The Democracy Club and the rest of the world – Part 2/2

April 24, 2012

In March 2012, I attended a lecture by Adam Johnson, the author of “The Orphan Master’s Son“. Johnson gave us a glimpse into the mysterious Hermit Kingdom of North Korea. Although many call North Korea’s government a dictatorship, it appears to be more of a monarchy since the leadership has passed from father to son twice.

“No one has written a literary novel in 60 years… No one has read a book that’s not propaganda for 60 years,” Johnson said of North Korea.

Johnson spent six years reading everything he could find on North Korea. In addition, he interviewed a number of people that once lived there or had visited. He also watched every YouTube video on North Korea he could find. Then he traveled there as sort of a tourist in 2007.  It wasn’t easy gaining permission.

While in North Korea, Johnson saw a country that was hungry for food, power and money. The trucks and cars he saw on the roads were coming out of the same factories that were manufacturing the same models in the 1950s with no changes.  In addition, appliances manufactured in North Korea were the same models that were made six decades ago.  North Korea is a country trapped in a time warp.

In an interview with Sheila Himmel of the Stanford Magazine, Johnson said there was daily loudspeaker propaganda. “If you’re caught tampering with your loudspeaker (everyone has one in their home and workplace), that’s something that could send you to a prison mine.”

Himmel wrote, “Johnson knew he had to visit North Korea to put flesh on the bones of his research. After being turned down twice for a visa as a visiting scholar, Johnson met a Korean War orphan whose NGO planted apple orchards in North Korea.  As the orchardist’s assistant, he got a tourist visa.

“I would walk the streets and people would not even look up at me. They were Afraid to,” Johnson said.

Johnson stayed in the Yanggak Island hotel, staffed by Chinese, “So we didn’t even get to meet a North Korean citizen at breakfast,” Johnson said.


More than an hour with Adam Johnson – Live from the library.

The hotel was located on an island and was only open two weeks a year for the Airirang festival celebrating the birth of Kim Il Sung, North Korea’s founding autocrat (emperor/king as far as I’m concerned). Even then, only two floors were occupied out of forty-nine and the only lights that were on were on those two floors. The other 47 floors were dark and abandoned.

While Johnson was in North Korea, he was told that the DPRK was the most democratic nation in the world. “They’d say to Johnson, ‘How many people turned out to your last election?’ About 60 percent. ‘We’re 100 percent. We’re more democratic!’ ”

However, being a democratic country, which North Korea isn’t (it’s also not a republic), may not be all that desirable. After all, America’s Founding Fathers created a republic in the United States, because they hated democracy believing it morphed into mob rule and eventually a dictatorship, and George Washington, in his farewell letter to the people as he left the presidency, warned Americans against multiple political parties competing with each other because that led to divisiveness and rancor.

Return to The Democracy Club and the rest of the world – Part 1

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Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of The Concubine Saga. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too. This is the love story Sir Robert Hart did not want the world to discover.

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The Democracy Club and the rest of the world – Part 1/2

April 23, 2012

Recently an e-mail arrived from a friend, and she provided a link to a CNBC.com piece about India testing an intercontinental ballistic missile with a range of more than 3,100 miles.  The test was successful. This long range missile is capable of reaching deep into China and Europe.

My friend wrote, “This doesn’t thrill me. I think the international community should come down just as hard on India as on North Korea.” She was right, and the Hindustan Times reported, “North Korea violated international law by missile launch.”

So, why is North Korea’s failed missile launch different than India’s?

Nowhere in the CNBC piece was India criticized as North Korea was for its failed test of a long range ballistic missile.


This 10 minute video may “BLOW” your mind—pun intended!

Instead, CNBC reported, “India lost a brief Himalayan border war with its larger neighbor, China, in 1962 and has ever since strived to improve its defenses. In recent years the government has fretted over China’s enhanced military presence near the border.”

In addition, Srikanth Kondapalli, professor in Chinese studies at Delhi’s Jawaharlal Nehru University told Reuters, “India can now deter China, it can impose maximum possible punishment if China crosses the red line.”

It is obvious to me that there is a double standard in the world.

There is the Democracy Club and countries that feed the world’s democracies with oil and then there is everyone else.  India is a member of the democracy club and seldom if ever is criticized in the Western media even though the maternal mortality rate is 46.07 deaths per 1,000 live births (ranked #1 globally), life expectancy is 67 years at birth, 43.5% of the children at age five are underweight (the highest in the world), about 5 million children die (50 million each decade) from malnutrition and starvation annually, the literacy rate is 61% of the population, and 25% (more than 300 million people) live below the poverty line. Source: The CIA Factbook

Comparing India’s democracy to a non-democracy, such as China, reveals the double standard I’m talking about.

Before 1949, life in China was equal to or worse than India is today (life expectancy was 35 and 87% of the people lived in severe poverty).  However, according to the CIA Factbook, today, the most recently reported maternal mortality rate was 15.62 deaths for each 1,000 live births ( a third of India’s and ranked #111 globally), life expectancy was almost 75 years of age, and literacy was more than 92% while the population living below the poverty line was 13.4% (about half of India).


6,000 children starve to death in India EVERY DAY

Then there is the fact that India’s middle class is about 5% of the population (61 million), while it is estimated that China’s middle class is now more than 230 million people or 37% of the total urban population. With all of these facts for a comparison, there is no doubt that the quality of life in China’s authoritarian republic is far better than life is in India’s democracy where people are “free” to starve and be illiterate.

Moreover, nowhere in that CNBC piece does it mention that India also fought border wars with Pakistan and Nepal—India fought with Pakistan in 1947, 1965 and came close to war in 1990 all over disputed Kashmir.

In fact, soon after the conflict with China, India had a clash with Nepal over a paltry 75 square km in Kalapani.  Indian forces occupied the area in 1962, and the dispute with Nepal intensified in 1997.

Nowhere in the CNBC piece does it mention that India has 90 nuclear weapons while China has about 240.

Is India really serious about punishing China for future  alleged violations of a disputed border?

In addition, the American/Western media crucifies North Korea for having 10 nuclear warhead compared to America’s 8,500 and Russia’s 11,000.  Source: Huffington Post

Now, don’t get me wrong, North Korea’s government has earned its infamy, and I’ll spend more time with what that means in Part 2. Oh, lest I forget, North Korea has tested two nuclear bombs—one in 2006 and one in 2009. How many nuclear bombs has America tested? Watch the first video to discover that answer.

Continued on April 24, 2012 in The Democracy Club and the rest of the world  – Part 2

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Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of The Concubine Saga. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too. This is the love story Sir Robert Hart did not want the world to discover.

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