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Summary: Barracks State North Korea - A "Failed” State or a New Strategic Actor?

Dietmar Schössler

The West has considered the "Democratic People’s Republic Korea (DPRK) " more or less late-Stalinist remaining stock of a once big "red” empire, which would have become dated sooner or later. This expectation has not come true, however; today North Korea as a so-called new strategic actor represents a grave challenge to the West.

The national philosophy of North Korea has been based on the concept of contentedness (Juche); the autarchy which thus can be gained may be described a culture-specific ethnical nationalism. Juche is considered the nucleus of "Kimilsungism”, a more comprehensive approach, named after the father of the present head of state Kim Jong-Il. Justification and protection of the political leader’s personal reign have been the primary functions of the Juche-ideology, and it proved successful during the Kim-fraction’s inner-party struggle for survival. The communist party of North Korea has been a mass movement based on a rural-rustic clientele, which - like its leader - has distinguished itself by limited education, dogmatism, xenophobia, discipline, and toughness.

The political system of North Korea agrees with the typical trinomiality of Marxist-Leninist Systems, with the party on top dominating everything, followed by the military, and by the state machinery, which is degraded to a mere converter of the party’s intentions. The party has a mere instrumental function dependent on the leader’s mercy, which comes to the fore in irregularly held party conferences.

The most important security and military political characteristic features of the North Korean system are the capability of blitzkrieg, the ability to lead guerrilla warfare both in the run-up of military operations first and then synchronized with them, a military doctrine modelled on total and lengthy fight, and - derived from that - a military strategic conception drawing up a conflict and war picture which orients itself by the permanent basic conflict between imperialism and socialism. North Korea aims at total registration of all persons fit for military service, as well as at a production of arms and equipment as self-sufficient as possible, and at high readiness for action of its numerically strong armed forces. Given these conditions, despite all economical weaknesses, the country will be a new strategic actor which must not be underestimated.

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Eigentümer und Herausgeber: Bundesministerium für Landesverteidigung | Roßauer Lände 1, 1090 Wien
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