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Kim’s Double-Breasted Jacket • 1,900 Words

A colossal mass demonstration, well choreographed to the level of ballet but with tens of thousands of participants in the centre of Pyongyang completed and sealed an important and unusual political event in this remote and isolated land of North Korea – the Party Congress. The demo has been followed by a show, so big that it could not be staged anywhere else. Magnificient fireworks, twenty thousand men and women dancing with torches in the darkness of Pyongyang night – this show I’ll remember forever. For the Koreans it was not a show, but a declaration of their loyalty to the state and the leader – or, perhaps, even for them it was just a night dance. Who knows?

A Party Congress is a rare bird in N Korea. Uncalled for many years, actually since 1980, the Congress, the top body of the ruling Workers’ Party, gathered to confirm consolidation of power in the hands of the new ruler, Kim Jong-Un, or Kim III, as Western media calls him. He was duly proclaimed the Party Chairman, the position previously held by his father Kim Jong-Il, and before him by his grandfather Kim Il-Sung.

The people were visibly excited to see the young Kim, and even passing by the tribunes they tried to linger and wave flowers and banners in his direction. Only rock stars get that much affection in the West. This is definitely a turning point: the hard bitter days are over, now things will improve.

The generation change is a tricky affair anywhere (the USSR failed it), but it seems that Kim III managed it successfully. He came to power after premature death of his father, a plump and soft-looking “Baby Kim”, with his Swiss schooling, an object of many South Korean jokes and scorn. But he has not been chosen and groomed and preferred over his two elder brothers by his father just for his kind appearance. The young Kim III pushed forward with modernisation of the country, with reshaping and rebuilding Pyongyang, with massive civil engineering projects, with improving the lot of his citizens – and with the nuclear program.

During first four years of his rule, North Korea became a full-fledged nuclear power, exploded an H-bomb last January, delivered a satellite to the orbit around the earth; living standards improved and mass housing program has been launched. Otherwise, Kim’s rule could be characterised by words “Continuity and Modernisation”.

Why the Party Congress has been assembled just now, what are the plans and ideas of Korean leadership, what can we expect from them? All the world was curious, so was I, and I eagerly (though with some trepidation) accepted their invitation. I have been exceedingly well received by these hospitable people, so I can dispel your fears: the North Koreans aren’t brainwashed zombies, but perfectly human, though they belong to a very distinct and different culture.

On a human level, they produce and drink very good beer. Whenever I had an occasion, I had a couple of beers with locals in a local pub, where all tried to offer me another mug of their perfect natural brew. The Koreans are cautious but not paranoid in their contacts with foreigners, and they are fond of beer.

There were a lot of bewildered journalists; they tried to gather what’s going on, afraid to miss a story but meeting a frustrating stonewalling. The N Koreans are indeed very secretive: to the last minute, we did not know when the Congress is about to finish, and what do they discuss. The BBC team has been deported from the country for reporting an upsetting gossip they probably invented or picked from the S Koreans.

By listening to some N Koreans and to diplomats stationed in Pyongyang, I learned that they expect that Kim will retire some of the old comrades and promote the younger lot, thus rejuvenating this unusual socialist state. Korea watchers noticed the possible rise of relatively young people who occupied lower rings of the hierarchy: Hwan Byon So, Tsoi Ren He, and the ideologist of the Party, Kim Gi Nam.

The theme of Continuity and Modernisation has been manifested even in Kim’s appearance: he appeared in a dark double-breasted jacket and an elegant light tie instead of Mao-style military wear usual for Korean officials. For the Koreans, this jacket was to remind of Kim I, his venerated grandfather, who first appeared in a very similar wear in the recently liberated Pyongyang. He was loth to appear in the Russian military uniform he donned previously, and preferred the civilian jacket.

This point has to be briefly elaborated. The Koreans are fiercely independent folk, ethnocentric to the extreme, nationalists for whom Korea is above all and the Koreans are a race apart. Actually, in this (and many other) aspect they are quite similar to the Japanese, their neighbours and former colonial masters for some forty years. But the Japanese went through seventy years of Americanization, westernization, liberalization and demilitarization after their defeat in 1945. The unreconstructed Koreans retained their national pride, so they are more similar to the Japanese of 1930s.

The Korean Communists came to power in the North thanks to the Red Army. After defeating the Japanese Army of Manchuria in August 1945, the Russians established a Communist government in Pyongyang, as was their wont in every capital they seized in the war. Their man was Kim Il Sung, at the time a Red Army mayor, and a native of Korea. But the Korean Communists did not remain in Moscow’s thrall for any length of time. By 1956, they became fully independent – and they re-wrote history to fit their ideas. In their version of history as taught in their schools and explained in their museums, they themselves liberated their country from the Japanese rule, while the Russians were of some valuable assistance.


(According to their version, they themselves defeated the Americans in the Korean war, while the Chinese and the Russians “had sent some volunteers”. This is annoying for the Russians and Chinese who bore the brunt of the war, but they understand the Korean feelings and bite the bullet without argument or complaint).

Kim I in his jacket had been a potent symbol of Korean independence and of their own and unique way to their own brand of socialism. Kim III is very similar to his grandfather by portrait likeness, and even more so by his voice. The jacket of Kim was supposed to emphasize this similarity and continuity, while the elegant tie has been a tribute to modernity.

He promised to deliver “guns AND butter” to his citizens, i. e. to improve their lot while keeping the defence stance. More importantly, Kim had used the Party Congress and the universal interest it generated to call for peace with the US and his neighbours Japan and South Korea.

He said Korea is a responsible nuclear power; the Koreans will abide by the treaty of non-proliferation (NPT) as a nuclear power, meaning it will not share its nuclear military technology with non-nuclear states, and it will not use its nuclear weapons unless attacked by nuclear weapons. This is a message of peace-seeking: other nuclear states, the US, Russia and Israel do not promise to avoid using nuclear weapons even in case of a conventional attack.

“Kim sends a message of peace,” a high ranking diplomat stationed in Pyongyang told me. “Alas, it was misunderstood or distorted by the news agencies. They quoted him out of context and provided misleading headlines, in order to demonise him.”

Kim called for nuclear disarmament, but a general one, not only for Korea. Indeed while signing the NPT, the nuclear powers undertook to strive for general nuclear disarmament and for creation of the world free of nuclear weapons. This undertaking remained a dead letter. The last Soviet president Mikhail Gorbachev made some steps in this direction, but the US used his idealism to increase the power gap between the two states.

Recently the US embarked on an ambitious program of total renewal of their nuclear facilities. Pentagon asked for the mindboggling sum of one trillion dollars for this program. At the same time, the US demands nuclear disarmament of N Korea referring to the same NPT they are in breach of. Since the NPT has been signed, some states became nuclear powers – Israel, India, Pakistan. What’s wrong with N Korea developing nuclear weapons? The Koreans speak of double standards and add: if other states will give up their nukes, so shall we.

A Russian diplomat in Pyongyang told me: perhaps we should accept the reality that DPRK became a nuclear power. It would not have happened if the US and South Korea did not threaten the North with war. Just a few months ago, the war in Korea seemed imminent, when the US and their S Korean allies, some four hundred thousand troops altogether, practiced the conquest of Pyongyang and elimination of the NK government. The N Koreans went ballistic, and I can’t blame them, – he said. – If we were now to land half a million soldiers in Cuba and begin to practice how to sack Washington and destroy the White House, the US fleet would come all over Cuba in a jiffy. But in Korea, the Americans just increased their involvement by bringing in a nuclear armed aircraft carrier. We definitely understand why N Korean leadership is worried.

This response is important because Russia and China supported the UN Security Council resolution imposing sanctions on N Korea. Now, apparently, the Russians have second thoughts. The relations between Russia and N Korea never were cordial: N Korea has been too independent for Moscow likes. Still, they were cool but friendly. The Russians supported the sanctions at China’s request. The Chinese supported the sanctions to ingratiate themselves with the US and with S Korea, an important business partner. There is an additional factor: possible unification of Korea.

At the Party Congress, the young leader of N Korea had called upon his S Korean counterpart: let us renew the old idea of uniting two halves of Korea, in one federated state. Germany and Vietnam had already united, we also can do it. The regime difference is not a hindrance: Communist China has reunited with capitalist Hong Kong under the slogan “one country – two regimes”.

The process of unification actually started in year 2000, when the S Korean president Kim Dae Jung visited Pyongyang and met with the N Korean leader Kim Jong Il. He had received that year’s Nobel Prize for Peace. They established a free trade zone, the trains crossed the DMZ border, visits and family reunification began. But the US, the occupying power of S Korea, hated the idea. The S Korean presidents supporting unification have been found dead or jailed. The present S Korean president is definitely against unification. In S Korea, one goes to jail for saying a good word about the North. It is considered “hostile communist propaganda”.

The Chinese do not mind this. Yes, in the Korean war they fought for the unification of Korea, but that was then. Now they do not need a strong and independent-minded neighbour, while united Korea with its Samsung, Daewoo, H-bomb and 80 million population will be definitely a very strong country. For Russia, this is not a consideration. Even an extra strong Korea is not a threat for them. They agreed with China and the US because they support the NPT. But perhaps this is the time to change some rules, they muse.

Feet on the Ground • 1,600 Words

DPR Korea is thoroughly demonised. It is supposed to be the poorest country (Wikipedia); hell on earth, its national airline “the world’s worst”, its cities shambles. The demonisers did a good service for N Korea as my expectations were so low that I immensely enjoyed every minute and every meal. Actually Air Koryo, the native airline, is not too bad and comparable to provincial airlines of its neighbours Russia and China.

Pyongyang airport is eerie if anything. It is big, modern, advanced, marble-floored, immaculately clean; our old reliable TU-154 looked like a rusty bus on its perfect tarmac. Its many immigration booths primed ready for an endless stream of arrival passengers let me in smoothly, faster than Heathrow, and the customs delayed me just for a moment. The customs officer asked me for the password to check my laptop, but she did not insist when I demurred. But this big international Terminal Two was empty of people; instead of a hundred, just two flights were showing on the tableau, a Beijing and a Vladivostok flight.


I stayed in one of the best hotels, 45-story high twin towers of Koryo Hotel. This place, normally catering to hundreds and hundreds of tourists, is practically empty. Just a few tiny groups, a couple of Dutch and a few Japanese friends of Korea came to breakfast.

N Korea is under sanctions, the heaviest sanctions ever applied by the UN SC against any state. Such sanctions would send any country reeling. They are construed to cause collapse, and are just marginally better than an all-out war. The sanctions are similar to the interdict the medieval popes applied to rebellious kings. Such an interdict had sent a stubborn emperor begging to Canossa.

Pyongyang the capital city is big and modern, even ultra-modern; seeing it from my 30th floor of a downtown hotel, I thought first of Atlanta, or even Brasilia. There are very few cars, mainly taxis. Private ownership of cars is not allowed. Ostensibly there are two million dwellers, but there are few people on the streets. Where are the people, I asked my gentle host. They are at work, it is working time, he says, somewhat taken aback at my astonishment. After the Party Congress was over, there were more people around: apparently, the citizenry preferred to stay home while the big bosses roamed the capital.

Over the last forty years, I’ve been to many Third-world states in their Socialist stage: to Burma and Tanzania, Angola and Vietnam, Laos and Cuba. If we are to compare them with neighbouring non-Socialist states, they were inexpensive, generous with public space, kids-friendly, scarce of consumer goods, poor of communications, overcharging foreigners, currency-fiddling, and rather shabby. I tended to consider this shabbiness an unavoidable feature of Third World socialism.

North Korea is not shabby, at least Pyongyang is not. The city is built on a large, even magnificent scale, with broad avenues, neat traffic policewomen in brash uniforms overseeing the roads and smartly saluting the passing cars, with imposing buildings and monuments that would shame those of Washington DC. The most impressive buildings were erected in the last few years. There are new apartment high-rise blocks in prime locations instead of old Soviet-style five-story tenements. Such apartments would cost over million dollars apiece in any major Western city; they weren’t sold but distributed for free, mainly to scientists and teachers. At least, so they say.

Last year, a fantastic and lavish Science and Study Centre had been build on spacious grounds. Perfect floor and walls, electronic gates, hundreds of computers, models and graphics explaining various sciences would make any city proud. Its purpose is to encourage kids to become scientists, pure and simple. Sure, incredible buildings were erected within last ten years in many parts of the globe, as the new-rich countries discover the joys of modern architecture as never before. Dubai, Baku, Moscow created new wonders. Pyongyang is on the similar level, on the cutting edge of new architecture.

There are no older buildings at all. It seems that the city has been designed and created anew like a Communist Brasilia. I always prefer old to new, but in this particular case, there is not much to regret. Pyongyang has been erased and hastily rebuilt a few times, most notably in the Korean war 1950-1953, when the US bombers did not leave a single building standing.

The American command “turned its fury on all standing structures that might shield the Chinese from the cold; cities and towns all over North Korea went up in flames <until> Pyongyang resembled Hiroshima”, says Encyclopaedia Britannica. The US dropped more ordnance on defenceless Korea than it did on Germany or Japan. We must keep in mind this most cruel war of the cruel Twentieth Century, for otherwise we can’t understand the Korean character and the recent moves of the Korean leadership.

They are not afraid of war, because they went through the terrible war. Once they seized an American vessel in their waters and jailed the sailors for spying. They disregarded the US threats of an all-out war. At the end, the US president LB Johnson apologised in writing (the only case in the US history they said they are sorry) and the sailors were released, some six months later.

There are a lot of children, many more than you’d expect, a lot of children on the streets, often unaccompanied by an adult. The kids appear clean and neatly dressed, many wear a school uniform or white shirts with red scout ties.

This is a socialist state, I remind myself; they are children-friendly, even children-centred, like “our” states are more attuned for retired folk. Their budget goes for kids, best buildings go for kindergartens and schools.

The Korean women carry their small kids on their backs, like the Japanese did, years ago. Now (and I visited Japan just before coming to N Korea) I haven’t seen even one mother bearing her child on her back in Japan in ten days, while in Korea they are plentiful. There were very few children to be seen in Japan, as opposed to this lot in Korea.

It is not that they have more children. Koreans I asked admitted to have one, rarely two kids. It’s just their kids play outside and walk streets while our kids play inside and under supervision. Our children are immersed in the virtual reality of computer games, their children walk the earth. They are rarely alone: usually, they are in a group. Less frequently, one notices even such small kids that would never be allowed to go unsupervised in our cities, bravely stride along big streets of the city.

As for other qualities, the Koreans are so generous with public space, that it would be considered wasteful and impossible elsewhere. There are many gardens, great vistas, green lawns, vast squares. I do not know another city on earth with such unhindered views as the view across Kim Il-Sung square. You can see for miles.


And now for their less pleasant features. Their communications are quite restricted. They have mobiles, practically everyone has, but a foreigner can’t make a telephone call to a native Korean’s telephone. There is no internet even in an expensive hotel. The Koreans can’t send and receive emails from abroad, can’t access any foreign sites at all, only their own Intranet. They can’t travel abroad, can’t marry foreigners. It is the HermitKingdom, after all.

The consumer goods are rather expensive, with a good average salary about $US400, a good bike or a big TV easily costs over fifteen hundred bucks. Clothes in the shop are drab, like in neighbouring Chinese towns.

The climate is harsh, the soil is poor. Pyongyang has frequent sand storms blowing from GobiDesert from Inner Mongolia. It is too cold or too hot. In short, N Korea is not paradise, and can’t be turned into paradise with any regime. S Korea has a better climate and better soils, but its regime is far from comfortable. I visited S Korea first time in the late seventies, when the state was run by the dictator Park Chung Hee. People would come to me on the street and beg for an invitation to any country abroad to leave their wretched place. There was no freedom, no democracy, no child care, just a dictatorship and the US occupation troops. This is the lot of Koreans, North or South.

If in defence, nuclear power, technology, housing N Korea has reached 21st century; aesthetically, it is in a class of its own. Their music and songs are a rehash of Soviet revolutionary and military songs. Their typical titles are “Follow the 7th regiment”, or “Mother’s Voice”. The Mother in the last hit is the Party, while the Leader is the loving Father and the People are their children. If a song is about love, it is love of People to the Leader.

But then, this is usual for an Oriental religious society: Jews say the Song of Songs is about love of God to Israel, Muslims say Omar Khayyam actually meant “Wisdom” when he wrote “Wine”.

The N Koreans are very kind but so restrictive that I hesitate to witness. There are many road blocks checking permits. On no occasion was I allowed to roam Pyongyang alone; I was not allowed to go to a restaurant of my choosing, or even to leave a concert where very loud martial music has been performed for hours. If they have a program in mind, they will do the program. Great people, but definitely no fun. Perhaps the natives have more choice than visitors, but my stay was an exercise in humility and submission, like a stay in a monastery. This religious connotation is intended, as we shall explain further on.

Love Your Leader • 1,600 Words

People call Kim III “The Marshal” and express towards him, as for his father and grandfather, the emotions usually reserved for a deity. This is shocking for us, but not unusual in Asia. Before 1945, the neighbouring Japanese, people of great culture and refinement, worshipped their Emperor as the Supreme Deity, and even now some of them continue to venerate him as a Shinto god. The Japanese ruled over Korea for 40 years, and during that time, they implanted some ideas, notably that of a Divine Ruler.

N Korea has little to do with Marxism, or with Socialism as the Westerners understand. It is a deeply religious society based of worship of the three Kims. If asked, the N Koreans say their rulers have been “sent by Heaven”. They ascribe every good thing in their life to their Heaven-sent rulers. They tell of miracles they performed. A modern-looking lady in Pyongyang has told me she saw an apparition of Kim II in the sky on the night of his demise. I saw people weep when death of Kim II is mentioned – and that some five years after the event.

For me, this worship has been a source of minor embarrassment, especially their custom to bow to the images or photos of the leaders. I wonder what Daniel would do? A tour of N Korea has more features of a religious pilgrimage than of sight-seeing. Every place I’ve been shown had a connection to the Kims, and this connection has been elaborated fully. I visited their memorials, burial place, birth place and accepted it solemnly as a duty paid for their hospitality. Likewise, visitors to my Israel are forced to visit the Holocaust Museum, and it is easier to acquiesce than to resist. Still, I had a problem every time I had to bow to these graven images. Perhaps it is my cultural handicap.

The Kim Tomb is vast and very impressive. Kim I and Kim II are buried in the huge former palace-residence of Kim I, almost Versailles by size and magnificence. It is open once a month; anyway you can’t go there (or anywhere else) by yourself. One is being led through numerous scanners until one meets a perfect waxwork likeness of the two rulers, larger than life-size. Such effigies or polychromatic waxwork is displayed in a few places in Pyongyang as modern idols. Mme Marie Tussaud may have a business in Pyongyang after all! Visitors are supposed to bow many times in many places.

Next to the sepulchres, there are halls containing memorabilia: medals, orders and degrees bestowed on the dead leaders. The only order that Kim Il Sung had been given for personal martial courage, the Soviet Order of the Fighting Red Banner, is missing as it does not befit a great ruler.

Still, he was definitely a great man of his country and his generation; he widely travelled and met all important revolutionary leaders. His son travelled less, and met fewer leaders, as at that time, N Korea had already withdrawn into a world of its own.

It is said that Kim II borrowed the idea from Russia with its Lenin Mausoleum on Red Square. Perhaps the idea, but the realisation is not even similar. The Korean Temple of Sun is 20, 30, no, 50 times bigger than the modest tomb in Moscow. It can compete with the equally huge Mao Memorial Hall in Beijing. Likewise, Kim Il-Sung square is many times bigger than medieval Red Square of Moscow. Again, size-wise, it is more comparable to Tiananmen Square in Beijing. The N Koreans competed with the Chinese, not with rather modest Russians.

This is true regarding their attitude to the leaders. The Russians were fond of old Uncle Joe Stalin, but they never deified or worshipped him. Stalin has not been made the main character of Soviet films. In the most popular and paradigmatic films of Stalin days, like The Cossacks of Kuban (you can watch it, still good and pleasant, if you can enjoy The Fifties) Stalin is never mentioned. There were practically no films with Stalin as a character, in Stalin’s days. There were no stamps, no books dedicated to Stalin, in his lifetime.

You can’t find a N Korean film without one of the Kims being presented. A Kim is on the stamps, in theatre productions, on every wall of every house. It is not Stalin’s Russia. It is much more massive presence, tripled as the title passed from father to son to grandson.

Kim I began pursuit of nuclear weapons. I’ve been told that he decided it had to be done after the Cuban missile crisis. He said, “The Soviet Union can’t be relied upon” and commanded to begin the work on the A-bomb, the work that bore fruit in the days of his son and was completed by his grandson.

In a deep underground sanctuary, presents given to the three Kims are preserved for posterity. There is a basketball given by Madeleine Albright, and a hunting gun presented by Mr Putin; presents from Jimmy Carter lay next to swords offered by Saudi sheikhs. It is very difficult to avoid visits to these places.

I visited a Buddhist monastery in the mountains. There were a few monks, they spoke only of Kim I’s visits. He came a few times, they said, and told his people to take good care of the place, but he did not even enter the prayer and meditation hall. Apparently, Kim has been more on their minds than the Buddha.

The Koreans I’ve met claimed they do not worship any god or Buddha. The churches stay empty. All the religious feeling has been directed towards three Kims. I really disliked it, until one occurrence.

I’ve visited a luxurious and vast Children’s Palace, a beautiful modern building with dozens of large halls, where children study dance, painting, calligraphy, chemistry, swimming, volleyball. Once a week they have a day of open doors, and a lot of people come to look at that, and to consider whether to bring their child to join one of the groups. The courses are free, and practically every child can join. Good, but here again, every hall has been adorned with an image of a Kim. Kim with a child, or with a group of children, as if he were a living god.

And now, just before crying out loud Down with Kim, I’ll share with you my doubts. Once, Moscow also had such Children’s Palaces. Many of them were connected with the Communist Party, many were named after Lenin, and my generation did not like it. We objected, and we won, almost. The names of Lenin, Stalin and that of the Communist Party went down.

And then, the Children’s Palaces, and kindergartens in wonderful old villas were privatised by Yeltsin’s cronies under Milton Friedman and his Chicago Boys supervision, and they became offices or residences. One of the nicest Children’s Palaces in Moscow has been privatised by an ex-KGB man, the oligarch Lebedev, who is now the owner of the British daily Independent (incidentally, a great enemy of Vladimir Putin).

This is the real choice for many countries: (a) your children can go to a Children’s Palace named after a Kim, or (b) your Children’s Palace is being taken over by the Lebedevs of this world, and you have to pay a fortune and spend hours to give your children the upbringing you had. This is not an easy choice. The robber barons who come after socialism has been dismantled will make you wax nostalgic for a Kim quite soon.

The Koreans are fortunate they adore their rulers. Alexander the Great, Napoleon, Stalin were adored by their people, so were the emperors of China and Japan. Perhaps it is not worse than living under a ruler one despises as was the lot of the Americans under George W Bush.

It is unfortunate that they have no contact with their South. This separation of two halves is the cause of many problems: the more populous South has all good agricultural lands, while the North is mainly mountains and industry. Together, they may found a good balance.


Bottom line

Not in vain, Korea has been called the Hermit Kingdom: it is a country that wants to be left alone. We are not into religious wars: let them worship whoever they want. If they are not proper Marxists, it is their own business. If their propaganda is crude, we are not exposed to it. If they like the aesthetics of the 1950s, they may have it. As for their human rights, they appear content and their level of life constantly improves.

I’ve been told by many Koreans that since the Korean war, the N Koreans have lived in constant fear they will be nuked by the US. For them, H-bomb is the only guarantee against a possible US attack. There is no danger they will interfere with their neighbours. End of sanctions would allow them to grew prosperous, and prosperity will help them to regain self-esteem.

A proverbial boy pulled his fish from the aquarium for it is wet there. Fish likes it wet. Koreans like to live in the atmosphere of religious ecstasy induced by Kim III. Let them have it the way they like it. Luckily, they do not force us to like it, too.

This article first appeared at The Unz Review

• Category: Foreign Policy • Tags: Kim Jong Un, North Korea 
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  1. Interesting reading.

    The US behavour certainly drives North Korean tantrums and nuke building. Probably if the US butted out some kind of understanding regarding reunification could be worked out, and northern behavour gradually liberalized.

    But for the moment they remain divided, and the North Korean regime is inhumane and repressive to the extreme. Their labour camps are truly hell on earth.

  2. Priss Factor [AKA "Dominique Francon Society"] says: • Website

    “The Chinese do not mind this. Yes, in the Korean war they fought for the unification of Korea, but that was then. Now they do not need a strong and independent-minded neighbour, while united Korea with its Samsung, Daewoo, H-bomb and 80 million population will be definitely a very strong country.”

    The Chiners are ambivalent but don’t mind a united Korea.
    It is the US that really opposes it.

    During the Cold War, Chiners saw S. Korea as total puppet of the US and depended on N. Korea as buffer. Back then, China wanted a NK to remain separate.
    But as Chinese and SK relations improved(in some ways, it is closer to SK than to NK), Chinese see the advantage of unification. A united Korea will mean no more need for US to remain there militarily. US will depart and then Korea will grow closer to China.
    China would most prefer NK absorbed into SK, then US moving out of Korea, and then Korea growing closer to China.

    The joint US-SK military drill wasn’t to seriously plan on invading Korea. War-weary US public wouldn’t support it. China and Russia will oppose it. After all the mess in the Middle East and North Africa, the world will see US as the aggressor. Also, SK fears missile strikes from NK that will cause much destruction in Seoul. (Some Neocons considered a war against NK during Bush II yrs. Had Iraq been a success, maybe NK might have been next.. after Iran. Jews hate NK because it has done business with enemies of Israel. Human rights have nothing to do with it.)
    The joint military drill was to increase tensions between South and North. It was to drive the North toward acting even more ‘extreme’. In a way, it is good for US that North as a nuclear program. US can use it as excuse to ramp up tensions and keep SK close to its side as whore-bitch.
    Also, US can invoke NK nukes to place ‘defensive’ missiles in SK that are REALLY MEANT FOR CHINA.
    Remember the whole US bullshi* about placing missile defense systems in Poland to defend EU from…. Iran? The missile defense system was really targeted at Russia.

    SK is a whore to the US. So, when NK acts ‘extreme’, US tells SK that it has to obey the US to have protection. And that means more joint-drills to drive NK more mad and more extreme. A frightened NK will make more angry noises, and then US will use that as pretext to place missile systems in SK in the name of defending SK from NK but are really meant to be used against China.

    It’s interesting that the ‘leftist’ US government has problems with Korean ‘leftists’ and prefers Korean ‘rightist’ who, far from being truly nationalist, are nothing but toadies of US empire. Indeed, the Korean Right cannot even black homo parades in SK because US demands them. Ever since SK has gone global and thinks itself ‘cool’ with K-pop junk, it’s turned into a land of pansies and pussies. Japan is going the same route. It’s funny that Japan is ruled by the ‘right-wing’ but this so-called nationalist regime cannot stand up to the homo-imperialist agenda of the US. What kind of right-wing nationalism is this? What kind of truly right-wing nationalist government takes orders from the US that is ruled by homo imperialists hellbent on spreading ‘gay’ garbage all over? Thank Todd Putin had the guts to say NO to that crap.
    So-called ‘right-wing’ regimes of SK and Japan are only ‘rightist’ in that they are militarist stooges of the US that uses them as whore-dogs against China and Russia.
    (Granted, China has acted foolishly and needlessly alienated the Jappers by constantly bringing up Nanking and that stuff that belongs to history.)

    As for the Korean War, of course NK historical narrative is BS. But Russia acted horribly. Stalin supplied tanks and encouraged Kim to attack, but when things went bad and US invaded NK, Russia did nothing because Stalin was scared and didn’t want confrontation with US. He asked Mao to carry the burden, and so many Chinese died. Russia provided some arms but not enough because it wanted to remain neutral, more or less. With US and UN joined in the war, Stalin was to loathe to admit his hand had been behind it.

  3. Walter Duranty lives!!!

    • Replies: @Priss Factor
  4. Two things:

    1) You’ll know it is over when McDonald’s opens an outlet in Pyonyang. You can bet Disney already has plans drawn up.
    2) Smartest thing the Norks did was to nuke-up in a hurry … Khadaffi and Saddam didn’t, and look where they are now.

  5. @Priss Factor

    Dear D.F.S., you wrote:

    China would most prefer NK absorbed into SK, then US moving out of Korea

    Note, that East Germany *was* absorbed by West Germany,
    but US is not moving out of Germany.

    • Replies: @boogerbently
  6. @Immigrant from former USSR

    Whenever the US annoys China, the NK’s misbehave.

  7. Priss Factor [AKA "Dominique Francon Society"] says: • Website

    “Note, that East Germany *was* absorbed by West Germany,
    but US is not moving out of Germany.”

    That’s true. US is also still in Japan even though Japan is united.

    There is the possibility, not the certainty.

    But China is feeling that NK is more trouble that it’s worth. As long as US can use NK as a threat, it will try to move more US military gear in South Korea, Japan, Taiwan, etc.

  8. Priss Factor [AKA "Dominique Francon Society"] says: • Website
    @Jus' Sayin'...

    No, Shamir isn’t saying NK is some kind of paradise.

    We all know it is a tyranny ruled by scuzzos.

    And it is time to end sanctions and deal with it like Cuba.

    Cold War is so over.

    If China and Russia can have peaceful relations with both SK and NK, then US can also.
    But US keeps finding excuses to antagonize NK.
    NK’s nuclear is totally rational given US actions in the Middle East and North Africa.
    I wish Assad in Syria had nukes. The GLOB wouldn’t have messed with him.

    Scuzzos rule NK but they seem to want to modernize and do business. US should just drop the tensions and let NK follow through in its own way.

    • Replies: @dahoit
  9. Seems the NOKs have seized a Russian yacht.

    Since this isn’t a Swedish yacht its obviously not yours, Adam Emash. Still…

  10. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    This is a very interesting essay. However, one important aspect was omitted viz. North Korea’s financial system. Does North Korea operate a state banking system which is free of debt and usury? Does the government have any outstanding loans, and more particularly any foreign loans?
    North Korea, as well as Cuba, are the only nations which are not members of the IMF. Would Mr. Shamir be kind enough as to comment?

    • Replies: @Israel Shamir
  11. Kiza says:

    Great essay Israel, loved it. Reminded me very much about my youth in a Communist country, an independent one just like North Korea. Notwithstanding the morons and trolls (or moronic trolls) who immediately pounced on this article, they must have been lying in wait for your article, it is hard not to enjoy this non-biased view of this country so totally demonized by Western propaganda. One important counter-propaganda insight I gained from your article is that North Korea is a mountainous country, whilst South Korea has most of fertile land of the peninsula. I could have gained such insight by looking at a topographic map, but how many people actually do this? And this lack of fertile land takes away the key Western propaganda drum-beat – the North Korean Famines. Now we know why they have nuclear weapons but not enough food (thank you, of thank you Western MSM for explaining this, just kidding!!!).

    Now, this motivates me to outline a general issue about propaganda – the difference between propaganda such as the Nth Korean and broader Communist propaganda and the Western Propaganda. North Korean and Communist propaganda is much more inward looking, about own non-existent achievements, defensive towards the West when critical of the West. Opposite to this, the Western propaganda is outward looking, aggressive, conquering, there is only one way = our way propaganda. I like to compare Western propaganda to the US comedies – we are supposed to laugh about somebody being stupid or being in pain from doing something stupid (even the Sesame Street has some flying character hit a lamp-post and children laughing during its opening credits). In other words, someone’s misfortune is the source of laughs in the West. Or someone’s misfortune (like famine) is a source of propaganda for the West.

    Personally, I could never live in North Korea because I could not stand these portraits, but I understand very well why North Korea cannot let its people exit into the shark tank of Western noble intentions and return – the tank of sharks would eat all of North Korea, including those who could stand the portraits and live naively and happily in the Hermit Kingdom. I have this image of a Buena Vista Social Club musician in front of a shop window with Marilyn Monroe statue. Have the people still living in Communism really lost much, or anything?

  12. Kiza says:

    One more thing.

    Even if the Western system is as good as the privileged individuals of this system promote it to be (BS of course), I would still vote for a variety of ideas, the ways of thinking and the ways of living. Globalization is a whirlpool which will suck humanity into a mono-idea dark age.

    But imagine that the World could be divided between those who wanted to live in Communism and those who wanted to live in the current kind of oligarchic, nepotistic Capitalism. And imagine that these two could not fight each other for the supremacy of their idea. And imagine that people could freely chose to move between the two: everybody gets a right to move once out and once back into the one where he/she was born. Just so that everyone knows what he/she may be missing, not to have to listen to others telling him/her.

    Would that not be swell? Do you honestly think that the Communist part would depopulate? Do you really think that there are no North Koreans who love their country the way it is now? For example, their children growing up in a perfectly safe, no-drugs environment (no crooked cops to be bribed by drug lords and no CIA needing off-books mullah for extra-curricular activities), receiving premium education at no cost?

  13. @Anonymous

    North Korea, as well as Cuba, are the only nations which are not members of the IMF. Would Mr. Shamir be kind enough as to comment?

    I am afraid I do not know enough to comment. They have two sorts of money, like in Cuba, convertible at 100 won per USD, and non-convertible at 8 000 won per USD. Probably there are more sorts of money as there are shops available for scientists only, and what not.
    I doubt they have debts – who would loan them money? Their foreign assets had been taken over or frozen long time ago.
    Surprisingly they have a lot of money, but I do not know where from.

  14. anon • Disclaimer says:

    For a people who are “ethnocentric to the extreme, fiercely patriotic and above all a race apart”, the Koreans sure seem to have no problem inviting themselves to western countries.

    In any case the time has long, long since come for America to withdraw all of its troops from South Korea.

  15. Warmongers love to state that no peace treaty was ever signed so we are still in a state of war with North Korea. They do not mention that the USA refuses to even talk about one. In recent years American Generals have wasted billions of American tax dollars building new bases and increasing our troop levels in Korea, now around 40,000, not the official 28,000 limit. Meanwhile, South Korea spends less of its GDP on national defense than the USA and is cutting the size of its army. I was surprised when Trump mentioned the billions of dollars we waste in this corrupt process, but our corporate media ignored him. I’ve written a few articles about this situation. Here is the newest:

    with these tidbits:

    As American forces leave Afghanistan, Army Generals want to justify their wartime budget by exaggerating the North Korean threat, ignoring that South Korea has twice the population, 50 times the economic power, and a modern military that is roughly five times stronger than the decrepit North Korean Army. In addition, South Korea has fortified and mined its mountainous border region along the DMZ (pictured) so no vehicles can pass.

    A North Korean offensive across the DMZ would result in a World War I style slaughter of North Korean infantry within a few miles of the border. The mobilized South Korean army is five times larger than the mob of uniformed rice farmers just north of the DMZ. South Korea would easily win any war with the North, which teeters on economic collapse during peacetime. Not a single American soldier is needed to defend South Korea.


    Most South Koreans do not view Americans as saviors from communism. They have no memory of the Korean war and want peace. A key step is the closure of American bases because North Korea has long maintained that the withdrawal of all foreign forces from the Korean peninsula is a prerequisite for peace. There are no Chinese or Russian forces in North Korea, even though South Korea is far stronger. South Korean political leaders deal with a growing number of nationalists and pacifists who want the American military to leave, and traditional supporters of a long standing alliance. Many South Koreans support American bases only because they benefit from the billions of dollars in annual American military spending, which generates tens of thousands of jobs.

    • Replies: @dahoit
  16. highrpm says:

    the benefits of a nation spending on its populace rather than forever wars?

  17. anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    US media always cry crocodile tears over the plight of the people in the DPRK. So then lobby for a peace treaty to be signed, lift sanctions and begin free trade. They won’t do that because it’s all insincere. The intent is to keep them poor and then point to them as an example of how bad communism is. The US stages provocative war games on their border and then when their leader makes some blustery statements in response it’s reported as him threatening us, rather than the other way around, totally out of context. Of course the Americans eat up the propaganda as they always do with many actually thinking they’re going to come and get us, forgetting that we’re over there rather than them being over here. US bombs totally flattened their country a little over sixty years ago so it’s a wonder that they were able to reconstitute themselves at all in the way they’ve done. Apparently they’re a very tough people who value their independence. It would be nice if the US would refrain from always provoking and trifling with them.

  18. dahoit says:
    @Priss Factor

    I read a fact filled article which described reality in N Korea.
    The latter part described many many unattractive attributes of N Korean command and control, failure to provide much material goods,and weird political hero dynasty worship.
    I have no idea of scuzzos?,as the govt. is isolated to the extreme,and do seem capable of engineering feats and building dwellings for its people,and doesn’t the absolute hostility of the West create this paranoia and suppression?
    I do know that what the Koreans want is no business of US,and the recent statements(all unseen in our MSM)from Kim are very good,and as the authors says,statements we won’t make.
    Why can’t we be friends?Where does this international hostility(actually it all seems USZionGB inspired) directed worldwide come from?
    I don’t get it.Whats the f*cking point of it all?
    Is the MIC that powerful?Can’t they make more dough through peaceful trade,and bearing the endgame costs of this shite is astronomical for our future.Penis transplants for wounded(IED)veterans?
    Goddamn wacko Ziomonsters.

  19. dahoit says:
    @Carlton Meyer

    The only things the MSM Trumpet are the Howard Stern,fascist racist angle,and demeaning women crap instead of his many sober and correct policy statements.

  20. Talha says:

    Dear dahoit,

    I agree with your sentiments. It would be great if you posted a link to that article you mentioned about the realities of NK; as you know, it is very difficult to get unbiased info on certain topics..


  21. Rehmat says:

    I have never been fond of the Communism cult that has a history of persecuting both Christians and Muslims while protecting their Jewish communities – whether it’s in Soviet Russia, China, Cuba, Crimea, East Germany, Romania, Albania, and Ukraine.

    However, N. Korea has been exception that rule. It has aligned itself with Iran and Pakistan against Israel. That’s reason enough for the Organized Jewry-control Western powers to hate N. Korean leaders.

    Zionist rabbis have been working to establish world’s third autonomous Jewish state in India after Russia and Ukraine.

    Christopher Jon Bjerknes in an article had claimed that Jewish elites collaborated with the British colonists during India’s War of Independence (British call it a “Mutiny”) in 1857 – which resulted in death of millions of Hindus and especially the ruling Muslims which ushered the end of the Mughal dynasty (1526-1857) and 1,000 year of Muslim rule in India.

    On August 19, 2009 – American writer John Kaminski co-authored with India’s journalist Arun Shrivastva an article, titled “Second Israeli state emerging in India”, in which they wrote:

    “Activities presaging the creation of a second Israeli state are well-known in India, but not elsewhere. Most everyone remembers how the first Israel popped onto the world scene in 1948 and has continued mass murdering its neighbors and hapless nations that fall under its sway ever since.”

    • Replies: @Israel Shamir
  22. utu says:
    @Priss Factor

    “Had Iraq been a success” – What are you talking about? It was never intended to be a success. Everything was done so it was not a less than a total failure.

  23. JustJeff says:
    @Priss Factor

    “A united Korea will mean no more need for US to remain there militarily. US will depart”

    Ha good one! Like we’re not still occupying Japan and Germany 70 years after the war ended.

    • Replies: @Priss Factor
  24. syonredux says:

    Some useful statistics:

    Death-toll of the North Korean regime:

    North Korea (1948 et seq.): 3,000,000
    Communist regime:
    Rummel estimates that the Communist regime of North Korea committed 1,663,000 democides between 1948 and 1987
    North Korean victims: 1,293,000
    South Korean victims: 363,000

    Courtois, Stephane, Le Livre Noir du Communism: 2,000,000 (p.4)
    In Party purges: 100,000 (p.564)
    In concentration camps: 1.5M

    Omestad, “Gulag Nation” 23 June 2003 US News & WR: 400,000 died in gulags in past 3 decades.

    The Center for the Advancement of North Korean Human Rights estimates that some 400,000 prisoners have died in labor camps since 1972. (
    Famine, 1995-98

    13 March 1999, Agence France Presse, “Top defector says famine has killed over three million Koreans”: 3,500,000 deaths as of 12/98

    19 Oct. 2000 Guardian: 3M

    Branigan, “North Korea life expectancy falls, census reveals”, 22 February 2010, Guardian: 600,000 to 1 million
    MSF: 3.5M (
    19 Oct. 2003 NY Times: 2M died in preventable famine.

    Associated Press, “North Korea admits its famine has killed hundreds of thousands,” May 10, 1999:

    The North Korean govt. estimates 220,000 famine-related deaths, 1995-98

    US Congressional delegation: 2M

    South Korean intelligence estimates that the population of North Korea fell from 25M to 22M.

  25. syonredux says:

    We must keep in mind this most cruel war of the cruel Twentieth Century,

    ‘Most cruel’? Dunno. Was the Korean War crueler than Nazi Germany’s war against the USSR (’41-’45)? That one saw the Nazis starving 3 million + Soviet POWs to death…..then there were the approx 300,000 people in Belarus who were killed by the Nazis in ‘reprisal operations’…..not to mention the 670,000 + civilians who died in the siege of Leningrad…..

    And, near at hand to Korea, there was the Sino-Japanese war (1937-’45)….that one saw such charming incidents as the Rape of Nanking and the biological ‘experiments’ of Unit 731

  26. @Kiza

    Gawd, but I hate communists.

    • Replies: @Israel Shamir
    , @Kiza
  27. A puff piece on NK and their chubby tyrant god-man? Sheesh, how sick is that? Why is there a communist author at Unz? I realize that Unz bills itself as “interesting,” but serving as a propaganda arm for a deplorable state like NK is maybe a bit too “interesting.”

    Mr. Shamir is a useful idiot, and I am really at a loss for how naive some people can be. Guess what, Mr. Shamir: You saw exactly what NK wanted you to see. I could take you on a tour of Disneyland in Anaheim, but it’d sure be silly for you to think it’s representative of California.

    Unz is more Alt-left than Alt-right, and anti-American to its godless core.

  28. @anon

    We should’ve left those ungrateful SK bastards to their fate a long time ago.

  29. @dahoit

    The sorry NK’s are dependent on the U.S. for their technology. They try to hide that fact, but they have been repeatedly found out in this regard. As long as NK insists on rattling its GD saber, the U.S. has every reason help them understand that if they so much as twitch, we will have no problem making their GD useless county uninhabitable for the next 1000 years.

  30. @Talha

    NK is an absolute mess of starvation, paranoia, delusion, man-worship, oppression, and disfunction, and despite all of the posing on this thread, there is not a single person here who would want to live there.

    • Replies: @Israel Shamir
  31. 5371 says:

    All you need is a column of numbers to reproduce, you’re as particular about how they get there as a gay in a bathhouse is about his sex partners.

    • Replies: @syonredux
  32. syonredux says:

    All you need is a column of numbers to reproduce, you’re as particular about how they get there as a gay in a bathhouse is about his sex partners.

    Dunno, dear boy. Those are, after all, a bunch of different numbers from various sources. Now, if you have any other estimates to offer, feel free to contribute….

  33. syonredux says:


    We must keep in mind this most cruel war of the cruel Twentieth Century, for otherwise we can’t understand the Korean character and the recent moves of the Korean leadership.

    Rather interesting to note how Shamir has tactfully avoided mentioning that Uncle Joe Stalin gave Kim Il-sung the greenlight to invade the South…..

    The WIKIPEDIA article on the Korean War does a fairly decent job of outlining Stalin’s important role:

    • Replies: @Israel Shamir
  34. @Rehmat

    Bjorknes and Kaminski are not 100 p c sane. These ideas of a new Jewish state in India, Patagonia and Ukraine are sheer fantasy

  35. @syonredux

    For Kim Il Sung, he did not invade but tried to liberate occupied South. Stalin could not stop him at all, like he could not stop the Vietnamese or Chinese. As for Wikipedia, it is not a reliable source, being fully owned by establishment Jews.

    • Replies: @syonredux
  36. @Unapologetic White Man

    If you want you can’t anyway ))) They do not let anybody but full blooded Koreans.

  37. @syonredux

    If you believe Rummel and the Black book of Communism, I have a nice bridge to sell…

    • Replies: @syonredux
  38. Kiza says:
    @Unapologetic White Man

    My point was not to love communists, then to live and let live. Besides, I find it not a clear case which system is worse, the lazy Communism or the oligarchic Capitalism. Finally, my point was to have a variety of ideas in the World, not the dominance of one (End-of-History).

    But your attitude absolutely sucks and you have no idea what you are typing about (now that is the definition of a useful idiot). No further discussion.

  39. utu says:

    The numbers you are citing come from the same folks who came up with the 6,000,000 number circa 20 years before the WW II.

    • Replies: @syonredux
  40. syonredux says:
    @Israel Shamir

    For Kim Il Sung, he did not invade but tried to liberate occupied South.

    Potato, potahto, dear fellow.After all, don’t invaders frequently claim to be in the “liberation” business? And, even if you go with the “liberation” angle, that still means that Comrade Kim bears the aggressor’s responsibility.

    Stalin could not stop him at all, like he could not stop the Vietnamese or Chinese.

    Dunno. Most of the stuff that I have read indicates that Uncle Joe had a much stronger hand vis-a-vis 1950 North Korea than he had with Mao….

    As for Wikipedia, it is not a reliable source, being fully owned by establishment Jews.

    MMMM, does that mean that” non-establishment” Jews are kosher? As for the reliability of WIKIPEDIA, I always assume a certain level of PC bias.

    • Replies: @Israel Shamir
  41. syonredux says:

    The numbers you are citing come from the same folks who came up with the 6,000,000 number circa 20 years before the WW II.

    Seeing as how Stéphane Courtois was born in 1947, and RJ Rummel was born in 1932, that would be a rather cute trick…..

    As for the reliability of the estimates on the North Korean death-toll, sure, there is a great deal of uncertainty. We are, after all, essentially in the same position that scholars of the Stalin period were in prior to the fall of the USSR. Lacking archival access, we can only make estimates and educated guesses.

  42. syonredux says:
    @Israel Shamir

    If you believe Rummel and the Black book of Communism, I have a nice bridge to sell…

    Dear fellow, I don’t have absolute confidence about anything when it comes to the internal doings of North Korea. As I stated in another response, we just don’t have the archival material.

    Now, since you disagree with Rummel and Courtois’ estimates, do you have any figures of your own to offer?

    • Replies: @Israel Shamir
  43. @Israel Shamir

    My health is fine.

    Communism has been bad for the health of hundreds of millions of people and counting.

    • Replies: @Israel Shamir
  44. @Kiza

    Every time I say something on the internet that someone doesn’t like, I always learn from them that “I have no idea what I am typing about.”

  45. @Israel Shamir

    [Still too many individual short comments. Restrict the number.]

    Tell that to Alejandro Cao de Benós, or to the handful of American soldiers who defected to NK by abandoning their post and walking north until NK’s picked them up and made them propagandistic set pieces.

  46. syonredux says:

    Seeing as how Shamir opened up his Duranty-esque article with a photo of North Korean children, here’s an interesting piece on the North vs South height disparity:

    So what’s the truth? Professor Daniel Schwekendiek from Sungkyunkwan University in Seoul has studied the heights of North Korean refugees measured when they crossed the border into South Korea.

    He says North Korean men are, on average, between 3 – 8cm (1.2 – 3.1in) shorter than their South Korean counterparts.

    A difference is also obvious between North and South Korean children.
    “The height gap is approximately 4cm (1.6in) among pre-school boys and 3cm (1.2in) among pre-school girls, and again the South Koreans would be taller.”

    It seems that this height statistic reveals a tragic fact – that as South Koreans have got richer and taller, North Korean children are being stunted by malnourishment.

  47. Priss Factor [AKA "Anonymny"] says:

    “Ha good one! Like we’re not still occupying Japan and Germany 70 years after the war ended.”

    Officially, Japan and Germany were defeated nations and both renounced war forever. And they lost all self-confidence. This is esp true of Germans. Germans fear themselves more than anything. They need US military to protect themselves from becoming Nazis again. That’s how Germans think.

    And Japan was forced to renounce war forever. Anti-militarism is the religion of post-war Japan, and that means US should have military power over Japan forever. (Japanese ‘right’ goes along with this since it developed as collaborationist regime under US occupation.)

    This is not the case with Korea. US put its military there to protect south from the north.
    If the Koreas were to unite, there would be no compelling reason for US to linger there.
    And that is what China is banking on.

    Of course, Korea and US can cook up some excuse to keep US troop there, but then, Korea will have a difficult time justifying this to China, a nation that will increasingly be crucial for Korea in the long run. If Korea continues to keep US troops in Korea even after unification, it could only mean against China. And China won’t like that.
    And Koreans will have a hard time explaining to China just why they need US troops there.

    If China were weak and if US were strong, this wouldn’t matter. But if China keeps growing stronger but Korea plays puppet of US forever, it will make things difficult for Korea.

    But anyway, if unification happens, US may or may not stay.

    But if Korea remains divided, US will stay for sure.

    Better to go with certainty than possibility.

    Also, unification means SK will have to expend much energy on emphasizing national identity and unity to bring two koreas together. Since the two Koreas have been so different in politics and economics, race and culture will have to be emphasized.
    This will undermine the globalist agenda that US has pushed on SK. SK’s have been led to see Korean homogeneity as ‘racist’, to see diversity as the highest virtue, to worship homosexual parades, to dream of transracial by plastic surgery and race-mixing. 80% of SK’s are now for race-mixing and diversity.

    SK is now a total whore of US, a commonwealth. Unification might stir up nationalist feelings in SK. US doesn’t want that.

    SK is like Taiwan and Japan. They are all hapless puppet-whores of US globalism. But then, most American people are hapless sheeple of globalist empire that knows no national boundaries. It’s like what John Kerry said. Borderless world. Globalist elites feel no special affinity for any people, not even their own. They take on ‘rootless’ Jewish sensibility of gaming and playing the entire world for their own benefit while lulling people with meaningless slogans about ‘equality’, ‘unity’, and ‘diversity’ when, in fact, ‘equality’ is the very opposite of ‘diversity’ which also undermines true unity.

  48. @syonredux

    I’d suggest you google Critique of Black book on Communism, and you will soon discover it has been debunked by many people including two of its co-authors.

    • Replies: @syonredux
  49. @Unapologetic White Man

    Your buddies in the KKK have told you so?

  50. @syonredux

    After all, don’t invaders frequently claim to be in the “liberation” business?

    Yes, like de Gaulle invaded Vichy France

    • Replies: @syonredux
  51. @Kiza

    Well, dear Kiza, Communism you and I experienced had been much softer than the N Korean model. I wish them every success, which is not an easy task bearing the sanctions and the blockade in mind. Still, we had it much better, I think. For one, we had sex, and a lot of it, while in N Korea promiscuity is discouraged. We could move freely in our land, the Koreans need a permit. We had a lot of shops and restaurants – sorry, the Koreans also have it now))

    • Replies: @Kiza
  52. syonredux says:
    @Israel Shamir

    After all, don’t invaders frequently claim to be in the “liberation” business?

    Yes, like de Gaulle invaded Vichy France

    MMMM, wasn’t de Gaulle acting in concert with the Anglo powers (you know, the people who actually mounted the invasion of France), dear fellow?And aren’t you normally oh-so-suspicious of anything that smacks of the perfidious Anglos? You could at least try and be reasonably consistent….

    Incidentally, given your great interest in the children of North Korea, did you glean any insights into the Kotjebi while you were there?

    Some people brave harassment and shooting to cross the border into China to earn hard currency (many North Koreans, especially black-market traders, cross and recross into China). Some children in the North live ferally: they are known as kotjebi, or “fluttering swallows”, and roam in packs. When they cannot steal in the markets, they eat dead dogs and rotten food (reportedly chewing toothpaste in the belief that it prevents food poisoning). Many people, particularly women, live dangerously off the black markets, which have flourished again after an unsuccessful attempt to crack down on trade in hard currency. Most endure hunger at least some of the time.

  53. syonredux says:
    @Israel Shamir

    I’d suggest you google Critique of Black book on Communism, and you will soon discover it has been debunked by many people including two of its co-authors.

    Dunno. Most of the criticism that I’ve read has had to do with the book’s polemical introduction.

    Can you cite some specific criticisms of Pierre Rigoulot’s chapter on North Korea (547-564)? That is, after all, the issue that we are discussing….

    Again, I would be very interested to hear some estimates from you on the number of people who have died due to government policy in North Korea.

    • Replies: @Priss Factor
  54. Priss Factor [AKA "Anonymny"] says:

    North Korea is a hellhole run by scumbags.

    No controversy about that.

    But things have changed somewhat in the last 10 yrs and more can change.

    But US keeps finding bogus excuses to impose sanctions.

    Also, NK’s nuke program makes total sense given US foreign policy that is insane and murderous. Look at Middle East and North Africa and Ukraine.

  55. Priss Factor [AKA "Anonymny"] says:

    Black Book of Communism offers some good stuff, but some of the estimates are exaggerated.

    No way communism killed close to 100 million in the 20th century.

    I would say the number is closer to 50 million, with bulk of deaths happening in Mao’s China in the Great Leap.

    Cambodia lost 2 million but of population of 7 million, that was monstrous.

    Anyway, communism sucks, but puppet-democracies are proving to be useless too.

    What we need are fascist-democracies like Israel.

  56. Would much prefer some lebedev owning some palace to being forced to bow down before an idol. This is what Daniel actually did.
    Solution for koreas is give kim amnesty and let south absorb north as happened in Germany. But north is sealed off so have to wait for a Gorbachev type kim iv or v.

  57. Kiza says:
    @Israel Shamir

    If they have a lot of shops and restaurants now, maybe they will also have lots of sex soon (fingers crossed). It is disappointing to read that promiscuity is discouraged in North Korea. Although there is nothing wrong with promoting family values, there should be nothing wrong with having a bit of experience before creating a family. Maybe the official discouragement creates the pressure cooker effect? My personal experience with South Korean women was bad and terrible, incomparable with the Japanese women. But, admittedly, my Korean sample was of only two, as I wrote: one bad and one terrible. On the serious side, are there absolutely any ethnic differences between the North and the South, are the differences any similar to those between North and South Vietnam?

    • Replies: @Israel Shamir
  58. When you let your opposition to US foreign policy lead you to apologetics for North Korea then you have gone very badly wrong. Shame.

  59. tbraton says:

    OT: the long awaited attack by the Syrian Army against the ISIS-controlled Deir ez-Zor has begun and apparently the Syrian forces have killed more than 200 ISIS fighters, according to the Independent of Great Britain.

    “The Syrian army claims to have killed more than 200 Isis militants in a three-day assault on the eastern city of Deir ez-Zor.

    A spokesperson for the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) said Isis is thought to have suffered the heavy casualties as it struggled to maintain control over the western district of the provincial capital. ”

    This announcement comes approximately 7 weeks after the capture of Palmyra on March 27.

  60. @Kiza

    are there absolutely any ethnic differences between the North and the South

    I really wouldn’t know – they appear different, but it could be result of different life. Japanese Koreans are different, though they are children of N or S Koreans ))

    • Replies: @Avery
  61. Avery says:
    @Israel Shamir

    {any ethnic differences between the North and the South}

    How would that even be possible ?
    North and South political separation is only since 1948.
    Both SK and NK are nearly 100% ethnic Korean (…save for a few thousand ethnic Chinese and Japanese).

    Before the separation in 1948, Japaneses ruled all of Korea since 1910.
    Before that it was the Korean Empire (all of it.)
    Before that Koreans go back maybe 2,000-3,000 years. Maybe more.

    I am no geneticist, but I can’t see how Koreans, of all people, can be genetically different between North and South.

  62. Immigrant from former USSR [AKA "Florida Resident"] says:

    Hello, Mr. Avrey.
    How Southern Italians can be genetically different from Northern Italians ?
    They are different, moderately.

  63. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    @Israel Shamir: “There were no stamps…. dedicated to Stalin, in his lifetime.”

    I’m not sure what you mean by “dedicated to” Stalin, but his face sure appeared on USSR stamps in his lifetime:

    1951 40k blue (Scott no.1596)
    1951 1 r brown (Scott no.1597)
    1952 1r brown-red (Scott no.1644)
    1953 40k Stalin Peace medal (Scott no.1662)
    1953 60k Lenin and Stalin (Scott no.1677)

    In addition there was a set to commemorate Stalin’s Constitution (1952). The conquered and enslaved countries of eastern Europe also issued their share; to take just one example, that of Hungary:

    1947 1 + 1Ft Stalin (MPIK 1044)
    1949/50 60f, 1Ft and 2Ft Stalin 70th Birthday (MPIK 1122-1124)
    1951 1Ft Lenin and Stalin (MPIK 1269)
    1952 60f Stalin and 1 Ft Marx, Engels, Lenin and Stalin (MPIK 1337-8).

    • Replies: @Israel Shamir
  64. @Anonymous

    I stand corrected: none of my Russian readers knew of these stamps, anyway nobody yet mentioned it. Perhaps these stamps were less frequent and used mainly by philatelists? I am not an expert!

  65. Eee says:


    Concerning the reliability of Wikipedia, it’s a little more complicated than that. Wikipedia really does have a very wide variety of editors with different viewpoints. It is not a straightforward case of “Zionists censoring the truth-tellers” or what have you.

    However, its editing guidelines (which were decided “by consensus” long ago and would be very difficult to overturn now) state that only “reliable sources” may be cited for article content, that “neutral point of view” must be maintained, and that “fringe views” may not be given undue weight.

    By and large,
    “reliable sources”=Western mainstream media (never mind that it has been extremely unreliable on many issues…). Several discussions on whether RT could be considered a reliable source, for example, ended in “no consensus”. There is no exact metric to judge how “reliable” any news source is, of course, so any “alternative” media has no way to prove that it should be allowed to be cited…

    “fringe views”=any views not given much coverage in “reliable sources” (see above), EVEN IF they’re mainstream within a particular country. That is why the Wikipedia articles about the Ukrainian conflict, for example are written from Kiev’s perspective – the “reliable sources” all support Kiev, almost all the time.

    Even though journalists from Russia and Donbass presented rather different stories, those sources were not considered “reliable” by Wikipedia, and could not be cited, no matter how convincing they were. So the views that were mainstream on the OTHER (Russian) side of the war were considered fringe opinions, which deserve no mention.

    Basically, Wikipedia’s articles (particularly about political topics) are equivalent to reading the Western mainstream media. Garbage in, garbage out…

    Anybody who tries to add some different viewpoint from an “unreliable source” to a Wikipedia article (and people constantly attempt to do this) is usually quickly reverted, and often not by some elite editor but by a regular contributor who feels they’re just upholding the guidelines.

    With non-political articles, the situation isn’t as bad, mostly because they’re more likely to be read by specialists and less likely to be policed.

  66. Eee says:

    To change Wikipedia, you’d either have to fix the biases of the Western mainstream media (ha!), or mobilize enough editors to change or subvert some of Wikipedia’s earliest editing guidelines (good luck!).

    Another approach might be to create a non-profit organization that would rank news media or individual journalists by how “accurate” they are, thereby providing a metric that would help the arguments of those who would ask Wikipedia to accept non-Western or alternative media as “reliable sources”. Sort of like “restaurant star ratings”, but for journalists. Such a project would obviously be a huge, expensive undertaking, but might provide significant scope for influence for any government that chooses to fund it (the process would have to transparent to be credible, but whoever funds the organization could still choose WHO has first priority to be ranked, which would be a subtle but powerful tool of influence).

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