Kim Jong Un giving out copies of ‘Mein Kampf’

If there’s was a weirdness beat, it would need a bureau in North Korea.

The Washington Post reports that the highly-qualified leader of North Korea, Kim Jong Un, honored his own most recent birthday by giving copies of “Mein Kampf” to top offocials of his government.

But relax. The Post also notes that:

“The book was apparently not distributed to endorse Nazism so much as to draw attention to Germany’s economic and military reconstruction after World War One.”

Comments (1)

  1. Submitted by Neal Rovick on 06/19/2013 - 01:48 pm.

    Ferocious, weak, crazy…

    (quote)

    A Three-Part Strategy

    First, the North Koreans positioned themselves as ferocious by appearing to have, or to be on the verge of having, devastating power. Second, they positioned themselves as being weak such that no matter how ferocious they are, there would be no point in pushing them because they are going to collapse anyway. And third, they positioned themselves as crazy, meaning pushing them would be dangerous since they were liable to engage in the greatest risks imaginable at the slightest provocation.

    In the beginning, Pyongyang’s ability to appear ferocious was limited to the North Korean army’s power to shell Seoul. It had massed artillery along the border and could theoretically devastate the southern capital, assuming the North had enough ammunition, its artillery worked and air power didn’t lay waste to its massed artillery. The point was not that it was going to level Seoul but that it had the ability to do so. There were benefits to outsiders in destabilizing the northern regime, but Pyongyang’s ferocity — uncertain though its capabilities were — was enough to dissuade South Korea and its allies from trying to undermine the regime. Its later move to develop missiles and nuclear weapons followed from the strategy of ferocity — since nothing was worth a nuclear war, enraging the regime by trying to undermine it wasn’t worth the risk.

    Many nations have tried to play the ferocity game, but the North Koreans added a brilliant and subtle twist to it: being weak. The North Koreans advertised the weakness of their economy, particularly its food insecurity, by various means. This was not done overtly, but by allowing glimpses of its weakness. Given the weakness of its economy and the difficulty of life in North Korea, there was no need to risk trying to undermine the North. It would collapse from its own defects.

    This was a double inoculation. The North Koreans’ ferocity with weapons whose effectiveness might be questionable, but still pose an unquantifiable threat, caused its enemies to tread carefully. Why risk unleashing its ferocity when its weakness would bring it down? Indeed, a constant debate among Western analysts over the North’s power versus its weakness combines to paralyze policymakers.

    The North Koreans added a third layer to perfect all of this. They portrayed themselves as crazy, working to appear unpredictable, given to extravagant threats and seeming to welcome a war. Sometimes, they reaffirmed they were crazy via steps like sinking South Korean ships for no apparent reason. As in poker, so with the North: You can play against many sorts of players, from those who truly understand the odds to those who are just playing for fun, but never, ever play poker against a nut. He is totally unpredictable, can’t be gamed, and if you play with his head you don’t know what will happen.

    http://www.stratfor.com/weekly/ferocious-weak-and-crazy-north-korean-strategy

    (end quote)

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