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Posts Tagged ‘North Korea

A Scholar of the Cultural Revolution on the USA

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I have not watched the whole interview, but clearly in this section the PBS (Public Broadcasting Service) interviewer was fishing for a desired response from the interviewee.

She got something very unexpected from Ai Weiwei, a Chinese artist and political activist who is a scholar on authoritarianism, specifically dealing with Mao’s cultural revolution.

A “CUT THE MIKE” moment.

He points out that to be authoritarian requires more than sounding off on Twitter and saying stuff that sounds authoritarian. You need to be supported by a system, and that system – specifically the Federal Administrative State – rejected Trump’s demands but fully accepts Biden’s.

Yet that is also supported by too many ordinary people, such as David Farrar over at Kiwiblog, who thumped the table and loudly denounced Trump’s demands for some of his enemies to be investigated, yet is completely silent about things like the FBI and DOJ going after the parents of school kids as “domestic terrorists”.

But it’s what Weiwei goes to say next that should be getting the attention of a lot of people. He claims that the United States is actually in an authoritarian moment, just not in the way the Left believes. Instead, he brings up the fact that people unifying around certain “political correct” ideas denotes a “dangerous” trend.

Those on the left desperately want everything they oppose to be “authoritarian.” That’s why you get constant, irrational claims about their need to “save democracy.” Yet the left’s attempts to erase history and suppress “improper” speech are actually the hallmarks of authoritarianism as evidenced by Mao’s Cultural Revolution, something Weiwei is very familiar with.

What brings about tyranny is a societal shift that tears down the past and viciously dictates the future via threats of financial ruin and violence. It is not the Right that wants to destroy statues of Thomas Jefferson and put in place “hate speech” laws. Instead, it is the left that forces people from their jobs for wrong-think while insisting that it’s acceptable to “punch” Nazis. And surprise, everyone they don’t like is a Nazi.

Between this guy and the comments about US universities made by North Korean defector, Yeonmi Park, after graduating from Columbia University – “Even North Korea is not this nuts” – you’d think the Left would pause.

But they won’t. They can’t.

Written by Tom Hunter

November 18, 2021 at 6:00 am


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I see that nice Mr Hipkins has taken umbrage at John Key’s descriptive of New Zealand as a smug Hermit kingdom. For myself I think Key’s analogy liking the country to North Korea is somewhat apt.

The only difference that I can see is North Korea’s refusal to acknowledge the existence of Covid in their country. Ardern’s restrictions on travel could have just as easily be written by Pyongyang.

One can understand Hipkin’s sensitivity.

Written by The Veteran

September 26, 2021 at 1:05 pm

“Even North Korea is not this nuts”

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That’s not from this Babylon Bee tweet, despite it being another of their wonderful pieces of satire.

Now you may be thinking that photoshopping North Korea’s Kim Jong Un into a modern American university lecture theatre is over-the-top, even for a satirical story.

But that would be before you read this article about a North Korean defector named Yeonmi Park, who has recently graduated from Columbia University.

Park is one of the more famous defectors, having written a 2015 memoir called “In Order to Live”, in which she chronicled her life in the repressive regime of North Korea and her eventual escape with her mother. At the age of 13 she saw people die of starvation right in front of her. When she and her mother managed to get across the border into China they were captured by human slavers. Having been freed by Christian missionaries she still ended up having to walk across the Gobi desert before she got to South Korea.

Then she moved to the USA and went to one of the great Ivy League universities.

“I expected that I was paying this fortune, all this time and energy, to learn how to think. But they are forcing you to think the way they want you to think,” she said. “I realized, wow, this is insane. I thought America was different but I saw so many similarities to what I saw in North Korea that I started worrying.”

Her money quote:

“Even North Korea is not this nuts. North Korea was pretty crazy, but not this crazy.”

When you read the details she supplies about her education you can understand why she came to this conclusion.

Like in North Korea, Park said she witnessed example after example of anti-Western sentiment and guilt-tripping. During her orientation, for instance, a staff member scolded her for liking classic literature, such as the writings of Jane Austen.

“I said ‘I love those books.’ I thought it was a good thing,” Park said of her orientation. “Then she said, ‘Did you know those writers had a colonial mindset? They were racists and bigots and are subconsciously brainwashing you.’”

Heh. I encountered a number of feminists in the 1980’s with a very low opinion of Jane Austen, because she did not fit their conceptions of what a feminist was. To say the least their opinions of the woman were primitive and reductive, but by the late 1990’s things had turned around, with increased celebration of Ms Austen’s feminist traits.

Just in time to now be a “colonialist” and a racist.

Yeonmi Park

Her professors gave students “trigger warnings,” sharing the wording from readings in advance so people could opt out of reading or even sitting in class during discussions, Park told The Post.

“Going to Columbia, the first thing I learned was ‘safe space,’” she said.

“Every problem, they explained us, is because of white men.” Some of the discussions of white privilege reminded her of the caste system in her native country, where people were categorized based on their ancestors, she said.

The similarities with North Korea mounted up, but at least the North Koreans had some rationale in defending their system, which they did partly by hating on Americans. As Ms Park points out there seem to be rather a lot of Americans who also hate America.

When it came to gender pronouns and manipulation of the English language, Park was even more confused.

“English is my third language. I learned it as an adult. I sometimes still say ‘he’ or ‘she’ by mistake and now they are going to ask me to call them ‘they’? How the heck do I incorporate that into my sentences?” she remembered asking herself. “It was chaos. It felt like the regression in civilization.”

It is a regression in civilisation. And it comes from being in a “safe space”.

“Because I have seen oppression, I know what it looks like,” she said. “These kids keep saying how they’re oppressed, how much injustice they’ve experienced. They don’t know how hard it is to be free.”

The paradox of supposedly being taught about “oppression”, “injustice” and being “free” is that it’s producing graduates who actually don’t know anything about them.

Park said as a child she had thought dictator Kim Jong Un was “starving” and overworked until she was in South Korea and was shown pictures that showed how large he was in pictures compared to other people who looked thin and hungry.

“That’s what it does when you’re brainwashed …. Oh my God, why did I not notice that he was fat?’ Because I never learned how to think critically. That is what is happening in America, people see things but they’ve just completely lost the ability to think critically.”

More paradox, this time courtesy of “Critical Theory”. Or perhaps irony is a better term?

“You guys have lost common sense to a degree that I as a North Korean cannot even comprehend,” she said. “Where are we going from here? There’s no rule of law, no morality, nothing is good or bad anymore, it’s complete chaos. I guess that’s what they want, to destroy every single thing and rebuild into a Communist paradise.”

I don’t agree with that last, although I can see why she would think that. The fact is that outside of a tiny fringe of real Marxists there are few who believe in that, mainly because there are so many grifting, money hungry Leftists tearing things up just to make a buck for themselves:

But that doesn’t mean they can’t cause an awful lot of damage to American society as they claw in the money while forcing everybody else to bend to their whims.

Eventually, Park stopped arguing with her professors and “learned how to just shut up” so that she could graduate.

“I literally crossed the Gobi Desert to be free and I realized I’m not free, America’s not free.

Well she did still graduate, and she got to talk to reporters about this – but only once she escaped from the university, and to paraphrase Andrew Sullivan, once we all live on campus…

Kim Jong Un: every Communist has a silver lining

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At the end of 2019 my kids and I, who all enjoy history, were wondering if 2020 was going to be a special year.

But of course we could not have predicted a pandemic and all that flowed from it, although it’s certainly enlightening to look back at the plagues of 1720, 1820 and 1920.

And this breaking news could be the cherry on top – if it’s true. And of course we’re not even close to the end of the year.

There had been speculation almost a week ago after he missed the big annual birthday bash for his hideous grandfather Kim Il Sung on Wednesday. He’s missed other events over the years but never this one, given how important it is to the morale and propaganda of North Korea’s Communist government.

It’s Katy Tur of course, not the greatest of reporters, and it’s a developing story as they say but….

… be still my beating heart!!



So even if it doesn’t happen this time, the future is looking good – for everybody else.

However, even if it’s true there are two huge downsides to this.

First, although the family dynasty might be at an end, you never know what crippled Third Cousin might come stumping out of the shadows to take over. It’s not like the rest of the North Korean Communist Party or the military has much gumption in them to seize the reins of power. Anybody with those skills most likely got killed off a long time ago.

Besides that, I recall driving along listening to the radio news in 1989 announcing that Ayatollah Khomeini had died in Iran, and cheering. And we all know how that’s turned out.

Second, the last thing that China, Russia and even South Korea want right now is a collapse of North Korea. And of course with Western economies getting devastated by the Chinese Kung Flu it could not come at a worse time.

When East Germany collapsed in 1989 it had a population (16.3 million) almost four times smaller than West Germany (62.2 million) and an economy almost six times smaller. It’s estimated that reunification cost about 2 trillion euros over a period of twenty years, or an average of 100 billion euros a year. And the Eastern parts of Germany still lag behind the Western areas even today, after all that effort.

By contrast North Korea has a population of 25.6 million and a GDP of $US 40 billion, although that may be very generous. South Korea has almost 52 million people and a GDP of $US 2,100 billion. But although that makes it look like South Korea has a relative wealth advantage greater than did West Germany in 1990, it ignores the fact of the smaller relative population difference and that North Korea’s population is in much worse shape than East Germans were in 1990 on every life factor one can think of.

Twenty five million people who are malnourished and diseased with poor diet and healthcare across several generations, which also stunts IQ, together with limited technical skills. Integrating a population like that into a 1st-World economy would be tough enough, but then there’s the challenge of assimilating them into a 1st-World society and culture. Language and family connections only go so far.

And of course this ignores what might happen if North Koreans simply begin a Berlin Wall escape across the borders into its neighbouring states. In South Korea they’re set up to face thousands of tanks, artillery and missiles. What do they do when hundreds of thousands of starving people in rags begin to pour across?

In the longer term there is no way China would allow reunification as long as American troops remain on South Korean soil. That might be easier to negotiate than it seems because South Korea does not regard China as a military threat and Trump would be eager to bring the troops home. It might take a year or so but I think China would not stand against reunification in that case.

Written by Tom Hunter

April 21, 2020 at 5:17 am


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Problem is we don’t know quite what.

As I write this an aircraft is about to touch down at Andrews AFB just outside Washington with three Americans freed from prison in the DKR on the orders of Supreme Leader Kim Jong-Un.

Last week in Wellington I was party to a briefing on North Korea by a senior MFAT diplomat.    He made the following points:

#1   The economic sanctions, engineered by Trump and Xi Jinping, have had a devastating effect on the North Korean economy.

#2   Kim Jong-Un is his own man.    Western educated he is NOT like his father.

#3   The North Koreans had the measure of Obama.    Talk tough but when push came to shove he wimped out.   With Trump it’s different.   His very unpredictably has them ‘spooked’ (my words).

#4   Up until now Kim has enjoyed a symbiotic relationship with his Generals but that may be changing as technocrats in the ruling Workers Party appear to be challenging the old guard leadership with the support of Kim.

#5   Underpinning the talks that are about to talk place between Trump and Kim is the reality that the North Koreans have reneged on every agreement they have ever signed regarding their nuclear weapons program.    The West will insist on unfettered and ongoing access to the DKRs nuclear sites in return for the lifting of sanctions.   It is moot whether North Korea will agree to this.

#6   The talks could either go very well or very badly.

#7   North Korea has the largest military in the world.   The KPA has 1,106,000 active and 8,389,000
reserve and para military troops.    How will the Generals react to any attempt to scale back the military … how does an essentially peasant economy absorb any significant demobilization?   

No-one knows for sure how this will play out.

Point #7 is mine. 

Written by The Veteran

May 10, 2018 at 9:06 am

Posted in New Zealand

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Readers will know I’m no fan of President Trump (nor his opponent in the 2016 elections).    Indeed, I think James Comey is pretty much on the money in his description of him.

But all that aside it appears his shear unpredictability as President may have forced the North Koreans to the negotiating table … if he manages to pull this off he will have achieved what no other US President in recent times came close to.

Lotsa water to flow under the bridge and the talks (if indeed they take place) might well end in failure but, if I were a betting man, I would put money on them resulting in some easing of tensions accompanied by ???    The reality is the tough regime of US orchestrated sanctions are biting and the DKR needs to have them lifted either in whole or in part.   This, coupled with the limited economic reforms now being championed by Kim3, means the time might now be right for a constructive dialogue between the two nuclear nations.

If President Trump can pull this off he deserves kudos for that even though my opinion of him is unlikely to change.  

Written by The Veteran

April 18, 2018 at 11:36 pm


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The news that North Korea has launched another ICBM into the Sea of Japan where it landed inside the Japanese EEZ is troubling indeed.    It will be seen by China, the United States, Japan and South Korea as another indication of the rogue states refusal to curtail its nuclear missile programme.

War can only ever be the final option.   It has not reached that stage yet but the nuclear clock is ticking towards twelve.    There are extensive sanctions in place although you an bet your bottom dollar that the DPRK is heavily engaged in finding ways to circumvent them in much the same way as South Africa and Rhodesia did in the 1970s.

There is one further option which is no doubt being explored … the introduction of a cordon sanitaire against North Korean ports and preventing ship entry/exit to those ports much like President Kennedy’s blockade of Cuba in 1962 at the time of the Cuban missile crisis.

There are only five ports of any significance in Korea; two on the west coast and five on the north coast.    The countries largest port is Nampo on the west coast along with four medium sized ports; Haeju on the west coast and Wonsan, Hungnam and Chongjin on the east coast.    

It would be relatively easy to disable any ship attempting breakout/breakthrough and provided it was done in international waters and against a backdrop of warnings there is not really too much difference between that and the sanctions regime already in place.    One thing for sure … the United States is not going to sit back and do nothing in response to Kim Jong-un’s latest provocation.

Written by The Veteran

November 28, 2017 at 10:53 pm

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As an assortment of armchair diplomats/warriors/strategists/wise-arses pontificate on what might or might not happen in North Korea, various military and non military ‘solutions’ are suggested.

Well, I’m going to join the fray.   Adolf has as much military and diplomatic experience as President Trump so, I am eminently qualified to have a say.

First off, I’d have to say I’m somewhat sceptical about reports of 6,500 artillery pieces and 3,500 multiple rocket launchers allegedly embedded in the hills north of the DMZ, threatening the city of Seoul.   For some perspective, note that one of largest artillery bombardments in history took place at El Alemain in 1942, using just 822 guns, firing some 930,000 shells over five hours.   The largest ever barrage was fired against Germany by Russia in 1944, delivering over 500,000 shells in half an hour from 9,000 guns.

Secondly, as I have said elsewhere, I suggest the use of nuclear weapons by either side is unlikely.  The Yanks don’t need to and Kim will have his shot out of the air.

Has anyone contemplated how many men and what resources are needed to keep 10,000 guns ready for action 24/7?   I doubt very much the figure is anywhere near 10,000 but of course, nobody really knows because Gareth Morgan didn’t visit the site when he was there.

However, the threat to 22 million civilian residents of Seoul is very real, whether it be from 100, 1,000 or 10,000 guns.   A 500 shell volley of 150mm ordnance fired into a heavily populated area over ten minutes might well kill more than a few thousand people.

Accordingly, I see the perceived or real artillery threat to be one the Norker Porker’s trump cards.  (Did you like that one?) 

Remove the artillery threat and much of the past bluster from NK is rendered redundant. 

I suspect such an option is high on the list for the US and South Korea.  I have seen no published acknowledgement of its existence but then again, the real deal is unlikely to be leaked to slavering journalists and commentators.

All it would take would be China’s secret but explicit  agreement to a limited military strike which achieves no more and no less than the destruction of North Korea’s southern artillery.     A non-nuclear aerial assault using cruise missiles, stealth bombers and B52s might see the game over within half an hour or so.

Kim Jong is substantially weakened  and the obliteration of his regime using conventional weapons becomes many times easier to achieve without civilian casualties in South Korea.  (Whether China would agree to such a second stage is moot.)

So what happens then?  I suspect South Korea would make very loud noises and China might quietly move in and take over it’s new southern province.

Written by adolffinkensen

October 11, 2017 at 12:13 am

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Whenever he’s Wrong He’s Right

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Watching all the davids, legbuts and other assorted lunatics from the left accuse President Trump of everything bad you could ever think of, I’m reminded of the many times they and others have fallen flat on their faces.

Not too long ago it was the shock horror and outrage over the president’s tweet concerning surveillance of him and his campaign staff by Obama.   Guess what?  Turned out to be absolutely true.  Trouble is, they thought Hillary would win and nobody would find out.

In recent days the same lunatic left have been all a flutter over the President’s speech to the UN in which he threatened to totally destroy North Korea should it attack the US or its allies.  The Norker Porker responded by announcing his intention shortly to explode a hydrogen bomb over the Pacific Ocean.  I can’t recall whether this has been deemed by the President to be an act of war but one thing is for sure.

Unlike the davids and legbuts of this world, China certainly takes president Trump seriously and has just announced restrictions on oil supply to North Korea.   So, once again, results show this president was and is on the right track.

“China says it will limit oil supplies to North Korea under UN sanctions, stepping up pressure on Pyongyang over its pursuit of nuclear and missile technology.The Commerce Ministry in Beijing said on Saturday that China, the North’s main trading partner and energy supplier, would limit supplies of refined petroleum products starting on October 1.It said Beijing also would ban imports of North Korean textiles, one of Pyongyang’s last major sources of foreign revenue following repeated rounds of UN sanctions.China has long been the North’s only major ally and diplomatic protector but is expressing increasing frustration with the government of Kim Jong Un.

Beijing’s status as the North’s main trading partner makes its co-operation critical to the success of economic sanctions.”

Does anyone really think China wants a short fat maniac with a big bomb right on its doorstep?

Written by adolffinkensen

September 23, 2017 at 4:03 am

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The news that the Chinese Central Bank has directed all other Chinese Banks to cease their dealings with North Korea is encouraging … if true.

That, combined with sanctions on the export of textiles and coal from the rogue state along with the drastic cutting of oil supplies, will impact hugely on the North Korean economy.

I say ‘if true’ because you never know … reality has a way of ‘trumping’ words especially in the murky world of international banking.

But any move short of war to force North Korea to neuter its attempt to develop a fully operational nuclear strike force is to be applauded.

Both President Trump and  Kim Jong-Un are becoming prisoners of their own rhetoric.   The threat by North Korea’s Foreign Minister, Ri Yong Ho that they are considering carrying out a nuclear bomb test in the Pacific, if carried through, would probably be the catalyst for military action.  

We live in very dangerous times remembering that New Zealand is still, technically, at war war with North Korea.

Written by The Veteran

September 22, 2017 at 9:09 pm

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