As inhabitants of the world’s most isolated nation, North Koreans believe what they’re told. Propaganda has persuaded them that they are racially and morally pure, and that food donations to famine victims are in fact tribute from a terrified United States.
After years of studying North Korean culture, literature and newspapers, analyst B.R. Myers argues that North Korean thinking is based on a belief system that views the North Korean people as innocent children at the bosom of a nurturing “Parent Leader,” whose primary role is to foster his (or her) children’s pureness and selflessness, protecting them from enemies like the US. The less we see North Korea in terms of Stalin and Confucius, he argues, and the more we understand this ideology, the closer we’ll be to understanding what motivates North Koreans, including former supreme leader Kim Jong Il and his successor, Kim Jong Un.
How much do you know about North Korea and its people? What strategy would you like to see from the United States post-Kim Jong Il?
B.R. Myers, North Korea analyst, Dongseo University; author, "The Cleanest Race: How North Koreans See Themselves—and Why It Matters"