Friday, May 25, 2007

American Perspective vs. European Perspective

I was looking through some of the few documentaries that were made about North Korea and I began to wonder if maybe the American viewpoints on North Korea is different from the perspectives of European countries. I'm in no waying trying to defend North Korea's lack of freedoms and human rights violations, but I just found it interesting that European countries are given more access and freedoms in North Korea than the US. Is it perhaps because North Korea isn't part of Europe's Axis of Evil? I mean the video clip we saw in class is a music video for a UK group. I can't imagine anything of that sort ever happening in the US.

Could the lack of access and cooperative actions from North Korea be a response to how the United States is portraying North Korea?

1 comment:

Josh Gonzalez said...

It seems to me that the difference in how Europeans treat North Korea (and other socialist/communist) nations versus how Americans treat North Korea boils down to the basic ideological underpinnings of each respective society/governmental system.

Western Europe, North Korea, and all other socialist/communist nations are built upon the idea of Social Justice (i.e. socialism). In Europe this manifests itself in their quasi-socialist economy, in more authoritarian systems it pervades nearly ever aspect of civil society. For a European to rebuke North Korean educational, social, or economic policy one would have to undo the very platform on which their own system is built.

In the States, we don't have that problem, yet. Although we've mixed a great deal of socialism into our free market most politicians and economic elites still operate in a capitalist mode and most American view themselves as free market-ists. With the exception of left-wing politicians and academic elites, Americans can take issue with North Korea in an intellectually honest way.

Long story short: Despite the substantive differences in quality of life, North Korea and Western Europe are founded on the same ideology. Europe can only disagree so much without being hypocritical.