North Korea under Kim Jong Il: From Consolidation to Systemic Dissonance

SUNY Press
Free sample

North Korea has long been a country of mystique, both provoking two nuclear crises and receiving aid from the international community and South Korea in more recent times. North Korea under Kim Jong Il examines how internal changes in North Korea since the early 1970s have structured that nation’s apparently provocative nuclear diplomacy and recent economic reform measures. To understand these changes, author Sung Chull Kim uncovers relatively unknown internal aspects of the country under Kim Jong Il’s leadership. His account, based on a thorough examination of primary sources, traces the origins, consolidation, and dissonance of North Korea’s systemic identity. He reveals how official and unofficial developments in the domains of North Korea’s politics, ideology, economics, and intellectual-cultural affairs have brought about system-wide duality, particularly between socialist principles embedded in the official ideology and economic institutions.
Read more
Collapse

About the author

Sung Chull Kim is Associate Professor of Northeast Asian Studies at the Hiroshima Peace Institute in Japan.

Read more
Collapse
Loading...

Additional Information

Publisher
SUNY Press
Read more
Collapse
Published on
Feb 16, 2012
Read more
Collapse
Pages
292
Read more
Collapse
ISBN
9780791480939
Read more
Collapse
Read more
Collapse
Read more
Collapse
Language
English
Read more
Collapse
Genres
History / Asia / Korea
Read more
Collapse
Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
Read more
Collapse
Read Aloud
Available on Android devices
Read more
Collapse
Eligible for Family Library

Reading information

Smartphones and Tablets

Install the Google Play Books app for Android and iPad/iPhone. It syncs automatically with your account and allows you to read online or offline wherever you are.

Laptops and Computers

You can read books purchased on Google Play using your computer's web browser.

eReaders and other devices

To read on e-ink devices like the Sony eReader or Barnes & Noble Nook, you'll need to download a file and transfer it to your device. Please follow the detailed Help center instructions to transfer the files to supported eReaders.
 Examines intra-alliance politics between the United States, Japan, and South Korea.
In an age of increasingly complex security situations around the world, it is essential that students and practitioners understand alliances and minilateral security mechanisms. Partnership within Hierarchy examines, in depth, the troubled evolution of the US–Japan–South Korea security triangle from the Cold War period to the present time. Referencing a voluminous amount of declassified documents in three different languages, Sung Chull Kim, through six case studies, delves into the common questions arising in different historical periods, such as who should pay costs, what to commit, and why. Burden sharing and commitment, Kim shows, emerged as the main subject of competing expectations and disagreements arising between the capable middle power Japan and the weak power South Korea. Kim details how the dominant power, the United States, has controlled the red lines and intervened in the disputes, the result of which is in most instances a balancing effect for the triangle. In this vein, he persuasively accounts for why historical disputes between Japan and South Korea, which submerged during the Cold War, reverberate today when asymmetry between the two is substantially balanced.

“This book adds a thoughtful framework to our understanding of the United States–Japan–South Korea triangle over six decades. It also serves the field well by linking six critical decisions in Japan–Korea relations over this time period and the US impact to the overall framework.” — Gilbert Rozman, author of The Sino-Russian Challenge to the World Order: National Identities, Bilateral Relations, and East versus West in the 2010s

“Sung Chull Kim provides a fascinating narrative for the evolution of the triangular relationship.” — Terence Roehrig, coauthor of South Korea’s Rise: Economic Development, Power, and Foreign Relations
“A meaty, fast-paced portrait of North Korean society, economy, politics and foreign policy.” -Foreign Affairs

The definitive account of North Korea, its veiled past and uncertain future, from the former Director for Asian Affairs at the National Security Council

In The Impossible State, seasoned international-policy expert and lauded scholar Victor Cha pulls back the curtain on this controversial and isolated country, providing the best look yet at North Korea's history, the rise of the Kim family dynasty, and the obsessive personality cult that empowers them. He illuminates the repressive regime's complex economy and culture, its appalling record of human-rights abuses, and its belligerent relationship with the United States, and analyzes the regime's major security issues—from the seemingly endless war with its southern neighbor to its frightening nuclear ambitions—all in light of the destabilizing effects of Kim Jong-il's recent death.

How this enigmatic nation-state—one that regularly violates its own citizens' inalienable rights and has suffered famine, global economic sanctions, a collapsed economy, and near total isolation from the rest of the world—has continued to survive has long been a question that preoccupies the West. Cha reveals a land of contradictions, one facing a pivotal and disquieting transition of power from tyrannical father to inexperienced son, and delves into the ideology that leads an oppressed, starving populace to cling so fiercely to its failed leadership.

With rare personal anecdotes from the author's time in Pyongyang and his tenure as an adviser in the White House, this engagingly written, authoritative, and highly accessible history offers much-needed answers to the most pressing questions about North Korea and ultimately warns of a regime that might be closer to its end than many might think—a political collapse for which America and its allies may be woefully unprepared.

North Korea's institutional politics defy traditional political models, making the country's actions seem surprising or confusing when, in fact, they often conform to the regime's own logic. Drawing on recent materials, such as North Korean speeches, commentaries, and articles, Patrick McEachern, a specialist on North Korean affairs, reveals how the state's political institutions debate policy and inform and execute strategic-level decisions.

Many scholars dismiss Kim Jong-Il's regime as a "one-man dictatorship," calling him the "last totalitarian leader," but McEachern identifies three major institutions that help maintain regime continuity: the cabinet, the military, and the party. These groups hold different institutional policy platforms and debate high-level policy options both before and after Kim and his senior leadership make their final call.

This method of rule may challenge expectations, but North Korea does not follow a classically totalitarian, personalistic, or corporatist model. Rather than being monolithic, McEachern argues, the regime, emerging from the crises of the 1990s, rules differently today than it did under Kim's father, Kim Il Sung. The son is less powerful and pits institutions against one another in a strategy of divide and rule. His leadership is fundamentally different: it is "post-totalitarian." Authority may be centralized, but power remains diffuse. McEachern maps this process in great detail, supplying vital perspective on North Korea's reactive policy choices, which continue to bewilder the West.

Fifty-five years after its founding at the dawn of the cold war, North Korea remains a land of illusions. Isolated and anachronistic, the country and its culture seem to be dominated exclusively by the official ideology of Juche, which emphasizes national self-reliance, independence, and worship of the supreme leader, General Kim Jong Il. Yet this socialist utopian ideal is pursued with the calculations of international power politics. Kim has transformed North Korea into a militarized state, whose nuclear weapons, ballistic missiles, and continued threat to South Korea have raised alarm worldwide. This paradoxical combination of cultural isolation and military-first policy has left the North Korean people woefully deprived of the opportunity to advance socially and politically. The socialist economy, guided by political principles and bereft of international support, has collapsed. Thousands, perhaps millions, have died of starvation. Foreign trade has declined and the country's gross domestic product has recorded negative growth every year for a decade. Yet rather than initiate the sort of market reforms that were implemented by other communist governments, North Korean leaders have reverted to the economic policies of the 1950s: mass mobilization, concentration on heavy industry, and increased ideological indoctrination. Although members of the political elite in Pyongyang are acutely aware of their nation's domestic and foreign problems, they are plagued by fear and policy paralysis. North Korea Through the Looking Glass sheds new light on this remote and peculiar country. Drawing on more than ten years of research—including interviews with two dozen North Koreans who made the painful decision to defect from their homeland—Kongdan Oh and Ralph C. Hassig explore what the leadership and the masses believe about their current predicament. Through dual themes of persistence and illusion, they explore North Korea's stubborn adherence to policies that have failed to serve the welfare of the people and, consequently, threaten the future of the regime. Featuring twenty-nine rare and candid photos taken from within the closely guarded country, North Korea Through the Looking Glass illuminates the human society of a country too often mischaracterized for its drab uniformity—not a "state," but a community of twenty million individuals who have, through no fault of their own, fallen on exceedingly hard times.
©2019 GoogleSite Terms of ServicePrivacyDevelopersArtistsAbout Google|Location: United StatesLanguage: English (United States)
By purchasing this item, you are transacting with Google Payments and agreeing to the Google Payments Terms of Service and Privacy Notice.