Haggard on Kim Jong Eun's leadership
Is a third-generation monster North Koreaâ€™s destiny?
The Washington Post
Since his death Saturday, a great deal has been written about Kim Jong Il's diplomatic mastery. The North Korean dictator, after inheriting power from his father in 1994, played a weak hand brilliantly, it is said. He wielded his illicit nuclear weapons program to keep larger powers at bay. He was, U.S. Undersecretaryof State Wendy Sherman told the New York Times, "smart, engaged, knowledgeable, self-confident, sort of the master-director of all he surveyed."
In fact, Mr. Kim's sole accomplishment — his survival in power — owes more to the self-interested calculations of surrounding powers than to his supposed wisdom. South Korea, a prosperous, capitalist democracy, feared the financial burden of a sudden merger with its impoverished northern half. China, with the most influence over the North Korean regime, feared a powerful, pro-Western, possibly nuclear-armed Korea extending to the Yalu River. The United States, in dealing with China, always had higher priorities on its negotiating card than the welfare of North Koreans.
Stephan Haggard is the director of the Korea-Pacific Program at IR/PS, where he specializes in the Korean economy. In 2011 Haggard published Witness to Transformation: Refugee Insights into North Korea with co-author Marcus Noland, and writes the "North Korea: Witness to Transformation" blog at the Peterson Institute for International Economics.
Is a third-generation monster North Korea's destiny?, Brainerd Dispatch