最初のThe Cleanest Raceは、北朝鮮のプロパガンダを通してみた北朝鮮人が自分たちをみるイメージだそうだ。筆者は釜山の大学の先生でドイツ人のようである。
The last two years have seen several thoughtful efforts to grapple with the nature of the North Korean political system, a topic we are also starting to work on. On our short-list (with Amazon links if you want to build your library):
- B.R. Myers, The Cleanest Race: How North Koreans See Themselves and Why It Matters (a C-Span video here); Myers Amazon.
- Jae-chon Lee’s, Kim Jong Il’s Leadership of North Korea. (Routledge has actually given us a paperback).
- Patrick McEachern’s , Inside the Red Box: North Korea’s Post-Totalitarian Politics, a strong effort that tries to theorize the system (McEachern Amazon).
Ken Gausse, one of the more thoughtful and close analysts of the leadership structure, has now weighed in with a major volume drawing on a wide array of sources, North Korea under Kim Chong-il.
The book is structured historically and runs up through the Party Conference of September 2010: the purges at the time of the first father-son transition (ch. 1); the limited experiments with reform (ch. 2); the continuing role of familism (ch. 3); and what we have called “reform in reverse” (ch. 4) occupy the first half of the book. A theme is the continual churning of personnel designed to assure maximum discretion of the leader.
Gause pays particular attention to the heavy investment in institutional as well as personnel changes during the second half of the 2000s as well. But he concludes on a highly pessimistic note that seems shared among North Korea watchers at the moment. The succession and poor economic performance has refocused the regime on survival, which means strengthening the very political forces—the military and the security apparatus—which are responsible for the country’s problems. Moreover, these internal political imperatives make both engagement with the rest of the world and meaningful economic reform beyond the reach of a weakened leadership.
A major effort.