February 19, 2020 | Red Diamond

The Nature of The Kim Family Regime: The Guerrilla Dynasty and Gulag State

February 19, 2020 | Red Diamond

The Nature of The Kim Family Regime: The Guerrilla Dynasty and Gulag State

Excerpt

While all desire an end to hostilities on the Korean peninsula, denuclearization of North Korea, a reduction of the conventional military threat, and an end to the human rights abuses against the Korean people living in the North, achieving those objectives requires understanding the nature of the Kim family regime (KFR) and what are its strategy, aims, and objectives. Without such understanding it is difficult to discern effective ways and means of a strategy to achieve an acceptable durable political arrangement on the Korean peninsula that will serve, protect, and advance US interests in Korea and Northeast Asia.

As Australian author Adrian Buzo wrote in his book of the same name, North Korea is a “Guerrilla Dynasty.” Its legitimacy is sustained by the myth of anti-Japanese partisan warfare with the “Great Leader” Kim Il-sung as the liberator of Korea. During World War II Kim commanded the 88th Special Independent Sniper Brigade of about 200
Korean men in the Soviet Army and he built this into a legend of himself and his guerrilla band as great revolutionaries. Kim founded a revolutionary nation and its constitution compels those in the North to complete the revolution by liberating all of Korea. Today the core of the elite are all descendants of, or related to, these guerrillas.

Kim Il-sung developed a system to perpetuate dynastic rule. The single vital national interest of the North is survival of the Kim Family Regime or what the late Stephen Bradner described as a mafia-like crime family cult. It is not survival of the nation-state nor the survival of the Korean people living in the North but only the regime. Kim designed the system of Songbun – a social classification system that divides society into fifty one social classes in three broad categories of the elite loyal class, the wavering classes, and the disloyal classes. Robert Collins has described Songbun as a process that systematically denies human rights to ensure social control to prevent any threats to the regime’s survival.

David Maxwell is a retired U.S. Army Special Forces Colonel and a Senior Fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies. He also contributes to FDD’s Center for Military and Political Power. Follow him on Twitter at@davidmaxwell161.

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Issues:

Military and Political Power North Korea U.S. Defense Policy and Strategy