Sunday, March 4, 2012

Useful ideologues

Christine Ahn, Pyongyang's man at the Huffington Post, has penned another piece on the Korean Peninsula. This one talks about the prospect of a "Korean spring," which is also its title.

Now, one might think that's it's all about the prospect of North Koreans throwing off their yokes and taking down the government (something I surmised is much more possible ever since the botched currency reform of two years ago). But she dismisses that right away, owing to the regime's survivability through transfers of power and difficult global and local conditions.

No, this "Korean spring" is primarily about the south. And she talks up opposition to the base on Cheju-do (which someone else at the HuffPo called "imperialism") as a sign of that impending Korean spring.

Owing to a work assignment, I didn't have time for an eloquent fisking, so I left a note that hinted at a general "Christine Ahn is a Pyongyang plant on the take" kind of comment:
Christine Ahn seems to have missed the southern half's "Korean spring." It was 1987.

Ms Ahn's either incredibly naïve about the Pyongyang regime or she's carrying water for them. I'm not sure which is worse from someone trying influence HuffPost readers' opinionsabout a geopolitically important region they may not be so familiar with.

It'd take hours to school Ms Ahn on why she's wrong, but at least I'll say that what happens in South Korea doesn't so much affect North Korea as much as it provides a pretext: North Korea needs a constant adversary as its raison d'être, and if it didn't have it with the South, the US, or Japan, it would invent it. In fact, it often does.

I'm all for waiting to see where North Korea will go with Kim Jong-un at the helm, but let's not pretend it's already arrived at a happy place, or even that it's well on the way. The same regime that kills its own people in untold numbers so that the elite can maintain power is not likely to change overnight.

In the meantime, South Korea must stay strong. It needs a strong military deterrent, which is the purpose of the Cheju-do base. Yeah, it sucks that we have to keep standing militaries, but the alternative when one can't defend their own borders is far worse. We've seen that in 1950-53, when Ms Ahn's poor, misunderstood North Koreans started a war whose casualties were in the millions.
Yes, you've heard me say this before. But that's because you've heard Christine say that before.

Really, the HuffPo needs some new Korea experts.


1 comment:

  1. Almost everybody needs new Korean "experts" (except the Washington Post).

    American "understanding" of things Korean is exceedingly pathetic.


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