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Old 03-08-2013, 06:10 AM
 
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Maybe Obama sent Rodman with a request to turn up the rhetoric to distract people from his dismal lack of leadership.
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Old 03-08-2013, 01:24 PM
 
Location: In the heights
20,149 posts, read 21,752,589 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jtur88 View Post
I don't defend North Korea. I point out the contradictions and inconsistencies and outright lies in Suncloud's blogs. I ridicule Sunclouds constant efforts to drum up hatred and antipathy against a country that is no threat to us and has never posed a credible threat to any other country. To say that is not a "defense" of North Korea, except to the extent that they have a right to be left alone to evolve as their nation will and as every nation has a right to.




The usually quoted figures are 200,000 in labor camps, which, per capita, is about the same as the number of incarcerated Americans. In both countries, these are all people who knowingly violated the law and got caught, not random Koreans being rounded up in the streets and sent to labor camps. I have not heard anything about torture, except in blogs, and never backed up with any specific incidents, and it was the Americans during the Bush administration that validated torture up to the point of organ failure, so NK is not breaking any new ground there, assuming there is any torture, which remains to be demonstrated.
They have posed a credible threat to South Korea in the sense that they have killed South Korean citizens including civilians. It's also for some pretty random reasons kidnapped Japanese civilians. Also, saber-rattling at South Korea is literally threatening them and does actually do harm in some sense. I think suncloud is an odd duck given his singular pursuit of North Korea, but I don't completely see the proof or logic in your response to him.

Also, the 200K figure for labor camps is not nearly the same thing as the incarceration for crimes in the US--and not that the US's incarceration rates should be a point of pride either as it is obviously something the US has fubar'd. I have definitely come across several accounts of observers, defectors, and escapees from North Korea in both English language media and Chinese language media (can't read Korean except for the sounds--pretty much absolutely no comprehension of meaning so no comment on that), and not from some rando blog site. It's also something that is studied within academia so if you want to cruise jstor for it, you'll find that, too. You can also find reports from organizations like Amnesty International if you don't trust the ngos dedicated strictly to human rights in North Korea. Also, there are actual people born into the labor camps--who gets born into prison? I think that's at least one distinct difference between imprisonment in the US (though people are born with the odds stacked against them) and labor camps.

Honestly, if things aren't nearly so bad in North Korea as some of these reports or if the defectors have basically managed to commit one large collective lie (or that they are all actors paid by THE MEDIA), then I'll say that was terrible and I was deceived and wrong. If things are as bad as reported, then what will you say? Just keep denying it? Just shrug it off and go, "well that was just rape, torture and brutality with no rule of law, my bad"?

You are right though in that North Korea doesn't really pose a threat to the US--there is no way the US would actually have to surrender to North Korean overlords. So screw it, party!

Last edited by OyCrumbler; 03-08-2013 at 01:37 PM..
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Old 03-08-2013, 02:38 PM
 
Location: Victoria TX
42,668 posts, read 71,590,043 times
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You know how the news media slants things. If they can't get away with outright lies, they selective publish only the reports that reconfirm their preconceived notions, which usually comport with US foreign policy, which is that NK is "Axis of Evil". The only sources of information passing through the media filter is from a few disgruntled expatriates, and we found out how reliable they were then they told us about Iraq's WMDs. Not a single media source questioned his authenticity. The American media has been bashing Cuba for decades, and only now are we beginning to get reports that it is not so bad after all down there, and never was. There is no way of knowing how many people who know NK are offering different views, and the only reason Dennis Rodman was press-covered was because he was too inarticulate to do anything but make a fool of himself.

The plain fact is that we don't really have any access to information about conditions in NK, we have only sporadic reports from enemies of the state leaking out (heavily negative by definition), and our media only too gleefully paints-by-number the most dismal of all possible pictures. Imagine a bunch of African Americans breaking out of prison and fleeing to North Korea, and being the only source of information their media has about America --- how would they portray America? Remember that the North Koreans incarcerated are classified by their government as terrorists, using exactly the same criteria that our Homeland Security uses -- intent to destroy the government and the state.

A retired western intelligence officer using the pseudonym James Church has written several detective novels that take place in North Korea. Knowledgeable people in the State Department have said Church has a very credible grasp of North Korean life and affairs. The conditions he describes are pretty ordinary, in terms of life in a repressive regime, no worse then in Eastern Europe in the 60s, where I spent quite a bit of time. Church is very much worth reading -- try "A Corpse in the Koryo".

Last edited by jtur88; 03-08-2013 at 02:48 PM..
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Old 03-08-2013, 02:55 PM
 
Location: In the heights
20,149 posts, read 21,752,589 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jtur88 View Post
You know how the news media slants things. If they can't get away with outright lies, they selective publish only the reports that reconfirm their preconceived notions, which usually comport with US foreign policy, which is that NK is "Axis of Evil". The only sources of information passing through the media filter is from a few disgruntled expatriates, and we found out how reliable they were then they told us about Iraq's WMDs. The American media has been bashing Cuba for decades, and only now are we beginning to get reports that it is not so bad after all down there, and never was. There is no way of knowing how many people who know NK are offering different views, and the only reason Dennis Rodman was press-covered was because he was too inarticulate to do anything but make a fool of himself.

The plain fact is that we don't really have any access to information about conditions in NK, we have only sporadic reports from enemies of the state leaking out (heavily negative by definition), and our media only too gleefully paints-by-number the most dismal of all possible pictures. Imagine a bunch of African Americans breaking out of prison and fleeing to North Korea, and being quoted by the media there --- how would they portray America?

A retired western intelligence officer using the pseudonym James Church has written several detective novels that take place in North Korea. Knowledgeable people in the State Department have credited Church with a very credible grasp of North Korean life and affairs. The conditions he describes are pretty ordinary, in terms of life in a repressive regime, no worse then in Eastern Europe in the 60s, where I spent quite a bit of time. Church is very much worth reading -- try "A Corpse in the Koryo".
Yes, I understand the media can and often does slant things and often depending on which news agency is reporting. What happened with the Iraq War was an amazing collusion/manipulation between a faction of government's agenda and the media along with a lot of half lies/half truths. And though there were already studies of terrible acts of violence upon civilians during Saddam's rules, none of those were heavily touted until Saddam became a primo enemy.

That being said, Saddam still did commit terrible acts of violence upon civilians. The North Korean government did and apparently still commits terrible acts of violence upon civilians and seemingly on a much larger scale. Yes, for people outside of the labor camps, life has to go on somehow despite having a repressive regime and people still have friends, family, businesses and pass through various rituals of life. Being in "communist" anything doesn't mean the complete dissolution of basic anything and I think Cuba in many ways is a pretty good example of that. I think bandying communist this or that doesn't make that much sense for the most part because there is a huge amount of variations among these countries. It also doesn't make Cuba completely applicable to North Korea.

With that out of the way, I think I should mention that I explicitly mentioned the labor camps which is not at all the same as normal life under the regime and there needs to be a clear distinction between the two. And when you mean enemies of the state, do you also include civilian refugees that risked life and limb to get out of North Korea? You understand that part of the reason that China now has somewhat turned around on North Korea is because of the refugee situation (North Korea also smartly put its labor camps close to the border with China) and stories published about what life is like, right?

Anyhow, it's true everyone might be wrong about all this and things aren't all that different in North Korea than they are here, but that would have to be a massive collusion of forces to make that so--in which case we might all just as well forfeit any sort of agency. Question though, do you trust reports conducted by the UN, Human Rights Watch or Amnesty International? What sources would you trust? Also, when it comes to the deaths of South Korean civilians and the kidnapping of Japanese civilians, do you believe those were faked? Do you believe that the highly inflammatory broadcasts from North Korea are fakes?

I'm not so much interested in North Korea's (non)abilities to destroy the US. What makes me interested in this topic is just how absolutely brutal this regime has been and how long lasting it is. I'm trying to keep a level head here, but the fact that it has existed for so long and is able to continue is horrifying. The fact that it was nestled in a perfectly terrible political situation where no one could act in any way due to its close proximity to China and Russia and the reluctance on their parts, especially China, to do an about face even when aware of the conditions is tragic.

Then again, there are a lot of other situations/countries where it'd suck to be born into.

Last edited by OyCrumbler; 03-08-2013 at 03:24 PM..
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Old 03-08-2013, 03:06 PM
 
Location: San Francisco
9,033 posts, read 8,378,605 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tom9 View Post
I am perfectly happy to let the Chinese handle this. They have already indicated that their strategy on the matter will be an attempt to bring NK in line and find a result that will satisfy the majority of nations especially those in the region.
Yep. The last thing China wants or needs is a hot war on its doorstep. Anything that would destabilize the fragile edifice of global trade, upon which China depends for its continued survival, is a non-starter.
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Old 03-08-2013, 03:50 PM
 
Location: Leeds, UK
22,198 posts, read 22,395,358 times
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Sorry, guys, Kim Jong Un's mummy has told him he must go to bed now, and will be able to play again in the morning.
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Old 03-16-2013, 08:23 PM
 
Location: Ontario, NY
2,590 posts, read 5,888,854 times
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I believe the problem is propaganda. If you keep saying something long enough, you begin to believe it yourself. Kim Jong-un was raised in that environment. It's difficult for us to believe some of the obvious lies the North Korean people are told they believe are true, but there's no news but state news, not to mention to question the state doesn't end up well for you.

Saddam Hussein suffered from the same type of problem. He actually believed his own propaganda, early in the Iraq-Kuwait War he sent several armored columns of troops to capture American troops in the battle of Khafhi. He believed his battle harden veterans from the Iraq/Iran war were superior to those lazy MTV generation American, his troops would easy defeat the Americans soldiers and he could use them as hostages to force the Americans government to the negotiating table.

So back to North Korea, Kim Jong-un actually believes the propaganda he's been told all his life, which means there's a very real chance he will start a war North Korea has no chance in winning.
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Old 04-16-2013, 07:46 AM
 
Location: Minnesota
1,489 posts, read 1,273,621 times
Reputation: 1895
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dd714 View Post
Why NK is turing the heat up again is the same reason they always turn up the heat - they want to extort a couple truckloads of rice from the west or china to feed their starving population. Isn't this obvious from the 20 or so times they turned up the heat in the past? It's always the same, always. Give them rice and the US can send over another NBA basketball player to keep the supreme leader happy. A planeload of prostitutes will also make him happy.
People get nervous here in the west, people in Seoul laugh about it. When you see the citizens of Seoul go to bomb shelters, then start worrying. Otherwise dont' worry about the madman in the north. Let China worry about it.

I think Kim Jong Un's comments are more for the consumption of his own populace rather than outsiders.
If in fact he is reasonably well educated, and of standard intelligence, you'd think he'd be extremly embarassed by having to obviously "saber rattle" to shake down the other countries (the same countries he rails against for being so terrible) for Aid to support his failing and impoverished country.
I mean come on, how can you really believe your own country is a workers paradise while at the very same time blackmailing the free world for aid which is point blank admitting your own system of government is cannot support itself using the very principles you worship ?
You'd think he'd be embarassed to even show his face internationally on the world stage.....but aparantly the "man-boy leader" (and his father and grand-father as well) hasn't quite figured that out yet.
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Old 04-17-2013, 12:27 AM
 
Location: Toronto
12,581 posts, read 10,444,139 times
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NK is like the boy who cried wolf - but once that wolf starts to attack it needs to be summarily taken out.... I wouldn't miss that regime at all and I have a strong feeling the average North Korean would rather be at a PSY concert dancing to Gangnam Style and Genteman rather than going out foraging for scraps.

Defending any of the Kim's Jong's or Kim Il's is an insault to millions of North Koreans.
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Old 04-17-2013, 12:55 AM
 
Location: Canada
4,672 posts, read 8,103,654 times
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I dunno, what does keeping them isolated and under sanction accomplish? The regime is stable, under no threat of falling, and millions starve needlessly. Perhaps if Obama sat down with them, signed a peace treaty that was actually adhered to (America betrayed North Korea after Clinton negociated a good deal with them), and opened up trade they'd end up eventually being more like China. Still a totalitarian regime, but one where people live okay lives, and where it's not in their interests to disrupt the balance. We could have peace with the North Koreans if we wanted to.
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