|The Real North Korea|
The Real North Korea by Andrei Lankov published in 2013 talks about the birth of the regime in 1947 after the election of Kim Il Sung known as "Liberator of Small Nations Generalissimo Stalin!"
Thus, the book describes that since 1972, all North Koreans above 16 years old are required to patch a badge showing Kim Il Sung's visage when they leave their homes. Likewise Kim Il Sung's portraits were to be placed at every office and house. As it goes by 1980 portraits of his successor son Kim Jong Il were displayed side by side his father. By the 90's Kim chng-suk, Kim Il Sung's wife and Kim Jong Il's mother were added. There were special instructions on hoe such images were supposed to be maintained in pristine condition as one would be punishable should they be missing or damaged.
Parts of the book describes how Kim Il Sung spent some years in the Soviet Union while the complete media control of the regime. This book authored by Andrei Lankov is so far I've seen as one of the most in depth so far in the last few years. The author a history professor in South Korea a native of Leningrad carefully studied the North while as an exchange student and has written tow bestselling books previously related to the topic.
Reviews such as: "The Real North Korea is one of the best books about this isolated republic to appear in years. Andrei Lankov draws on three decades of experience to write a deeply informed, thoughtful, fair-minded and highly readable account of 'life and politics' in North Korea, from day one to the present. His policy recommendations for dealing with the nuclear problem, for a South Korea waiting impatiently to inherit the North, and for the eventual end of this regime as we know it, are cogent and full of something rare in discussions about this irascible country: common sense."
-Bruce Cumings, Chair of the History Department at the University of Chicago, and author of Korea's Place in the Sun: A Modern History
As the book's introduction started on how Westerners think about North Korea when mentioned? "A Mad Country", "Stalinist Regime" and of course "Nuclear Brinkmanship". The logic behind is that North Korea and it's regime is still living from the past world yet it completely controls the country and it's citizens. It trails back in 1990 ending the Soviet Union's status of world power when the Kim family decided they are preserving what they had during that time and not do anything in terms of reforms. The repercussions after can be a long list to discuss yet the outcome is that is that it is still in power today. This is why as mentioned it's still continuing what is was since the fall of the Soviet Union.
As such Andrei Lankov writes, A living political fossil, it clings to existence in the face of limited resources and a zombie economy, manipulating great powers despite its weakness. Its leaders are not ideological zealots or madmen, but perhaps the best practitioners of Machiavellian politics that can be found in the modern world. Even though they preside over a failed state, they have successfully used diplomacy-including nuclear threats-to extract support from other nations. But while the people in charge have been ruthless and successful in holding on to power, Lankov goes on to argue that this cannot continue forever, since the old system is slowly falling apart. In the long run, with or without reform, the regime is unsustainable. Lankov contends that reforms, if attempted, will trigger a dramatic implosion of the regime. They will not prolong its existence.
Hence, with this in mind hopefully it gives a more clearer overview of the present North Korean regime.Some simply thinks it was predominantly because it has a mad leader but yet the above situations and tactics gives a better understanding of the regime and the country actions and thinking plus way of life.
Diplomacy is at it's best for the regime using the nuclear propaganda in attaining leverage on it's preset goals. We do know however as with the current US administration and past administrations quoting that everything is on the table including use of force. Nevertheless, reality check we know North Korea is face with limited resources especially on the biggest economic sanctions vested to it today. As when it boils down even use of force entails money which is heavily dependent on the state of a country's economy.
This book is great read with the few remaining copies in print today.