By Richard Fernandez
Bruce Cumings, the University of Chicago academic who is the “left’s leading scholar of Korean history,” believes that “North Korea is a misunderstood land.” He thinks the terrible state of the northern half of the peninsula is at least partly America’s fault and no one can escape the “significant responsibility that all Americans share for the garrison state that emerged on the ashes of our truly terrible destruction of the North half a century ago.”
The problem with that assertion is summarized in a graph of per capita GDP in the Washington Post which shows that the divergence of the two Koreas actually occurred in the early 1970s. Prior to that time “the two countries were roughly comparable — in fact, AEI’s Nicholas Eberstadt argues that, at the time of Mao Zedong’s death, North Korea’s workers were more productive and better educated than China.”
So you can forget the effects of the Korean War. The disaster in the North was entirely self inflicted; it was a catastrophe written and directed in Pyongyang by the Kim family.
Somehow they managed to take things from bad to worse. Ezra Klein at the Washington Post notes the second inflection point, in 1994, took place after Kim Jong Il succeeded from his brutal father. The Dear Leader managed to fix nothing and add more wreckage of his own. The North Korean economy, already in a flat dive, nosed over like a dive bomber without speed brakes and has been descending at full tilt ever since. The Spearhead argues that North Korea’s dynastic mode of Communism may be partly to blame as the Kims found some way to combine the worst aspects of Communism with all the shortcomings of hereditary decadence into a form of governance from hell. To bolster the point, it presents a series of portraits which appear to show a process of reverse evolution, like ape emerging from man.
The following pictures demonstrate a clear progression from manly alpha conqueror to effete omega descendant. One can see something of the family resemblance down the line, but Kim Jong-un, the latest scion of the Kim dynasty, is a sorry specimen compared to grandfather Kim Il-sung.
Given this unfortunate regression, the suggestion is that the North Koreans might see yet another inflection point with the accession of Kim Jung Un, the latest in the royal line.
Tamquam: The contrast is stark: South Korea is the legacy of American led capitalism writ in history, North Korea is gangrenous policy of Soviet Communism exposed for all the world to see.
richard could have stopped at just saying~~~Bruce Cumings, the University of Chicago “academic” that, pretty much summed it all up. just add a dash of blame america and stir the pot.