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Russian military leaders have expressed concern about US plans
for a national missile defense system. Will defense technology be
limited by possibilities for a strategic imbalance? Is this just SDI
all over again?
(1554 previous messages)
- 08:36pm Mar 26, 2001 EST (#1555
A central problem is that large groups of people can be, by
objective standards, deeply out of touch with reality. The case of
North Korea is an example.
KOREA, TV NATION .... by Russell Working reveals a
pathetic, if dangerous culture.
Dandog China — For most of the day — presumably
when there is no electrical power to spare — there is nothing to
see on North Korea's state television network. No reruns, no test
patterns, nothing but static.
Then in the late afternoon, the viewer flips on
Channel 22 to find the camera panning a hall full of teenagers in
dark suits or traditional Korean dresses. Iron-faced, they watch
an awards ceremony. Half of them take home red banners extolling
the leader-god Kim Jong Il. The rest win red accordions. And so
begins another evening of entertainment from the Democratic
People's Republic of Korea.
I was watching from Dandong, China. The Hermit
Kingdom is one of the most secretive nations on earth, banning
most foreign visitors and eschewing contact with the outside
world. But every evening here in Dandong, a port city of 700,000
on the Yalu River separating China and North Korea, a closed
society reveals a little more than it may realize to outsiders who
flip on the television. You don't have to speak Korean to come
away a little spooked by the experience.
Day after day, North Korea's TV network devotes
hours to Mr. Kim's tours of factories. A narrator with the voice
of a castrato speaks in trilling, almost hysterical tones as Mr.
Kim makes his rounds. The people he meets bow from the waist.
Crowds make fist-clenching salutes and beat their chests, or they
wave both hands in the air, jumping as if in ecstasy. Mr. Kim
never seems to ask a question; rather, he lectures the experts. He
snatches pointers to jab at maps or diagrams. Oddly, his voice is
never audible — only the narrator's is.
In one clip, Mr. Kim tours a factory that produces
syringes. Do the broadcasters even notice that the managers are
inside wearing winter coats and astrakhan hats? Or perhaps they
counted on North Koreans — millions of whom live and work in
unheated quarters — to consider such details unremarkable.
There are moments of near hilarity, as when Mr.
Kim tours a collective farm populated with ostriches. Ostriches in
North Korea? And yet there they are. There is literary content:
static shots of the day's newspapers, page by page. And children's
programming appears in the form of a cartoon in which a boy hero
is captured by the Japanese, beaten severely and bound with a
stick jammed in his mouth to prevent him from screaming for help.
Strangest of all is the North Korean idealization
of labor. While the narrator enthuses, thousands of workers strap
boulders to their backs and run to a dam, where they thump down
the rocks and sprint back for another load. In close-ups, the
workers' faces are frozen in rictus grins, but their eyes reveal a
leaden terror. It is as if Stalin thought that broadcasting the
construction of the White Sea Canal by gulag laborers would
inspire his countrymen.
In fact, much of North Korean TV might feel
familiar to Russians of Stalin's generation: parades of tanks,
goose-stepping soldiers, Soviet-style choruses. But if the
programming offers a nation's most grandiose boasts, consider what
its darkest secrets might look like.
Russell Working is an American writer living in Russia.
Speaking in strictly military terms, such a culture cannot
be hard to outmaneauver.
This is one of our must feared enemies -- and Saddam's Iraq the
Could the North Koreans be the only ones out of touch with
- 08:46pm Mar 26, 2001 EST (#1556
Right and Wrong: rshowalter
"Science in the News" 12/29/00 6:18am
" When an individual, or group, acts in its own
percieved or psychic interest, but in a way that cuts off
opportunities, or causes damage, on a wide scale, to a wider
interest, most "readers of the New York Times" and writers on it,
too, act as if they think that's "wrong." For a lot of things, I
feel that simple standard, applied to specific cases, works pretty
Is U.S. military policy justifiable, on the basis of arguments
about proportion, and right or wrong? Based on checkable facts? Or
are we manufacturing enemies -- sometimes working hard to
manufacture enemies, to sustain the "military industrial complex"
Eisenhower warned of so long ago?
The arguments for a missile defense seem grossly
disproportionate, and if there ARE valid arguments - they are
It is quite possible that our intelligence service, as well as
the KGB, lived in a "dream world." The fact that a group of people
feels "sure of its ground" does not make it right or, if they
refuse checking, even worthy of respect.
- 08:52pm Mar 26, 2001 EST (#1557
Canadian PM is involved in a conflict of interest : used
political position for financial gain : helped secured a loan
related to a golf course in which he has shares.
Canada has a federal ethics committee --- is there a USA
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