Across Continents

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The problem with Sovereignty

November 19th, 2010

The problem with Sovereignty is you can do pretty much what you like. Unless you care about your standing in the international community. Or you’ve vast natural resources. Misbehave and we might invade. Cynical view for a cynical world? Perhaps.

North Korea had got me thinking. The hermit state features frequently in the news in China. Or, to give its proper title, the Democratic Peoples Republic of Korea. Perhaps they’re possessed of a particularly ironic sense of humour. Maybe not. You do sense political satire not big over there.

But North Korea’s not alone in adopting a blatantly misleading title, to the consternation of much of the civilised world. There’s the Democratic Republic of Congo. And Laos, People’s Democratic Republic. Rated worse in the corruption stakes than Azerbaijan. Which I imagine takes some doing. Perhaps it’s down to the latter’s recent “free elections”. A concept I find particularly hard to grasp in Azeriland.

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Puppet on a string

November 1st, 2010

Come to China and you can’t but help become more aware of North Korea. Chinese Central Television doing their level best to put a positive spin on the secretive hermit nation. A country with so few real friends its had to resort to Facebook to bolster numbers. Not sure how that’s going. Can’t access it from mainland China.

One’s a puppet…
Kim montage - web

I did chance upon a promotional film on one channel that seemed to convey Dear Leader Kim Jong-il’s megalomaniac tendencies in a rather endearing fashion. A mad uncle. The sort quite a few families have. Admittedly without a nuclear arsenal at their disposal. By all accounts, and there aren’t that many from the secretive state to choose from, Kim’s been a bit unwell. Which explains the string operated stand-in the movie. An uncanny likeness. Just remember one’s a puppet.

[And the film? “Team America: World Police”. Watchable only for its portrayal of Kim Jong-il. If that doesn’t appeal, then at least watch the news reports for some particularly fine examples of synchronised clapping]

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