How nutty is the Daily Kos blog? Nutty enough to make an outraged defense of North Korea? Yes. On Wednesday afternoon, Niccolo Caldararo – an adjunct professor of anthropology at San Francisco State University – complained “The Western media wallows in the exotic and North Korea has been the clown of the 20th century, brought forward for comic relief now and then or pasted up as a ‘paper tiger,’ to scare voters before elections or as a distraction for other important news.”
To hear the professor tell it, the capitalist imperialists are licking their chops after the death of Kim Jong Il: “Let's face it, North Korea is ripe for capitalism, there are millions of potential workers who will work for near nothing. The hope is that the regime will crumble like the Soviet Union and give way to massive investment opportunities." He actually argues North Korea is “no less responsible toward its own citizens” than South Korea or America:
While North Korea may behave in a strange fashion at times, its political history is no less responsible toward its own citizens than the history of the South [Koreans], especially the recent history that was dominated in the 1960s to 1980s by dictatorial regimes that practiced torture and mass arrest. While we hear of starvation and torture in North Korea, these are far less well documented than the recent history of the South.
As for the nuclear weapons issue, we should also recall that the USA has been the only country to use nuclear weapons, and we used them on civilians. If the world is to be afraid of the use of these weapons by a renegade nation, one should look at the definition of the word in the context of the Bush Administration waging war in violation of international law and by the use of evidence it knew was tainted. We cannot expect a world of law and respect after such behavior.
As Cicero stated, "There can be no peace without justice." I do not question that North Korea has problems, but that we should view the actions of the present government in the context of history, not ignorance and fear.
Caldararo even argued that the brutal, famine-causing communist regime was really America's fault:
The specific kind of leadership and government North Korea has today is the result of its history, and especially its most recent history with America. We must consider that from the end of W.W.II until 1987 South Korea was a brutal dictatorship. Its prison camps and torture chambers were filled with not only political prisoners but also ethnic minorities and religious objectors, in fact, anyone who dared to challenge the injustice and corruption of the regime. All this time South Korea’s government had the full support of the USA. North Koreans remember this horror and base part of their posture to the USA on this history...
In a country with a history of being invaded by its neighbors, either China or Japan, North Koreans have certainly good reason to want to be isolated. But is this desire to be isolated a quality of the people of North Korea or is it just a feature of the North Korean Communist Party or its Central Committee? While everyone fears that North Korea is sort of a big Jim Jones cult gone mad, we have to recall that the people of North Korea saw the madness of the Japanese occupation and the atom bombs of the West on Japan.
When several commenters disagreed with Caldararo about North Korea, he suggested they were under-educated: "I love how people think they know what is happening in countries they have never even visited."
[Hat tip: Dominating Dentist]