The Two Koreas

Thursday, January 02, 2014

Robert Carlin discusses the division of Korea into North and South after World War II, and how the two countries and countries have diverged since. His book The Two Koreas looks at their struggle for supremacy.


Robert Carlin
News, weather, Radiolab, Brian Lehrer and more.
Get the best of WNYC in your inbox, every morning.

Comments [17]

Victor from New jersey

I found commentary of the North Korean expert misleading and biased. He blamed Bush administration (very cliche these days) for braking down negotiations with N. Korea. He failed to mention multiple serious violations by N. Korean regime well documented by the UN agency. Like continuation of the nuclear bomb program, hiding nuclear waste, denying full inspections, etc. Not to mention constant declarations of hostilities towards the US. Many of these events took place during the Clinton administration and continued after Clinton left office. So statements like "Bush administration broke the Nuclear Framework agreement" are not accurate to say the least. Calling N.Korea 'evil' is just a confirmation of its real nature and policies conducted for many years. Several White House administrations changed, but the North actions and N. Korean propaganda did not... It is still inhuman hostile totalitarian country. Do not blame a democracy for telling truth.

Jan. 04 2014 10:36 AM
sas005 from Middletown,NJ

I am no foreign policy expert by any stretch, but I think Mr. Carlin made many valid points regarding US policy and N. Korea. Demonizing a regime or people doesn't advance the interests of either party or those obligated to follow US policy/mandates. It is criminal how the North Korean people are kept in the dark about everything, all the while on sub-subsistant food ratins. I do think Bush/Cheney did more harm to progress than any other admin in memory. It was school-yard diplomacy tactics as was the invasion of Iraq( though much more calculated than NK policy). Nixon was many things, but he opened the door to a reasonable relationship with Communist China that has endured and grown. (thank God he was a Republican doing this). Overall, I think we need to talk with N. Korea and other 'evil' entities to advance peaceful solutions.. (including Cuba- very overdue). Trying to other-throw a regime we don't like is costly in human treasure and capital that could go to more deserving endeavors.

Jan. 03 2014 09:14 AM
Amy from Manhattan

jgarbuz, you didn't say "bomb," you said "nuke." The degree of damage a nuclear bomb does to the civilian population is far out of proportion to the goal of removing the regime.

Jan. 02 2014 01:20 PM

Re: fear...This regime totally functions on fear...They publicly executed 80 people for something such as watching a South Korean soap opera...

Jan. 02 2014 01:00 PM
jgarbuz from Queens

To Levy

None of the regimes you mentioned were anywhere nearly as murderous as NK, Hitler's Germany, Stalin, Saddam, et al. They were brutal but not to the point where I would consider they would have to be nuked. There are still brutal regimes all over, but one has to surpass a certain level of evil behavior to be a just candidate for radiation treatment. Like cancer. Not every small cancer requires a maximalist response. Some can be treated and contained over time, and remissions do happen at times.

Jan. 02 2014 12:57 PM
Levy from Manhattan

"Appeasement of murderous, evil regimes" let's add the Shah of Iran, Somoza, South Africa (before Mandela) as well as South Korea before the reform and Taiwan before it's reform ...

Jan. 02 2014 12:53 PM
Ward from Ohio

Does the expert believe it is possible that Dennis Rodman is working with the CIA?

Jan. 02 2014 12:50 PM
J Kim from Manhattan

Let's hear about the People's Republic of Korea that was organized before the entrance of US and Soviet groups into Korea. Which dismantled the Japanese colonization, instituted and reform ( like the USA did in Japan) and greeted the US and soviet armies. The PRK was allowed to work with the Soviets by the Soviets but the USA refused to recognize this indigenous expression of Korean soverignity after 60 years of Japanese occupation and exploitation. This rejection formed the basis of S Korean resentment to the US occupation to this day... it was behind S Korean sympathies towards the North as seen during the Kuang Ju rebellion in the 80's where the South Korean government massacred civilians using the army to oil and shoot civilians including pregnant women, according to the Time Life News service reporter dispatches sent at that time

Jan. 02 2014 12:50 PM
genejoke from Brooklyn

Is Mr. Carlin related to George Carlin? Because he's gotta be joking.

Jan. 02 2014 12:47 PM
Fishmael from NYC

jgarbuz: "it should have been nuked decades ago."

you do realize that nuclear weapons will mostly kill innocent men women and children? You sound like you might fit into NK's military brass.

Jan. 02 2014 12:47 PM
jgarbuz from Queens


How did we bomb Germany without killing Germans? How did we nuke Hiroshima and Nagasaki without killing civilians? How did we win any war without killing civilians? The question is, which is worse, the continuation of the brutality of the regime, or having to kill some to free the rest? It's always been a tough question to answer.

Jan. 02 2014 12:46 PM
Amy from Manhattan

jgarbuz, how do you nuke a regime without also nuking the people that regime is oppressing?

Jan. 02 2014 12:43 PM
jgarbuz from Queens

Nonsense. Appeasement of murderous, evil regimes has NEVER worked! Never. No matter how you tried to figure out a Hitler, a Stalin or a Saddam or NK crazy dynasty, they continued to murder their own people en masse. Such people cannot be reasoned with. You have to keep a noose around their necks and only hope they hang themselves or in some cases they have to be hanged.

Jan. 02 2014 12:43 PM
genejoke from Brooklyn

Ask Mr. Carlin if he would be willing to relocate to North Korea.

He's making a lot of excuses for NK leaders' behavior. The people are brainwashed, starving and literally dying in the streets.

Jan. 02 2014 12:42 PM
Amy from Manhattan

Was the Agreed Framework a binding treaty or something short of that? If it was binding, did the Bush administration violate the law by abrogating it?

Jan. 02 2014 12:41 PM
jgarbuz from Queens

NK is about as evil a regime as has ever existed on earth. It should have been nuked decades ago.

Jan. 02 2014 12:36 PM
George from Brooklyn

How does the North/South Korea split compare to the West/East Germany split?

What role does racial ideology play in North Korean thinking?

Jan. 02 2014 02:09 AM

Leave a Comment

Register for your own account so you can vote on comments, save your favorites, and more. Learn more.
Please stay on topic, be civil, and be brief.
Email addresses are never displayed, but they are required to confirm your comments. Names are displayed with all comments. We reserve the right to edit any comments posted on this site. Please read the Comment Guidelines before posting. By leaving a comment, you agree to New York Public Radio's Privacy Policy and Terms Of Use.