The Father, The Son, and the Sacred System: Making Sense of North Korea
German Consul General Friedrich Lohr
North Korea is an unusual country since it is thoroughly secluded from the rest of the world, its hard-working and disciplined population has been thoroughly indoctrinated to see all good coming from the Kim family and all things bad from the US and its allies. A policy of “military first” makes it easier for the regime to effectively control its population. Revolution is unthinkable as long as the regime can pay off its overlapping security and repression apparatuses. On the other hand the government promised to “usher in the era of a great powerful and (moderately) affluent state” by 2012 – Kim Il Sung’s 100th birthday. It will have to appear to be delivering on its promise. Will the new leader be material in this transition? Will he be a figurehead? Who will be the “power behind the curtain”? Will it be his uncle and mentor? Finally: Can the North Korean regime be reformed? If not, will it go down with a bang or with a whimper?