February 25, 2024

Can North Korea follow Myanmar’s path away from military rule?

Kim Jong Un may regard the evolution of Burma’s Tatmadaw as a warning

Nearly two years after Kim Jong Un’s father’s death, the indicators are that he maintains a system that is oppressive as ever, but one undergoing a chameleonic color change: military greens segueing into Workers’ Party reds.

Under Kim Jong Il, North Korea had edged towards something akin to junta rule, like a living fossil of the 20th century Stalinist and Maoist models. The years 1994-2011 were characterized by the primacy of “Songun,” a.k.a. the “military-first policy.”