The IUP Journal of International Relations
North Korea and Hysteria, Madness and Rationality in the World Order

Article Details
Pub. Date : April, 2022
Product Name : The IUP Journal of International Relations
Product Type : Article
Product Code : IJIR030422
Author Name :Niccolo Caldararo*
Availability : YES
Subject/Domain : Arts & Humanities
Download Format : PDF Format
No. of Pages : 14



The symbolic value of North Korea in contemporary global politics is discussed in the historic and cultural context. The relationship with Japan and China and invasions and trade relations are considered over the past 2000 years as well as in the past century. The role of Japanese and Chinese competition for the Korean Peninsula is incorporated into the post-WWII anti-Americanism and anti-communism of the area, especially post-WWII dictatorships in South Korea. The post-Cold War image of North Korea has become increasingly tragicomic and irrational. It is the essential "Other" today, and reflects all that is not embodied in the nature of a modern humanity. This characterization extends from the leaders to the people who are illustrated in the news, films and other media in the West as childish, animal-like or brutalized as if devoid of intelligence or humanity. The effect is only continuing conflict and isolation.


The regard of peoples in history by their contemporaries depends on the relative economic and political status and commonalities of culture. The idea of modernity has been a means in the 20th century to produce this measure, but all societies in history that reach a degree of complexity construct ideas of modernity on this basis of commonality.1 Complex societies are relatively fragile and shortlived compared with simpler societies.2 I have taken the position that there is an element of sustainability in indigenous or aboriginal adaptations that provide peoples with greater longevity of social life than complex societies.3 Thus, modernity can be seen as a sign of instability. In this regard, current statements that Vladimir Putin's invasion of Ukraine interrupted 70 years of stability seem curious. It implies that there was a kind of peace and stability that was unusual. Certainly, this seems obvious compared to the short time between the First and Second World Wars. Yet, between 1945 and today, there have been many wars, and the Korean conflict, though not called a war in the US, was just that.