Friday, July 02, 2004

The Fish Rots from the Head

Reading this extremely insightful post from The Marmot's Hole, it's no wonder that Korea's youth seem to be confused about just who the enemy really is. Kim Dae-Jung, the ex-president of Korea, appears to be an extremely deluded individual; take the following FT article quotation, for instance.

The contrasting attitudes of Kim and Bush toward North Korea are crystallized in their differing perceptions of Kim Jong-il. Bush has been quoted as saying he "loathes" the dictator. Kim Dae-jung, on the other hand, found him "a clever, candid person. well-informed about South Korea and world issues".

Kim portrays Kim Jong-il as a dogged reformer, patiently working to free North Korea from its Cold War time warp. In this analysis, the nuclear arms programme is simply a bargaining chip designed to guarantee North Korea's security and force the best possible settlement with the US. Kim points to reform of North Korea's command economy over the past two years as evidence of change; only resistance from hardline colleagues prevents Kim Jong-il moving faster.

"North Korea under Kim Jong-il is showing some similarities to the early stages of Deng Xiaoping in China," he says. "Deng had concerns that while carrying out reforms the regime can shake and it can be opposed by conservative people in government."
It's scary to think that such a delusional individual should have been in charge of the fate of 45 million people for all of 5 years: not even Neville Chamberlain held as many delusions about his adversary as Kim Dae-Jung still appears to have about Kim Jong-Il. In fact, I don't think he even sees Kim Jong-Il as an adversary to begin with.