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FREE READ Á The Impossible State Å ❴KINDLE❵ ❆ The Impossible State Author Victor Cha – “A meaty fast paced portrait of North Korean society economy politics and foreign policy” Foreign AffairsThe definitive account of North Korea its veiled past and uncertain future from the former “A meatyOns one facing a pivotal and disuieting transition of power from tyrannical father to inexperienced son and delves into the ideology that leads an oppressed starving populace to cling so fiercely to its failed leadershipWith rare personal anecdotes from the author's time in Pyongyang and his tenure as an adviser in the White House this engagingly written authoritative and highly accessible history offers much needed answers to the most pressing uestions about North Korea and ultimately warns of a regime that might be closer to its end than many might think a political collapse for which America and its allies may be woefully unprepared. It has probably become apparent by now that I am fascinated with North Korea and how such an isolated country can still exist in this world of ever increasing abilities to communicate with people from around the globe I write this review from my couch in Chengdu China where I just got off Skype with my parents who live in Idaho have emailed several friends back in the States and caught up on world news via a variety of online newspapers I know what I am talking about when it comes to being connected Recently I reviewed Escape from Camp 14 which was a memoir of one man’s time in the horrific camps of Northern Korea The Impossible State is uite a different look at the country taking an in depth approach to everything from the history of the country to detailed looks at each of the Kim family members who have ruled throughout the last decades to the economy as it is today and why it can’t sustain itselfSee the rest of this review and at wwwinsearchoftheendofthesidewalkcom

Victor Cha ☆ 1 FREE READ

E its appalling record of human rights abuses and its belligerent relationship with the United States and analyzes the regime's major security issues from the seemingly endless war with its southern neighbor to its frightening nuclear ambitions all in light of the destabilizing effects of Kim Jong il's recent deathHow this enigmatic nation state one that regularly violates its own citizens' inalienable rights and has suffered famine global economic sanctions a collapsed economy and near total isolation from the rest of the world has continued to survive has long been a uestion that preoccupies the West Cha reveals a land of contradicti. The Impossible Book How to Get North Korea WrongI wrote this review when the book came out I'll let you decide if it has held up to the test of timeThe North Korean regime was supposed to have collapsed by now Indeed for years analysts debated not if the regime would fall but whether the landing would be hard or soft Instead it has become a nuclear power and continues to thumb its nose at the world defying the best efforts of a succession of American presidents to lure the reclusive state into a constructive relationship with the rest of the worldGeorgetown University professor Victor Cha served one of the presidents who tried to strike a deal with the North Koreans and the one on whose watch North Korea acuired nukes George W Bush Cha is the first member of the North Korea team from Bush's second term to publish a book about his experiences negotiating with the North which gives him a uniue perspective He was the first Korea specialist and the first Korean American to be the Asia director at the National Security Council NSC and now contributes regularly to the New York Times and the Washington Post making him one of the influential voices on North Korea both inside and outside the BeltwayUnfortunately his book is than disappointing; it's just plain awful and a huge missed opportunity Cha not only fails to shed any light on North Korea policymaking during the Bush years he also gets the country completely wrongFor starters Cha tries to spice up his book with his personal experiences in North Korea but winds up with little than banal travelogues At several points he lambasts CNN Time and broadly the Western media for their shallow depictions of North Korea but he is just as guilty Of the than 700 footnotes fewer than a handful refer to personal interviews or Korean language materials Instead we are presented with endless summaries of English language sources The book lacks the compelling narrative arc of Los Angeles Times reporter Barbara Demick's powerful Nothing to Envy Ordinary Lives in North Korea or the research and rigor of Kongdan Oh and Ralph Hassig's The Hidden People of North Korea Everyday Life in the Hermit KingdomCha's book is also almost entirely bereft of new ideas about how we should understand or deal with North Korea The only new concept I could find is nothing than academic sounding nonsense elaborating on a notion he first introduced last fall in the Washington Post Cha describes North Korea as being in the grip of neojuche revivalism or a resurgence of ideology in general and a doctrine of self reliance in particular The problem is that ideological fervor never receded; only the slogans have changed Moreover juche has not been North Korea's ruling ideology for years In his maiden speech on April 15 the North's new twenty something ruler Kim Jong un mentioned the slogans military first and a strong and prosperous nation than twenty times He mentioned juche exactly onceAmazingly Cha does not report how North Korea policy was made during the Bush years He writes about what an honor it was to write policy memos for Bush but never tells readers what he actually wrote or how his views might have differed from others in the administration Cha's biggest revelation is that he was doing the dishes when he learned that North Korea was about to test a nuclear device in 2006Cha does not even attempt to describe the personal or institutional rivalries between and within the White House the State Department the Pentagon and the intelligence community For example Assistant Secretary of State Christopher Hill is relegated to a minor role in Cha's narrative even though Hill was the chief US negotiator with North Korea and was instrumental in what few diplomatic advances the administration can claim and a thorn in the side of administration hard liners like John Bolton Cha's most revealing and colorful stories come from an excellent book about the Hermit Kingdom's nuclear program former CNN senior Asia correspondent Mike Chinoy's Meltdown The Inside Story of the North Korean Nuclear CrisisThe Impossible State also lacks the circular firing suad uality that made many of the previous Bush administration memoirs at the very least highly entertaining Cha manages to avoid the introspection of his former boss Condoleezza Rice in her book No Higher Honor or that of former North Korea negotiator Jack Prichard in Failed Diplomacy He papers over the differences between administration neocons like Dick Cheney and pro engagement pragmatists like Colin Powell but never lets the reader into the process For Cha it seems sufficient to lay all the blame for a failed policy at North Korea's doorstepCha's final chapter is entitled The End Is Near which while accurately describing the reader's place in the book does not persuasively make the case for the future of North Korea In a New York Times article he wrote immediately after Kim Jong il's death in December 2011 Cha insisted that North Korea as we know it is over Whether it comes apart in the next few weeks or over several months Yet the consensus view in Seoul is that the North Korean state is anything but close to collapse The debate there centers on whether Kim Jong un can pursue reform and opening to the West or whether he will follow in the failed footsteps of his fat


The Impossible State“A meaty fast paced portrait of North Korean society economy politics and foreign policy” Foreign AffairsThe definitive account of North Korea its veiled past and The Impossible Epubuncertain future from the former Director for Asian Affairs at the National Security CouncilIn The Impossible State seasoned international policy expert and lauded scholar Victor Cha pulls back the curtain on this controversial and isolated country providing the best look yet at North Korea's history the rise of the Kim family dynasty and the obsessive personality cult that empowers them He illuminates the repressive regime's complex economy and cultur. I found few books on North Korea in the rather large two floor Barnes and Noble store in my neighborhood and this was the only one in the Current Affairs section So this definitely fills a need all the given how much North Korea is currently in the news Cha says his purpose in the book was to give Americans needed context by telling us of North Korea's history the rise of the Kim family dynasty the repressive regime's complex economy and culture Cha is particularly ualified to be a guide A scholar on Korean affairs he has direct policy experience dealing with Pyongyang as the Director of Asian Affairs in the National Security Council from 2004 to 2007 under Bush Cha negotiated with the regime as part of the Six Party Talks on the nuclear issue At times he seemed a bit defensive about Bush's policy but to me he otherwise read as thorough and fair and there is an extensive Notes in the back sourcing his facts And even if he's clear eyed about the brutality of the regime I wouldn't describe him as a hawk he's also aware and educates the reader about the reasons to act with caution The book engrossed me from the beginning especially given Cha displayed both a sense of humor and insight in his first hand observations from the first chapters There were some dry policy wonk only parts particularly in the chapter about diplomatic efforts surrounding the nuclear issue but otherwise I found the book fascinating My first surprise I felt I should have known this but it came as a surprise to me that technically the United States is still at war with North Korea What was negotiated in 1953 was a cease fire not a peace treaty And another shock was learning that the Chinese lost 800000 lives in the Korean War It was a jolt to learn that North Korean school children learn their grammar with such examples as I kill Americans I killed Americans I will kill Americans Even their arithmetic exercises feature such examples Second surprise was that North Korea was once relatively prosperous compared to it's rival in the South That during the cold war generous aid from both Soviet Russia and Communist China made it both industrialized and gave it a higher standard of living than South Korea even if now the South has outstripped its GDP by over twenty to one That North Korea is an incredibly repressive regime arguably the least free nation on earth was no surprise But a lot of the details of the atrocities committed within and without were a shock I didn't know for instance that in an attempt to assassinate a South Korean president North Korean agents murdered the country's First Lady or that another attempt killed half of South Korea's cabinet or that North Korea admitted it abducted over a dozen Japanese citizens to train their agents It's amazing to me that over the decades a full fledged war hasn't broken out Except that the butcher bill could reach a million lives and as Cha explains the North Koreans knowing this know they can violate international norms with near impunity and extort aid to stop rattling their sabers And the chapter dealing with the forced labor camps that rival the concentration camps of Hitler and Stalin for horror are not for the faint of heart I wouldn't say this is necessarily a classic that will be read decades from now which is why I didn't give it a fifth star I didn't think it was well edited I caught a few typos some cliched phrases awkward sentences and some repeated points that could have been eliminated to make for a tauter book but it is invaluable as an informative book that gives us a sense of an isolated secretive and dangerous country and as just published in April of this year up to date