"Mark Fitzpatrick, a former State Department official now with the International Institute for Strategic Studies in London, applauds Park’s 'moral courage' – but not his deed.
Park’s 'excursion into North Korea was a foolhardy stunt that can’t help but complicate diplomacy,' he says. 'It’s a gift to the Pyongyang regime, which can be expected to seek to bargain his freedom for diplomatic or PR advantage.'
He doubts 'the White House or State Department will be inclined to want to give away anything to gain Park’s freedom, especially since he might decide in the future to do it again.' The case, he adds, is 'not so much [an] embarrassment as an unnecessary encumbrance.'"
"Park, a US citizen of Korean ancestry, claimed he had seen a vision from God of North Korea's liberation and redemption, his colleagues said, adding that Park crossed the border shouting "I came here to proclaim God's love.'"*
"President Obama wrote a personal letter to North Korean leader Kim Jong Il that a U.S. envoy delivered, a senior U.S. official said Wednesday.
Stephen Bosworth, U.S. special envoy for North Korea, delivered the letter for the North Korean leader during a three-day visit to North Korea last week, the official said.
The official declined to be identified because of the sensitivity of the issue.
Bosworth noted last week that, during his visit, he 'communicated President Obama's view that complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula is a fundamental undertaking of the six-party process ... and that the absence of progress on denuclearization is an obstacle to improving our relations.'"
"Other noticeable points of the message were the regime's emphasis on the economy.
'Pyongyang, for the first time in many years, has put more focus on the economy than the military,' [Professor Yang Moo-jin of the University of North Korean Studies] said.
North Korea is seen to be under the influence of an ongoing global financial crisis.
Conditions are expected to have worsened in the wake of stringent sanctions laid down by the U.N. after the North conducted its second nuclear test in May last year.
The unfavorable economic climate is part of the reason Pyongyang is so eager to mend fences with Seoul, experts said, as inter-Korean projects have served the North well financially.
'There is also a political twist to the North's focus on the economy and cooperation with others,' Professor Yang said. 'It is all proof that North Korean leader Kim Jong-il is desperate to stabilize his state before relinquishing his throne.'"
Part of the reason that North Korean people feel as they do was because of the way that their country was carpet bombed by the US, killing millions of civilians, during the civil war. This resulted in almost total devastation of their country and plays a dominant part in shaping the national ideology -- not just for the regime, but also for ordinary people over there.
Given this history -- not in the dim and distant past, but within living memory for many Koreans -- the idea that a sole American religious zealot could just wander across the border and somehow jumpstart a revolution might be the single most inane suggestion I've ever read on Metafilter.
It's kinda hard to start a revolution in a regime that controls communication and about most everything else.
But a former state department official flat-out said that he was an "unnecessary encumbrance"
The portrayal of Rosa Parks as a poor, tired and frail woman who “snapped” is not only false; it disregards the years of strategic planning by Civil Rights Movement activists and misrepresents the way in which meaningful social change actually occurs.
Though Rosa Parks became the focal point of the Montgomery Bus Boycott, the idea for a boycott was conceived at least six years before her arrest. In 1949, Jo Ann Gibson Robinson, an English professor and head of the Women’s Political Council (WPC), was ejected from a bus for refusing to move seats and resolved to do something about bus segregation. During the ensuing years, the WPC prepared to stage a bus boycott “when the time was ripe and the people were ready.” In the months prior to Parks’ arrest, at least three other African American people had been arrested for refusing to give up their bus seats to white people. When Rosa Parks was arrested, movement leaders made a strategic decision to launch the boycott because they felt Mrs. Parks had the respect and support of her community as well as the fortitude to withstand the racism and publicity that the boycott would generate. emphasis mine
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