As if there isn’t enough trouble in the world, the executive chairman of Google Inc., Eric Schmidt, has taken it into his head to visit North Korea. Schmidt is touring the world’s leading totalitarian state as a member of a private group led by a former U.S. congressman, cabinet secretary, United Nations ambassador and New Mexico governor rolled into one, Bill Richardson — whose previous trips to North Korea have served mainly to dignify the Pyongyang regime.
Richardson’s current roadshow, with Google’s Schmidt in tow, seems to have generated some excitement at North Korea’s state propaganda organ, the Korean Central News Agency, or KCNA. KCNA has revamped its web site, including a new gmail contact address (though the address apparently doesn’t work) and more colorful variations on the same old propaganda, including a special section on North Korea’s recent ballistic missile test “Successful Satellite Launch,” and such classics as an account of the launch in Ecuador of the works of third-generation dictator Kim Jong Un, glorifying the revolutionary accomplishments of his late father, tyrant Kim Jong Il, and his grandfather, the Stalin-installed founder of the North Korean state, Kim Il Sung. On this same retooled KCNA web site, the private visit led by Richardson is heralded as “Delegation of Google Corp. of U.S. Arrives.”