Monday, February 14, 2005

Also a mighty superpower

BR Myers writes in the New York Times:
In the West, attention is almost exclusively focused on the official pronouncements released by Pyongyang's Central News Agency - statements that, for all their strange rhetoric, strive to present North Korea as a misunderstood country eager for more normal relations with Washington. Last week's announcement that North Korea has nuclear weapons, for example, said that while the country had "manufactured nukes for self-defense," it still sought only "peaceful coexistence" with the United States.

But the propaganda dinned every day into the North Korean people is of a different order. School textbooks, wall posters, literary works: all celebrate a cynical "attack diplomacy" that makes a frightened and uncertain world dance to the drum of Kim Jong Il. Again and again, comic effect is derived from stories of stammering American and international officials trying to placate the relentless "warriors" of the Foreign Ministry. Washington's refusal to follow through on veiled threats of military action is mocked as a failure of nerve.

The novel "Barrel of a Gun," for example, released in 2003, is an official "historical" work about how Mr. Kim's iron resolve forced the Clinton administration to its knees in 1998. "Excellency," the American negotiator says at the end of the book, groveling shamelessly before his North Korean counterpart, "you are also a mighty superpower."

Read the full thing. The Iraq conflict is getting resolved now, and North Korea will be more in the news during George W Bush's second term. Watch that space.

(Link courtesy Chandrahas.)

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