Thursday, December 27, 2012


Rosa Parks thinks it should be Michelle Flournoy. Having been quite impressed by Flournoy at her fairly recent visit to BYU, I think I would concur.


is most of the work by NGOs like Global Resource Services.
GRS has worked all over North Korea, in cities and villages, in nine of its ten provinces. GRS professional staff and volunteers—all Americans—have carried out roughly 200 development projects in agriculture, health, and education and cultural exchange. That adds up to almost 1,100 individual visits by Americans to North Korea since 1997. And North Koreans have made about 200 individual return visits to the U.S.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012


Perhaps. If so, what better place to start with than an interesting article on the well-known militarization of North Korean society? A few anecdotes from a DPRK comic book aimed at 5-year-olds:
" ... Young guerrilla girl Kumsuni delivers letters to comrades, and one day is caught by the police. When the policemen demand the girl disclose information about the guerillas, she spits into the faces of her interrogators. As the policemen drag Kumsuni to her execution, the heroic girl cries out 'Long Live General Kim Il Sung!'"

...Pre-teen boy Ri Kwang-ch'un is a member of a secret anti-Japanese children's organization. Along with others, he helps the "Red Guard uncles". However, one day policemen apprehend the boy. When the "bastards" torture the young patriot, Ri cuts off his own tongue in defiance. His last words are "Long Live the Korean Revolution!"
I am just beginning to read Steven Pinker's fascinating The Better Angels of our Nature. If Pinker's somewhat counter-intuitive argument about the general decline in violence and the glorification of violence is valid, then North Korea stands as a troubling, reactionary counter-example.

I suspect that the author of the article about the DPRK, Tatiana Gabroussenko, makes a bit too much of the supposed difference between the gentle, Confucian, pacifist South Koreans (who just elected the daughter of a brutal military dictator to the ROK Presidency) and the blood-thirty, martial North Koreans. However, her final question is worth considering:
My concern, however, is whether South Korean society can afford to bring up it's offspring in a similarly pacifist and cotton-wool way. After all, Korea is still technically at war, with all capable men to be enlisted at the time of conflict. There is no doubt that logistically and economically the South Korean military is strong enough to defend itself. However, wars are won not only with good equipment, but with appropriate spirit and psychological preparedness as well.

In combat with the North Korean army, the South Korea would face foes who have been taught since kindergarten not to be too squeamish about crushing the heads of the enemy with a club and to be prepared to cut off their own tongues in case of danger for their comrades.