'N Korean leaders not madmen, but cold-minded manipulators'
Washington: One of the world's top experts on North Korea has argued in his new book that contrary to the common Western portrayal of the North as a country run by irrational, sadistic madmen, its leaders were in fact cold-minded manipulators who have used saber-rattling successfully for decades to ensure its survival.
In his new book, "The Real North Korea-Life and Politics in the Failed Stalinist Utopia," Andrei Lankov, delves into the "inner logic of the North Korean behaviour", and the peculiarities of a society that has seen it survive until this day despite mounting international pressure and domestic economic woes, reports the Wall Street Journal.
Lankov, who has decades of experience studying the inner workings of the isolated regime, begins the book with an overview of the history of the nation and lives of its people, from how it transformed from a Soviet client state to an "archetypal National Stalinist regime", under the leadership of its founding father Kim Il Sung.
The collapse of the Berlin Wall and the death of Kim Il Sung marks the beginning of the "era of Kim Jong Il," which is soon followed by the " Great North Korean Famine " of the late 1990s as Pyongyang increased its dependence on using the nuclear weapons card to solicit aid and guide its foreign policy.
But Lankov said that while the regime could succeed in maintaining its status quo for the next decade or two, it would only prolong economic stagnation and create a greater gap between its neighbors. He said the regime's "final crisis can be postponed but by no means prevented".
And if reforms are indeed attempted, he said it would initially be greeted with much enthusiasm by the international media. But North Korean reformers, he warned, be it its current leader Kim Jong Eun or someone else, would first be adored by the public but later considered an obstacle to more "radical change and, eventually, unification with the fabulously rich South".
Lankov predicts that such pressure is likely to trigger an outbreak of popular discontent and lead to the collapse of the regime.
North Korea 's problems, according to Lankov, have no good solutions whatsoever.