Monday, October 10, 2005

North Korea Teeters On The Edge

North Korea is doomed, reports Strategy Page, with signs of its demise spreading. The North still has problems feeding itself, though it enjoyed a good crop this year. Food is rationed, which perversely gives the government more short term political control, allowing it to punish rebellious towns by cutting off their food. A black market, ie a free market, in food has arisen for the wealthy, which is to say, business entrepreneurs and senior government leaders.

The oversized military is in decline. There is no money for training or maintenance, eroding their readiness. Discipline is evaporating. The conscript military may not be willing to control rebellion within North Korea, let alone launch offensive operations against South Korea.

Within the civilian government, the attitude is every man for himself as the government slowly sinks, though the government retains enough authority to stifle any open criticism. Corruption is rife. Even the secret police, the center of power, take bribes.

The Communists in control of North Korea have long propagandized their ignorant people to believe that South Korea is a poor, starving puppet of the United States. Much of their power derives from hiding the success of South Korea from their own people by restricting information. However, the government is slowly becoming resigned to their people suspecting the truth as it spreads via various forms of "information pollution," such as visits from South Korean tourists bringing desperately needed hard cash.

Crime is on the upswing. Burglary and robbery are more common as the struggle for everyday life sharpens.

StrategyPage sees the situation in North Korea as much the same as Communist Eastern Europe in the 1980s before its collapse. Its collapse is inevitable. But will it die in its sleep or in one last insane fit of rage?


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