North Korea — a conundrum inside an enigma inside a paranoid schizophrenic…

Ryugyong Hotel in Pyongyang -- "The Hotel of Doom"

Ryugyong Hotel in Pyongyang — “The Hotel of Doom”

One of my research interests is North Korea — mostly because I consider myself an amateur anthropologist and student of human interaction.  The fascination that is North Korea started back when I was still in high school, when I learned about how oppressive and regimented the Kim family is toward it’s own people — and, at least externally, they are loved for it.

When I was trying to explain to a friend of mine a few years ago the method by which North Korea runs itself (…) to a friend who didn’t know much about it, I tried coming up with the right term to explain it.  I wound up blurting out something along the lines of “The DPRK is the state-equivalent of a paranoid-schizophrenic.  Many of their actions and saber rattling statements are because they KNOW they’re inferior in most aspects, but they know they may have us in a way or two also.”

The latest regime, under Kim Jong-un, in it’s second year — has proven to be interesting.  Not only did they have a successful long range missile test and now weapons-grade nuclear capability (granted, not missile-mountable, I wouldn’t imagine — yet), but we’ve also got a young leader who is jockeying to show his power and might that is no doubt fighting an internal power battle in the North Korean government against Generals who likely see him as too young to be a leader, and may be trying to assert THEIR own control as well.

All mix for a toxic situation, I think.  I suppose what the ancient Chinese say is true — “May you live in interesting times.”   The next 18 months with North Korea should no doubt prove to be interesting.

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