March 29, 2023

Few foreign friends: How North Korea’s isolation goes beyond diplomacy

Where once it attracted international sympathy, the DPRK now fails to promote its side of the story

We frequently read that North Korea is absolutely steeped in the legacy and the lessons of the Korean War. Look no further than the spate of recent essays which sought to explain that North Korea has never really recovered from the brutality of three years of American aerial pummelling of its cities.

The Korean War, we are often reminded, is the North's ultimately fuel for anti-American education, as well as the legitimate foundation of the pervasive sense of insecurity that North Koreans feel from that unfinished war. Historian Bruce Cumings, whose work is often imitated and criticized but rarely surpassed in the genre, calls the North Koreans "the party of memory" when it comes to the war, juxtaposed against American amnesia.