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View Diary: Are we blundering into a war with North Korea? (143 comments)

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  •  reading propaganda tells you about propaganda (1+ / 0-)
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    Frank Whitaker

    not about the worldviews or perspectives of millions of people. it doesn't even tell you about the variety of motivations and viewpoints of the ruling regime, so much as what the propaganda dept. for said ruling regime wants to portray itself as believing.

    it's pretty limited in utility, and is being seriously oversold.

    memes about hive mind brainwashed oriental masses are apparently rather hard to kill in the american imagination.

    •  what else do we have? (1+ / 0-)
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      Frank Whitaker

      We're always taken by surprise by everything North Korea says and does, and not only that, but we're always baffled by their motivations for the latest hysterical screed or provocative gesture.  There's little or no consensus on what North Korea wants and what will motivate it to embrace disarmament ... except among people who are only looking for an excuse to justify a policy they're already set on.

      It's our problem, in that this is the position we find ourselves in no matter who we're confronting.  But that's because we consistently fail to attribute agency to others.  The idea that the North Koreans have reasons of their own for doing what they do never enters our minds.  But this is because of our belief in a bunch of hive-minded zombies who only do what they're told or else ... and that the only thinking, feeling people in the picture are either named Kim or live in DC.

      We're trained to assume cynicism among foreign leaders and slavishness among their subjects.  There's no way the North Koreans could actually believe anything, especially not anything as absurd as the Kim cult, as disgusting as racial superiority, or as terrifying as military conquest of South Korea.  Obviously they're all just decadent egomaniacal kleptocrats and slaves living in fear and waiting for the great day when we liberate them.

      •  we don't have good information (0+ / 0-)

        the first thing is not to fill that lacuna, but rather to admit its existence and know that there are things we do not know, rather than filling it with what are undoubtedly ignorant assumptions.

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