expression has become broadly popularized ever since Chairman Kim Jong Il era which began since mid 1990s. In fact, this new sociopolitical language was a newly-reinvented wording from late President Kim Il Sung’s “Chong-dae-woo-sun” principle of the 1920s-40s. The latter literally means ‘gun(or military)-priority’. It was popular ever since Kim’s legendary ‘anti-Japanese armed struggle‘ started from late 1920s.
Let’s find out a little bit more about how DPRK officially defines the word Songun. Its official definition can be found from the nation’s official webpage. However, without changing its fundamental meanings, I tried to shorten the nation’s official definition by editing, dropping, and/or changing some of the phrases, sentences, words but not the meanings:
“Songun politics is rooted in the military-priority ideology that embodies the Juche [i.e., “self-reliance”] idea. The late president Kim Il Sung is a founder of Songun ideology … of the Songun revolution. ….. [Organizing] “Down-with-Imperialism Union” by [Kim] in October, 1926 was … to crush the Japanese imperialists. The two pistols left over by his father … [and] the “Down-with-Imperialism Union” [point] out a staunch anti-imperialist and independent stand are the starting point of Songun ideology, [the] ideology of giving precedence to arms and the military. … [The late president] Kim put forward the … armed struggle as the principal line of anti-Japanese national liberation struggle … in June 19, 1930 and thereby proclaimed the birth of Songun ideology … He formed the Anti-Japanese People’s Guerrilla Army, a first revolutionary armed force on April 25, 1932 and started the anti-Japanese armed struggle, which was a historic event announcing the beginning of the Songun revolutionary leadership. … For almost 70 years starting from the mid-1920s when he embarked on the road of revolution with a high ambition for national liberation, he held fast to the line of giving priority to arms and the military and carried out the military-priority principle through. …
In the 1970s and 1980s, [Chairman Kim Jong Il] [was] determined … to work hard to lead the efforts to strengthen the army both politically, ideologically, militarily and technically. In the 1990s, there came to be a great change in [geo]political composition of the world and the balance of [global powers]. The US and the imperialist reactionary forces intensified [unprecedentedly aggressive] military maneuvers to stifle the country…. Chairman Kim, based on a scientific analysis of the changed [geopolitical] situation, declared the Songun politics [the supreme politics of the nation] …. At the 10th Supreme People’s Assembly of the DPRK in September, 1998, … the Songun politics of the party is the main political mode of socialism which has begun in the era of President Kim and systemized in the hardest time of history [during Chairman Kim era]. Chairman Kim determined that the line of the Songun revolution be held fast to as long as [the US-led imperialist forces continue their aggressive policies against DPRK]. He has unfolded the Songun politics and defended socialism with the might of the Songun politics and advanced the independent cause of the mankind.”
Linguistic Analyses and Interpretations
The philosophy of military-first(priority) Korean revolution however shouldn’t be understood as a one-dimensional and exclusive concept limited to strictly military-related matters only. Rather I believe it should be understood as a multidimensional and inclusive concept. Thus I don’t think the “military-first” philosophy mechanically means the military-only or military-centered idea. Even if it says ‘military-first’, I believe it should be interpreted something as a “people-centered military-first strategy”.
From an inclusive and multidimensional perspective, it can be also read as a people-first ideology. In other words, one can also argue the people-centered (or –first) politics as a goal which should be served by the military-first politics as a tool or methodology. In any case any language I believe mustn’t be read literally. What I am trying to do here is to interpret the language freely based upon logic, reason, being objective and truthful, instead read the language mechanically as in the case of over 2000 years-old controversial issues of “biblical literalism” in Western Christianity.
Even if both Chongdaewoosun and Songun sound different from each other, however, I believe both have exactly a very same sociopolitical and philosophical meaning. Thus they shouldn’t be read from the either-or concept. Instead it should be read from the both-and perspective. For they seem identical each other in their historical, sociopolitical and philosophical meanings.
However, what most matters here with regard to the above-discussed issues is I believe the “human-centeredness” or “people-centeredness” which is abundantly clear as in the following arguments explicated by the founder of “Songun language,” the Chairman Kim. In the discussions of Songun politics, Kim emphatically highlights its “Root is the Juche (i.e., self-reliance) thought.” However, he simultaneously identifies the Juche idea as a “human-centered thought.”
If so then, one can conclusively argue the self-reliant military-first politics is essentially a ‘people-centered politics.’ I think this human dimension is the most crucial aspect in any discussions of DPRK’s military-first politics. For example, Kim emphasizes that human dimension as in the following way, “It’s thoroughly a pro-people politics“.
Ever since late President Kim had begun his legendary anti-Japanese armed struggle since late 1920s, DPRK seems to have never dropped, negotiated and/or revised under any circumstances the above-discussed human-centered military-first revolution as their most fundamental sociopolitical and philosophical foundation of the party (Workers’ Party of Korea), the military (Korea People’s Army) and the nation (DPRK).
Based upon the above discussions, though very limited, one can also argue if the nation’s top leadership from the first generation to the present hadn’t made that human-centered military-first principle as the nation’s most fundamental strategic decision, I’d hardly imagine if DPRK’s “our style (in other words, human-centered) anti-imperialist, self-determined socialist revolution” might have survived or could have successfully advanced this far for over 70 years.
Some basic linguistic analyses and interpretations on the Songun language we’ve just discussed above hopefully could help our discussions on the main topic the Songun Politics the author will argue in the remainder of this paper.
The DPRK-US Struggle and a New Future for the Humanity
Like either all the other “collapsed” nations including the former Soviet Union, its satellite socialist Eastern European block countries or other “destroyed” states which were then prone to anti-imperialist, self-determination, socialist principles such as the former Yugoslavia in mid 1990s, Libya in mid 2010s, etc., if DPRK, too, had been either collapsed or destroyed, or both, then I believe today’s favorably changing geopolitical power relations for the sake of humanity’s new future inconceivable.
In other words, like many other failed states during the last quarter century, if DPRK, too, had failed already, then it’s quite doubtful if the following several most representative anti-imperialist struggles [as in the following cases such as Cuba, Iran, Syria, etc. for already several decades, and lately Russia and now even China against the very same enemy, i.e., the US-led global imperialist camp] could have taken place as in the way the world is witnessing today.
For the sake of discussion, here let me present a possibly very controversial argument such as If the world had not known the last 70 years of historically unprecedented DPRK-US confrontation (hereafter, D-U struggle), one could hardly think of today’s rapidly changing geopolitical power politics which I believe seem absolutely favorable for the humanity’s new future.
By the way, today, unlike the past, there seem not much disputes if one could define the D-U struggle which has endlessly continued ever since the end of WWII as the longest, the staunchest and the never-back-down anti-imperialist, self-determined socialist struggle.
I don’t think there won’t be much disagreements now if one argues the D-U struggle isn’t the One-on-One type of match but instead it’s the fight against the US-controlled world in terms of DPRK alone fighting against not only the historically unprecedented 21st Century Global Empire but also the Washington/Tel Aviv-controlled UN, IMF, World Bank, ADB, EU, NATO plus Western and other vassal states around the world for over 70 years. Therefore, the D-U struggle in the Modern World History seems the only case the history has never known in the past.
Indeed, if the still-continuing D-U struggle hadn’t succeeded this far, then I hardly doubt today’s global power politics won’t be the same as we know today. By the same token, if the D-U struggle didn’t exist, I believe today’s rapidly restructuring global power relations favorable toward the humanity’s new future won’t be the same either. For examples, BRICS, SCO, EEU, AIIB, etc. including the rapidly-merging China-Russia strategic alliance would be some of the most representative examples to support the above-discussed arguments.
Again for the sake of discussion, I dare to argue if DPRK had NOT successfully put down, repeatedly ridiculed or categorically defeated Washington’s each and every imperialist war of aggressions for 70 years, it seems also hardly improbable if one of the most representative anti-imperialist struggles in the world today like the great Russia-US confrontation (hereafter, R-U struggle) wouldn’t either have taken place as we see today.
It seems it’s now a more readily agreeable knowledge DPRK had been singled out for Washington’s psychological warfare in global scale which has been always accompanied by vicious demonization campaigns to further isolate and to cut off the DPRK completely from the international communities. Of course, Washington’s demonization campaign has been also fully supported by its endless DPRK-suffocation policy by nonstop economic blockades and financial sanctions.
Last quarter century, as well-known, even China and Russia participated in the US-led UNSC sanctions. While the world has continued to sanction DPRK, in the meantime US has also stepped up its nonstop nuclear war threats as well. However, since early 1990s, almost every nation on earth, including China and Russia until recently, wouldn’t have dared to challenge a monster-like Global Empire.
Therefore, as a most probable result from the above-mentioned all that global anti-DPRK suffocation strategies, if the “North Korea” had been already wiped out a quarter century ago like the Soviets and many other defenseless nations, I hardly doubt what the world witnesses today in the 21st Century global power politics wouldn’t be same as we know these days.
I don’t think it’d be unnecessarily much difficult to understand what we’re talking about here if we’d remember what’d happened to, for example, the 1990s’ Russia. We all remember what’d happened to Russia then. The world particularly remembers what’d happened to Russia right after the former Soviet Union was completely dissolved in early 1990s. What’d happened to Russia then was well summarized in a book, titled, “Disaster Capitalism” written by a world-renowned lady journalist in US, Naomi Klein.
As she powerfully argued in her 1997 best-seller book, the world remembers how the then thoroughly defeated, humiliated, and downgraded Russia (like a ‘2nd class state’ from once one of the most powerful, the greatest and the internationally-most-respected nations in the world) and most of its great national wealth as a whole had been robbed by the US-controlled NATO powers.
Of course, all that American-style “highway robbery”, nicknamed lately as ‘Bankster Imperialism”, had been carried out by Wall Street’s so-called “neoliberal economic advisors,” often called then the “Chicago Boys.” Klein argues the whole Russia then was systematically robbed by the West.
However, only after a short quarter century, as a big surprise to the world, the great Russia is back. She is amazingly back now in full force. President Vladimir Putin is there. He’s right there standing tall not only for a new future of his great nation but also for a world’s new future.
A New Russia-China Alliance and the Failed “Anglo-American Empire”
As we’ve discussed above, China-US confrontation (hereafter, C-U struggle) won’t be much different from the R-U struggle either, though there seem varied differences between the two nations’ anti-imperialist struggles against the same US-controlled world.
For more than a quarter century, in the name of “reform, opening door policy,” no matter what, China had danced in a way with the US, i.e., the real “Evil Empire” the term the former late US president Ronald Reagan had used against the former Soviet Union in 1980s. By the way, if he’d used it to name his own mother nation instead, the once-globally-popularized infamous ‘Evil Empire’ term might have earned much supports and even some respects from around the world.
For some periods in the past, many Chinese both in the leadership and the ordinary people seemed to haven’t fully realized how evil that empire is. But lately, China, too, seems to have further deeply realized what kind of satanic Empire they’d been dancing with for about 30 some years is all about. A more serious geopolitical realization seems to have come in the minds of national leadership in the wake of the US-instigated, -manufactured and further -inflamed South China Sea (SCS) conflicts.
It seems a more number of people have come to realize how cunning, vicious and satanic Washington’s divide-and-conquer strategy is all about as they see in the case of SCS conflict. For example, US has deceitfully played with China’s most South East Asian neighbors, like specifically Vietnam and the Philippines, go against China. Again lately a lot more number of Chinese people seem to have much more seriously figured out how anxious, frantic and even satanic the psychopathic Zionists-controlled Washington is all about.
No matter what, how and why, even if they had once danced with the US, the more China seems to have realized who they’d danced with, the more Beijing seems unwilling to date with Washington any longer.
For the former under any circumstances isn’t the evil empire in anyway like the latter. The two nations fundamentally differ from each other almost in everything. Therefore, from the very beginning since early 1980s, their unlikely (in other words, incongruous, dubious or inconceivable) honeymoon seemed to have been destined not to succeed for long. China is a fundamentally different nation from the way USA had been built upon the full of overflowing bloods of over 100 million Native Americans.
The utterly blood-soaked European colonialists for over 5 centuries since 1492 had not only created a massive continental “blood sea” covering the whole (North, Central, South and the Caribbean islands) Americas but also made numerous more blood seas all over the world such as the Philippines since late 19th Century, Korea since mid 20th Century, Vietnam in the first latter part of 20th Century, Iraq both in late 20th and early 21st Century, Afghanistan, Libya, Syria, Yemen all in early 21st Century. China never be the same sort of nation like the US by any standard.
By nature, therefore, as if nothing had happened, I don’t think China can further continue to dance with that kind of utterly satanic entity anymore. So it seems the rapidly growing China-Russia alliance is a right answer for China, Russia and the whole world. However, the new China-Russia alliance definitely is never going to be like the now broken, failed, dismantled 70 years-old “Anglo-American Empire” either. Now as well-known, the once most powerful, globally-encompassing, strongest strategic alliance for over half a century is in a free fall situation at the moment.
Anyway a never-imaginable event like the June 2016 Brexit, as one of the most mammoth geopolitical earthquakes in 21st Century specifically in terms of today’s evermore unpredictable geopolitical power reshufflings, had never taken place ever since WWII. There is no doubt, even if hell (of a) lot of and all sorts of anti-Brexit political maneuvers by Washington/Tel Aviv-instigated pro-EU forces will be definitely unfolded for an unknown period, it’ll however most likely change, disrupt, and fundamentally shatter the over 500 years-old Western Imperialist alliance in a major way.
The C-U struggle therefore should be dealt from the above-discussed evermore fluctuating geopolitical power politics of the 21st Century which was just most symbolically culminated in the Brexit vote.
What I’ve been arguing above with regard to both R-U and C-U struggle is about the indispensable role the historic D-U struggle had played for about a quarter century. During that time, as a matter of fact, there was literally nobody around, except a few but not strong enough to wage a global war, i.e., the world’s anti-imperialist, self-determined and socialist war against the then Only Global Superpower(OGS).
There is no doubt that a quarter century-long global war in 1990s-2000s was waged almost all by DPRK alone. However, the most important thing NOW is DPRK’s struggle is not alone anymore. Since Russia and China have recently joined the global war, today’s geopolitical power politics, either centered around or towards the principles of anti-imperialism and self-determination at least, isn’t the same anymore.
It seems after the sovereign, oil-rich and socialist Libya was destroyed by US/NATO war criminals, both R-U and C-U struggles, as some of the most prominent but still relatively new in the world’s anti-imperialist struggles, seemed to have finally taken the Satanic Nature of Zionist-controlled Washington/Tel Aviv imperialist alliance a lot more seriously than before.
It seems however the degrees of both nations’ anti-imperialist struggles against the same US-controlled world still seem not the same as that of DPRK. But Third World’s most representative anti-imperialist struggles like Cuba, Iran, Syria, etc. have already taken the “enemy of the humanity” seriously almost same as that of DPRK a long time ago.
As we’ve just discussed above, thus, one can cautiously predict the above-mentioned world’s most representative self-determined anti-imperialist struggles against the same enemy, the 21st Century Global Empire seem to have fundamentally changed the future characteristics of global power politics irreversibly.
That fundamentally irreversible change can be most symbolically characterized as in the way as the once most powerful and omnipresent Washington power is now rapidly declining. Therefore, the OGS definitely doesn’t exist anymore. There is no such thing anymore. The OGS is lost. It’s gone already once for all. How? And why?
(Continue in Part II)
Prof. Kiyul Chung, Editor-in-Chief at The 4th Media, in addition to a PhD he earned in the United States, also earned another doctoral degree, called, Doctor of Sociopolitics (SPD) from DPRK in 2014. Before he joined the Tsinghua University in Beijing, China as a Visiting Professor since September 2009, he’d been teaching in the States, South Korea and China ever since mid 1980s. While still working in China, however, since 2011, he’s been also invited biannually to several universities in Japan such as Keio, Rikkyo and Korea University in Tokyo, Kyoto, Doshisha and Ritsumeikan University in Kyoto where he’s been lecturing as either Visiting Professor or Guest Lecturer. After obtaining a DPRK doctoral degree in the area of social science, he’s been also called into teaching at Kim Il Sung University in Pyongyang, DPRK since March 2015. His articles have been published around the world since 1990s in addition to his prolific Korean articles which have been published in both North and South Korean medias including independent medias in overseas Korean communities throughout the world. Since December 1994, he’s published about 300 some articles in several Korean-language medias in both Koreas. His first English book (The Donghak Concept of God/Heaven: Religion and Social Transformation, Peter Lang Publishing Inc.) was published both in the United States and Europe in 2007. His first two Korean books were published in the South in 2009 and 2012 respectively. His two latest Korean books were also published in the North in 2015 and 2016 as well.