Friday, April 10, 2009

A Victory for 'Democracy'

In a stunning victory for democracy everywhere, 'Dear Leader' Kim Jung-il of the Democratic Peoples' Republic of Korea has been re-elected to serve as Chairman of the National Defense Commission of DPRK for his fourth term. According to his nation's Constitution, revamped in 1998 to afford the position supreme military and political power, there is no limit to the number of times Kim can serve in the position, just as there is no limit to the joy of the people of North Korea upon hearing the news.

"Joy", as the more sophisticated reader will know, is a relative thing. For instance, there is the joy of welcoming one's child into the world--a feeling of pride, humility and connection to the human race, of making a contribution that will last after you are gone. There is the joy you feel when your team overcomes the odds to experience an undefeated season. Then there is the joy of making it through another day without starving to death, or being cruelly imprisoned in a re-education camp at the whim of a capricious dictator--this, I think, is the joy most common to the 23 million souls who, through an unfortunate accident of birth, are prey to the 'Dear Leader'.

Not to get too political, but I do just want to mention Senator McCain's comments today in Tokyo: "I believe there is no more compelling argument for missile defense capability than what just happened with the North Korean launch."

He is apparently worried that the Pacific Ocean is just not up to the task of swallowing many more failed missile launches from Musudan-ri. See, I think there are much more compelling arguments for missile defense capability. Say, Russia, India, Pakistan, even Israel, who with just the right amount of provocation could unleash a bomb or two on a selected enemy.

I just don't think that enemy would be the US. So the defense capability that McCain refers to is pretty much moot--'Course, you can make that point about anything any Republican says nowadays.

Notice in my list, I did not put China, which has nuclear weapons. And whose system of government appears antithetical to our own. But, you see, thanks to US diplomacy as far back as Richard M. Nixon, China has slowly shuffled off its paranoid Bamboo Curtainry and entered the fray of First World membership. Does China remain a repressive regime?--yes: political prisoners held without recourse, TB has to use illegal proxies to get YouTube these days, etc. Will it bomb the US?--not a chance: it has too much to lose.

If the people of North Korea are very much like their kin in the South, they are aching for a chance to use their industriousness and intelligence to make a better life for themselves. As South Korea has done--in spades! Somewhere in between the China story and the North Korea story, we can find the South Korea story--yes, there was military dictatorship, but it was balanced by Western influence; yes, there was extreme rural poverty, but it was countered by the dynamism of a capitalistic Seoul; yes, there was (is) xenophobia, but it was (is) overridden by partnership in the OECD and the onslaught of foreign trade.

Diplomacy, more than defensive missile systems, will scratch the itch caused by Mr Kim, as history has shown us. And who knows, maybe someday soon, DPRK will have a democratic election in which the leader chosen is not 'Great' or 'Dear', but Real.


Kelsey said...

Good post!

Tuttle said...

Thank you!

Anonymous said...

i have my phone interview with SMOE next Wednesday and was wondering if you had any words of wisdom regarding the interview. also, are there any questions or requests that i should bring up with them during the interview?

by the way, i love reading your blog. it's entertaining and informative!