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The Hermit Kingdom
Commentary on the News
Monday, February 09, 2015
Pete Garcia

North Korea is an isolated nation, ruled by a series of short, squatty dictators by the name of Kim.  The Kim’s are revered by their people as being god-like.  Of course, this reverence doesn’t come naturally, it’s a mix between an extremely relentless propaganda campaign, coupled with the threat of extreme pain and violence.  The violence isn’t limited to just the supposed perpetrator of said crime, but also to that person’s family and extended family.

North Korea is the most restrictive, most oppressive, and most propagandized nation on the planet.  It is so oppressive, that it makes Sharia Law look trivial, and Sharia bound Islamic states like Disneyland.  But the question that seems to be on everyone’s mind is, how much longer can it survive?  My guess, is that it doesn’t survive the decade. 

Historical Background 

The founding “eternal” father, Kim Il Sung, was an anti-Japanese militant who reentered the Korean peninsula as Japan surrendered at the end of World War II.  With backing from the Soviet Union, Kim solidified his power and in 1948, founded the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK).  In 1950, he launched an invasion of the southern half of the Korean peninsula, in which we know today as the ‘Korean War’.  Subsequently, this four year war ended in a stalemate by 1953.  This military incursion resulted in the death of nearly five million people. 

In 1994, Kim Il Sung stood down (died) after iron-fistedly ruling the tiny hermit kingdom for 46 years.  His son, Kim Jong Il, who had been groomed to take over since 1980, officially took the reins and began a military-reinvestment program.  This, along with massive flooding, led to widespread famine conditions, of which the nation is still trying to recover from today.  This famine, was due largely to the Kim Jong IL diverting much needed capital to military buildup, rather than on economic infrastructure for his nation.  Around one million North Koreans starved to death and the majority of the remaining population, remain malnourished and in extreme poverty.  North Korea survives today solely on black market trade, foreign aid, and with limited trade partners like China, Russia, Cuba, Vietnam, Iran, and Syria. 

Kim Jong Il died in 2011, and his 29 year old son, an almost entirely unknown Kim Jong Un, took over as the next “Supreme Leader”.  North Korea gained nuclear power status in the early 2000s, and have remained committed to exporting their nuclear technology to rogue regimes around the world, for the right price.  From their anti-American rhetoric, black market WMD exports, and military blustering, North Korea has been a time-tested, thorn in the side of the west since their inception in 1948. 

A lot of important things seemingly events took place in 1948.  For one, another tiny nation, Israel, was reborn as a nation after spending almost 2,000 years in diaspora.  Over the past 20 years, it has been often speculated that the Hermit Kingdom would collapse due to one reason or another.  But it’s been 20 years since that speculation began in earnest, and since they are still here, that speculation has been nothing more than that, conjecture.  The possibility that they could collapse has a variety of terrifying prospects which makes nations and markets very nervous.  Here are a few:

  • In the face of collapse, Kim Jong Un and leadership do not go quietly into the night.  Kim Jong Un bares (or at least is trying too) strong resemblance to his grand-father, Kim Il Sung.  (The same guy who started the Korean War.)  He may try a last ditch effort at either invading the South, or making good on his continual threats to attack the South.
  • After watching West Germany struggle to incorporate the East, a similar fear is that North Korea would inundate the south with malnourished, unlearned, unskilled, and highly brainwashed North Koreans who would strain to the point of breaking, the South’s economy.
  • A North Korean collapse would result in a US-South Korean rush to secure the nuclear facilities ahead of the Chinese, potentially triggering a military confrontation between the Chinese and Americans.
  • North Korean WMD go missing, and fall into the wrong hands, as it did during the collapse of the Soviet Union.
  • A North Korean collapse would come at the exact same time, when the US is trying to disengage from its protectorate status in South Korea, catching the US shorthanded and in an economic downturn.

So what makes today’s speculation any different than those of the experts over the last 20 years? 

Technology.

Since 2002, the North’s ‘information blockade’ has been breaking down at an increasingly exponential rate.  Cellphones, radios, laptops, thumb drives filled with black market movies and television shows from the outside world are increasingly breaking down the façade the regime has tried to blind its population with.  It’s hard to gauge exactly how much information is flowing into the kingdom, but the effect it’s having is increasingly noticeable.  Most of what we know is gathered from defectors who have managed to escape and from the agents smuggling the contraband in.  This reminds me of the months and years leading up to the fall of the Iron Curtain.  South Korean activists who work to get the information in, and gathered from those who have defected, report an ever increasing use and tolerance of information consumption even though it is punishable by imprisonment or death.  In short, the tightly veiled blockade is coming apart at the seams.

Dear Kim

There also seems to be an increasing disdain for the young Un, which is due in part from a Korean view that older=wiser mentality in their culture.  In other words, many don’t think he knows what he is doing.  Of course, they can’t say that publically for the obvious reasons.  But Kim Jong Un is by far, the least respected, as compared with his father and grandfather.  This distrust and disdain is in part, why he has purged a significant portion of his military leadership.

As more and more North Koreans gain exposure to the outside world, the more they will realize that North Korea isn’t the greatest nation in the world.   The more they are exposed, the more they will realize how bad they truly have it.  Factors leading down to the breakdown the ‘cult of personality’, in which has kept the North Koreans impoverished and blinded is the information inflow, a total mismanagement of resources, and the notorious prison camps in which the Kims have used to maintain their grip over the Hermit Kingdom. 

Assessment

In recent history, there seems to be a seventy year time limit in how far God will allow these atheistic nations to exist in their current forms.  The collapse in Eastern Europe began in the Soviet satellite states who also suffered under a collapsing “information blockade”.  This led to the collapse of the Iron Curtain in 1989-1990.  1989 also marked a volatile year for the People’s Republic (China), culminating in the brutal crackdown at Tiananmen Square.  Had the global condemnation of human rights abuses not been rewarded with the Most Favored Nation (MFN) status under the Clinton Regime, it is very likely China’s current form of government would be very different.  In 1991, the Soviet Union collapsed under the weight of its own corrupt and bloated bureaucracy.  But in all the cases where communism collapses two things are seemingly and divinely allowed to happen.  The Gospel is sent in, and the Jews that are there, are allowed out. 

Although there aren’t any Jews (that we know of) in North Korea, the Gospel will find a way in.  We know that either before the Rapture, (Kim’s regime collapses) or after the Rapture (144,000 or the Angel) the Gospel will reach mightily into this satanic stronghold.  It is already finding a way in, but it’s being brutally oppressed.  There is said to be an estimated 100,000 Christians (primarily in labor camps) in North Korea.  There are also an untold number of underground churches, as well as missionary groups who routinely and in various ways, attempt to bring in the Gospel of Jesus Christ to the North.  When this impending Kim Regime collapses, we need to pray that the Good News of Jesus Christ is allowed to reach a people who have spent almost a century in abject misery.   We need to pray for the safety of the men and women who continue to risk their lives to bringing the Gospel.  We need to pray daily for those now so that they might find some respite and relief in an environment that is aggressively hostile to the Christian faith.  

And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen.          Matthew 28:18-20 NKJV

About Pete Garcia

Last week: War and Peace



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