Inside the Red Box: North Koreas Post-totalitarian Politics (Contemporary Asia in the World)
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These groups hold different institutional policy platforms and debate high-level policy options both before and after Kim and his senior leadership make their final call. This method of rule may challenge expectations, but North Korea does not follow a classically totalitarian, personalistic, or corporatist model. Rather than being monolithic, McEachern argues, the regime, emerging from the crises of the s, rules differently today than it did under Kim's father, Kim Il Sung.
The son is less powerful and pits institutions against one another in a strategy of divide and rule. His leadership is fundamentally different: it is "post-totalitarian. McEachern maps this process in great detail, supplying vital perspective on North Korea's reactive policy choices, which continue to bewilder the West.
To North Koreans, the Kims are more than just leaders. Kim Il-Sung is the country's leading novelist, philosopher, historian, educator, designer, literary critic, architect, general, farmer, and ping-pong trainer. Radios are made so they can only be tuned to the official state frequency. And instead of Christmas, North Koreans celebrate Kim's birthday--and he presents each child a present, just like Santa.
The regime that the Kim Dynasty has built remains technically at war with the United States nearly a half century after the armistice that halted actual fighting in the Korean War. This fascinating and complete history takes full advantage of a great deal of source material that has only recently become available some from archives in Moscow and Beijing , and brings the reader up to the tensions of the current day.
For as this book will explain, North Korea appears more and more to be the greatest threat among the Axis of Evil countries--with some defector testimony warning that Kim Jong-Il has enough chemical weapons to wipe out the entire population of South Korea. Lankov traces the impact of Soviet reforms on North Korea, placing them in the context of contemporaneous political crises in Poland and Hungary.
He documents the dissent among various social groups intellectuals, students, party cadres and their attempts to oust Kim in the unsuccessful August plot of His reconstruction of the Peng-Mikoyan visit of that year the most dramatic Sino-Soviet intervention into Pyongyang politics shows how it helped bring an end to purges of the opposition. The purges, however, resumed in less than a year as Kim skillfully began to distance himself from both Moscow and Beijing.
The final chapters of this fascinating and revealing study deal with events of the late s that eventually led to Kim s version of national Stalinism. Lankov unearths data that, for the first time, allows us to estimate the scale and character of North Korea s Great Purge.
Meticulously researched and cogently argued, Crisis in North Korea is a must-read for students and scholars of Korea and anyone interested in political leadership and personality cults, regime transition, and communist politics.
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Account Options Sign in. Top charts. New arrivals. Andrei Lankov has gone where few outsiders have ever been. A native of the former Soviet Union, he lived as an exchange student in North Korea in the s. He has studied it for his entire career, using his fluency in Korean and personal contacts to build a rich, nuanced understanding. In The Real North Korea, Lankov substitutes cold, clear analysis for the overheated rhetoric surrounding this opaque police state. After providing an accessible history of the nation, he turns his focus to what North Korea is, what its leadership thinks, and how its people cope with living in such an oppressive and poor place.
He argues that North Korea is not irrational, and nothing shows this better than its continuing survival against all odds.
A living political fossil, it clings to existence in the face of limited resources and a zombie economy, manipulating great powers despite its weakness. Its leaders are not ideological zealots or madmen, but perhaps the best practitioners of Machiavellian politics that can be found in the modern world.
Even though they preside over a failed state, they have successfully used diplomacy-including nuclear threats-to extract support from other nations. But while the people in charge have been ruthless and successful in holding on to power, Lankov goes on to argue that this cannot continue forever, since the old system is slowly falling apart. In the long run, with or without reform, the regime is unsustainable. Lankov contends that reforms, if attempted, will trigger a dramatic implosion of the regime. They will not prolong its existence. Based on vast expertise, this book reveals how average North Koreans live, how their leaders rule, and how both survive.
A native of Leningrad, he studied in North Korea as an exchange student. Reviews Review Policy. He has served as vice president and treasurer of the Parliamentary Association of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe, and as treasurer of Liberal International. In , he was appointed Member of the Order of Canada. Prior to his election to parliament, Mr. Subsequently, he taught international trade law, public international law, and the law of the European Community at the University of Toronto, Faculty of Law. George A. For the past 30 years he has researched and advised on economic sanctions, peacebuilding, the United Nations and various peace related issues.
Inside the Red Box | Columbia University Press
His work in these areas has taken him to 20 countries. Since , Lopez has advised various international agencies and governments regarding sanctions issues, ranging from limiting their humanitarian impact to the design of targeted financial sanctions. From May-December , he served as interim executive director of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, and then chaired its Board of Directors until June , presiding over the moving of the hands of The Doomsday Clock in He speaks Korean and Slovak.
Adam Mount , Ph. Mike Mullen and Sen. Sam Nunn. He holds a Ph. The KPP has been hosting six North Korean professors each year since for six-month periods of study at UBC, as part of a long-term knowledge sharing and academic exchange and thus represents an unprecedented, ground-breaking program in North America. She is the author, coauthor, and editor of many scholarly publications on issues ranging from North and South Korean politics and foreign relations to gender and development. Since the mids, she has made many trips to Pyongyang and hosted North Korean delegation visits to Canada, playing a key role in promoting track II exchanges and diplomacy between the two countries.
Donald S. Rickerd, C. The retreat of communism and the easing of Cold War threats had opened up some space to pursue diplomatic engagement with China and North Korea in the mid- to late s. Rapid economic growth and democratic changes within South Korean society had also provided room for a change in policy toward the DPRK. But, the emergence of this alternative school of thought was not just due to ideology. At the time, the inter-Korean summits of and also gave some hope for long-term reconciliation and peaceful unification.
Upon reflection, however, what was so distinct about the Sunshine Policy was the notion that unification should be pushed generations into the distant future. In particular, some officials inside the George W. Bush administration were reluctant to engage with North Korea over its nuclear program. As it related to unification policy, there were many critics of the soft landing theories who argued they were flawed because they were built on untenable assumptions:.
There was really no new empirical study of unification during the sunshine era. The opacity surrounding unification was transformed into a politically and ideologically motivated imperative to:.
Five Theories of Korean Unification
As noted in the previous section, opacity about unification created policy constraints. Truisms became accepted as factual, without further study or new facts unearthed, and it was assumed that unification could be thought of in only one way. Lee was a businessman, not an ideologue. He was pragmatic and saw both North Korean policy and unification policy in pragmatic terms. What emerged during this period was a pushing back against a decade of views on unification, not with new information per se, but with political will. But Koreans cannot blindly stick their heads in the sand and hope the problems will go away.
Instead, as traumatic as unification may be, it could very well come tomorrow or next month or next year, so it was necessary to prepare for the process. Unification may be expensive, it may be difficult and it may be dangerous. Despite the existence of the U. Sanctions were imposed and diplomatic overtures were made following each round of provocations but North Korea remained undeterred in its pursuit of nuclear weapons and low-level military provocations.
South Korean attitudes and policy toward North Korea also hardened considerably after the sinking of the Cheonan and the shelling of Yeonpyeong Island by North Korea in Meanwhile, the stroke suffered by Kim Jong-il in , and his eventual death in , led many to predict that the North Korean regime was again on the verge of collapse. This theory of unification was informed by limited, but new, research on realistic scenarios for regime collapse as well as the study of long-term pathways to peaceful unification.
But most of the information about unification remained at the political level, this time focused on educating the domestic public about unification. But once again, the discourse on unification remained political more than positivist. One of the only substantive studies in English of practical issues associated with the unification process, including humanitarian aid, securing nuclear weapons and materials, and treatment for disease outbreaks, was conducted by the Korea Chair at the Center for Strategic and International Studies and the Korean Studies Institute at the University of Southern California during a three-year joint project.
The fifth theory of unification advanced under President Park Geun-hye evolved from the earlier pragmatic theory proposed under Lee. According to this theory, the process of reunification should be reimagined or envisioned as a process that could offer opportunities for growth, investment, and peace to both Koreas and to all Korean people.
In a sense, this latest theory is an attempt at social reengineering of the discourse on unification that has taken root over the past 15 years. Park deserves credit for creating a model for thinking about unification, but there is little that has been done to shed any light on the unification tunnel.
Implications for Shift in Unification Theories
The administration set up a commission to study unification called the Presidential Committee for Unification Preparation that is nominally headed by President Park. The commission makes recommendations to the president of the Republic of Korea regarding policy development and implementation measures to prepare for a democratic and peaceful unification process. But thus far, no serious empirical work has been disseminated. There is an increasing realization that serious study of unification is necessary to prepare for the future, and to help broaden the aperture on policy today. In the latter regard, all that we have on unification despite decades of different theories are stylized facts without any real analysis—for example, unification will be costly, a hard landing is dangerous, and millions of refugees will flood China.
These stylized facts have narrowed how we think about policy today to a small bandwidth of policy options. This in turn leads to policy stasis. Unearthing and disseminating new facts about unification can change the way we think about the future and can also widen the choices available to policymakers, opinion leaders, and stakeholders. Show 30 Footnotes.
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