B. R. Myers

Nota: Este archivo abarca los artículos publicados por el autor desde el 1 de diciembre de 2008. Para fechas anteriores realice una búsqueda entrecomillando su nombre.

Kim Jong-Un can count himself lucky that his first birthday in power falls today, on a Sunday, obviating the need for a new national holiday to be created at an awkward time. But the ease with which the new “supreme leader” has taken over North Korea has little to do with luck. For one thing, the propaganda apparatus did its job well. We now know why Kim Jong-un was such a peripheral figure on the evening news until his father’s death: so that North Koreans’ first long look at the pampered young man would be at the rarest of times — a time when he was suffering more than anyone.…  Seguir leyendo »

While it is cowardly and foolish not to resist an act of aggression, the best way to deal with a provocation is to ignore it — or so we are taught. By refusing to be provoked, one frustrates and therefore “beats” the provoker; generations of bullied children have been consoled with this logic. And so it is that the South Korean and American governments usually refer to North Korea’s acts of aggression as “provocations.”

The North’s artillery attack on a populated South Korean island is now getting the same treatment, with the South’s president, Lee Myung-bak, vowing that Pyongyang will be “held responsible” and that “additional provocative acts” will be punished “several times over.”

There is no reason that North Korea’s dictator, Kim Jong-il, should take those words seriously.…  Seguir leyendo »

One of the students at my university was killed in the attack that sank a South Korean naval vessel on March 26. A visual communications major, Mun Yeong-uk was only a few months from concluding his military service when a North Korean torpedo split the warship, the Cheonan, in half. His classmates loyally collected money for his family’s funeral expenses, but I was struck by how few people on our campus evinced any real anger toward the regime of Kim Jong-il.

This lack of indignation is mainstream here. Most people now accept North Korea’s responsibility for the sinking that killed Mr.…  Seguir leyendo »

Not so long ago, when we wanted to learn why hostile leaders were hostile, we studied their ideologies. Nowadays, having learned that ideology is either dead or an arbitrary system of signs, we analyze leaders by “putting ourselves in their shoes” — in other words, by assuming that everyone thinks the way we do.

So it is that North Korea watchers who speak no Korean can confidently tell the rest of us what motivates Kim Jong-il. His country is poor, so he wants aid. We bombed his country flat in the Korean War, so he’s afraid of us. That missile launching Pyongyang has said it will carry out next week?…  Seguir leyendo »