Wednesday, January 13, 2010

I Don't Understand North Korea

But Fred Kaplan does.  Apparently, the latest NK ploy is to exclude South Korea from the talks.  Kaplan does a great job of laying out the various twists and turns in all of this, at least as far as I can tell.

In an excellent article in the November/December 2009 issue of Foreign Affairs, Andrei Lankov, a Russian émigré who teaches history at Kookmin University in Seoul, calls this approach "subversive engagement." The Pyongyang regime, Lankov writes, is "remarkably immune to outside pressure." But it's potentially quite vulnerable to "radical transformation" from within, if enough well-placed North Koreans are exposed to—and thus realize the possibilities of—attractive alternatives to their system.

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