Friday, January 18, 2013

Google in North Korea: Pyongyang kowtow or smart diplomacy?


This quote is probably the best summation of the current status of the Kim Family Regime.  A pretty good analysis by some non-Korea watchers.  I would not have as much optimism as their slight level.

The problem is that the DPRK seems very comfortable serving as a case study for the more things change, the more they stay the same. Even though new power dynamics appear to be at play within the Kim Jong-un regime, the ways in which his government leverages international insecurity to achieve political objectives—through missile launches, arms proliferation, and nuclear tests—continue to fit the status quo pattern of behaviour set by his father, Kim Jong-Il. So far, we’ve witnessed only minor modifications.
V/R
Dave

18
Jan 2013


When Google’s executive chairman Eric Schmidt and former New Mexico governor Bill Richardson headed to the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) last week, they certainly turned some heads. Many viewed their trip as undercutting Western efforts to secure even stronger sanctions following the North’s ballistic missile launch last month. They also have been chided for providing Kim Jong-un an opportunity to ‘convey a sense of legitimacy and international recognition and acceptance’ to his people. With a nuclear test apparently looming not far over the horizon, then why did Schmidt and Richardson journey to the Hermit Kingdom?

Well, it’s difficult to imagine that Schmidt was there to seize on the unrealised market potential of the North. Although some might speculate that DPRK may be ready to shift its Internet approach, there’s scant evidence to back that up that claim. North Korea is far more intent on developing cyber weapons than it is on building a digital economy and providing its people with a better standard of living. Even in the absence of a strong digital backbone, DPRK has emerged as one of the top cyber warfare states (and proliferators) in the world. The simple fact is that the DPRK doesn’t need Google to continue to advance its space, cyber, missile, nuclear, and conventional weapons programs. Until the regime prioritises its general economy alongside its military industrial complex, an open Internet policy is more of a liability than an asset.

While there have been glimmers of hope that Kim Jong-un might depart from his father’s isolationist tendencies, ‘experience tells us to be skeptical’, as Evans J.R. Revere so eloquently puts it. The problem is that the DPRK seems very comfortable serving as a case study for the more things change, the more they stay the same. Even though new power dynamics appear to be at play within the Kim Jong-un regime, the ways in which his government leverages international insecurity to achieve political objectives—through missile launches, arms proliferation, and nuclear tests—continue to fit the status quo pattern of behaviour set by his father, Kim Jong-Il. So far, we’ve witnessed only minor modifications.
(Continued at the link below)


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