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A Cage Full of Freedom

September 26th, 2002 · No Comments

In a bit of good news on the international front, the no-longer-Grey Lady reports that the token non-Muslim member of Bush’s Axis of Evil is making a halting attempt to join the 20th century, a mere two years after its end:

“In the most significant reversal of economic policy since North Korea was founded, that Communist nation has announced the establishment of an autonomous capitalist investment zone near its border with China.”

So (you’re thinking) what’s the catch? Well, this is going to be freedom Kim Jong Il style. Which is a little like needlepoint Genghis Khan style. What that means, for example, is: “Foreigners will reportedly be able to enter without visas, although the government will build walls around the city to control access by North Koreans.” And WaPo tells us that, according to the government’s spokestooge, “the government will remove the zone’s residents and replace them with North Koreans from elsewhere.” Now that must be a technocrat’s wet dream — being able to literally rearrange society at whim. Doubtless they’ll fill the new region with the most loyal sycophants possible, though it’s not clear that they’ll be top entrepreneur material. Oh, best part: NK is gonna hire a Chinese multi-millionaire (now a Dutch national) to run the place, and that fellow, Yang Bin, will in turn appoint Western businessmen as legislators to run the place “along European lines.” I’d be surprised if this farce actually worked — who’s going to trust their assets to a region whose autonomy from a communist despot is at the despot’s whim? — but I hope it works at least well enough to destabilize him. After all, the whole “socialist paradise” line might not go down quite as easily when the local dictator’s telling you that they actually need capitalism to salvage national prosperity and, oh yeah, you’re going to want in so badly we need a big honking wall to keep you out. Though it will at least give some future American president an excuse to deliver the line: “Mr. Kim, tear down this wall!”

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