This archived article was written by: Renato Magalhaes
Historically used as a stage for war and abused by military powers in the last century, the Korean peninsula and nations have been divided since 1945. The two sides have vigorously embraced opposite political trends and economic standards, experiencing animosity several times toward each other.
Influenced by the United States, the South became a democratic republic and has developed into a modern and technologically-refined society, open for trade and business. Now an educational hub in East Asia, South Korea offers a fundamental right for their citizens: freedom.
On the other hand, Kim Il-sung, appointed by Soviet Union dictator Joseph Stalin, became the first representative of the dynasty that still rules the North. For three generations, it has brought military development, censorship within their borders and a striking cult of their supreme leaders.
Comparisons end up being pointless: it is clear North Korea is still stuck in the Cold War. While the people face low life expectancy, poverty and famine, their totalitarian ruler engages in ballistic tests and other military maneuvers, destabilizing the entire world when threatening other countries.
Since he assumed office in 2016, Kim Jong-un has shown to be as deranged as his father, his grandfather and any other ruler who has embodied the delusional concept of having superpowers. As an example, one of the “Ten Fundamental Principles of the Korean Workers’ Party” is to eternally carry the revolution, led by the Mount Baedku Bloodline, the official name for the dynasty.
However, for whom is this so-called revolution being carried? The Kim regime has used the Juche, a state ideology developed by Il-sung in the 50s that has been maintained ever since, as a justification for any policy decisions, an obvious tactic to dictate and to sustain totalitarianism.
Rooted in the socialist doctrine, this dogma postulates that “a man is the master of his destiny.” Despite being true, a man cannot be the master of his destiny when a government already owns it. Confined like those in East Berlin, the North Korean population is a prisoner in its own land, betrayed by unachievable promises.
The world has been close to witness active conflicts in the past decades in the peninsula. Considering both countries have never signed a peace treaty, the war is not officially over, thus the risk is always present.
Nonetheless, attempts have been made to tie the nations together, bringing optimism for the Korean people. One of them, for example, is currently trending as a joint women’s hockey team that is going to play under a unified flag in the 2018 Winter Olympics, hosted in Seoul this month. As refreshing it may feel at first, what are the real intentions?
After all, how friendly can the Kim regime be? This peaceful behavior should, of course, be well received and hopefully maintained, but the hatred-fueled threats recently made by Jong-un should not be simply forgotten.
For instance, on Jan. 2, the dictator directly threatened the U.S., stating that the country is within range of their nuclear weapons. As another illustration of this, Tokyo held, less than two weeks ago, its first missile evacuation drill as a preparation for an eventual North Korean attack after projectiles reached waters near the island.
Beginning Feb. 9, the Olympics will be not only a sporting event, but also a political one. The next step is to closely watch it unfold and hope for a diplomatic resolution rather than war. Some things, however, remain: the distrust among and betweeen nations and the insanity of those who are eager to eternally rule.