North Korea Update

Mar 092010

The February 28, 2010 StrategyPage has an interesting update on the brutal conditions in North Korea.

The whole thing is worth reading, but here is one excerpt that stood out for me:

North Korea is so broke that it can’t even expand its prison system. Currently, there are six main work camps, holding 200,000 prisoners. The camps run factories, mines and farms, but to build additional camps requires cash and resources the government doesn’t have. So food for the camps is being cut, to encourage the weaker prisoners to die, and make room for the many new “economic criminals” (especially those sneaking food in from China.)

There is also paralysis at the top when it comes to resuming negotiations with the U.S. and neighboring countries, that are willing to provide food and other aid, if the north will abandon nuclear weapons. Many North Korean officials are willing to make the trade, but refuse to allow the inspections demanded.

The big fear is that the outsiders will find out how bad off North Korea really is. This, despite the fact that this is not much of a secret anymore.

(Read the full text.)

Fortunately, it looks like the Obama Administration is not in a hurry to agree to more negotiations and talks with such a weakened (yet unrepentant) enemy.

Given that I oppose so many of the current President’s policies, I do wish to give him credit on those occasions where I agree with him.

Defending Stalin?!?

Jun 202008

While googling for a text relevant to my dissertation, I ran across “The Stalin Society.” It describes itself in large text, next to a picture of Stalin, as follows:

The Stalin Society was formed in 1991 to defend Stalin and his work on the basis of fact and to refute capitalist, revisionist, opportunist and Trotskyist propaganda directed against him.”

Um, wow. (Always those damn Trotskyites!)

Lives of Others

Jun 172008

Some time ago, I recommended the movie Lives of Others. It’s a beautiful, heart-wrenching movie about life in East Germany under the watchful eye of the Stasi secret police.

The movie was so good that I thought I’d recommend it again, along with this interesting Wired article from a few months ago on the attempt to reconstruct the Stasi records, so that East Germans can learn exactly what their government recorded about their lives.

I never read anything about East Germany in my obsessive readings on communism a few years ago, but I’d like to do so, preferably a personal narrative of some kind. Any recommendations?

Update on North Korea

Apr 262008

StrategyPage has a very interesting update on the ever-declining state of affairs in North Korea. It’s definitely worth reading, if you’re interested in that horrid corner of the globe.

Evil Evil Evil

Mar 072002

In today’s OpinionJournal, a German doctor who worked in North Korea for two years has a great piece on the horrors experienced by the people of that country at the hands of their power-hungry dictator, Kim Jong Il. He writes:

What I witnessed could best be described as unbelievable deprivation. As I wrote last March, “In the hospitals one sees kids too small for their age, with hollow eyes and skin stretched tight across their faces. They wear blue-and-white striped pajamas, like the children in Hitler’s Auschwitz.”

Essentially, he is defending North Korea’s inclusion in the axis of evil. Towards the end of the article, he says:

President Bush has rightly identified North Korea as a prison state that uses terrorism against its own people. Moreover, his “axis of evil” has sent a strong message to the North Korean people that they are not forgotten–and they are listening. Every North Korean defector I spoke to over several weeks was delighted by President Bush’s words. For the first time in their lives they feel as if the outside world understands the hell they have endured. Moreover, they are full of hope that, like President Reagan’s “evil empire” speech,” President Bush’s “axis of evil” speech will eventually lead to the collapse of Kim Jong Il’s brutal regime.

I’m sold!

This article seems particularly timely given Will Wilkinson’s indignant comments yesterday on North Korea as merely preferring their bread butter side down.

Preventing Horror

Mar 042002

After a lengthy discussion on Saturday with Paul on whether the horrors of the Soviet Union could have been prevented, he recommended the quick World War II alternate history Triumph in which Churchill assassinates Stalin during the war. Although competently written, the possible changes in the timeline precipitated by Stalin’s early death are merely hinted at rather than explored in depth.

If we must make common cause with an evil regime (like the Soviet Union) in order to defeat a even more evil regime (like Hitler’s Germany), the least we can do is be honest about the compromise being made. To sell a ruthless dictator as “Uncle Joe Stalin” is an unpardonable sin. But given FDR’s politics, perhaps Stalin really was an ideological uncle of sorts.

Home | Live Webcast | Archives | Blog | Question Queue | Connect | Support Us | About Us
Copyright 2012 Diana Hsieh | Email | Twitter | Facebook | Blog
Suffusion theme by Sayontan Sinha