Meet the Monster

Lilley, James R.

Books in Review - "Meet the Monster" promised to double investors' money within three months. How? He would take advantage of currency fluctuations and devaluations in Europe by buying postal reply coupons in...

...After reading Ponzi's Scheme it's hard not to believe the petite man from Italy with the big smile didn't generally have good intentions for mankind (though to Hell they surely did lead many...
...Meet the Monster THIS BOOK CONVINCINGLY DESCRIBES the "roots of madness" in North Korea...
...There has always been romanticism for the contrary and the unknown, and these sentiments flourish today among the apologists for North Korea...
...When he casually inquired about her condition, a doctor explained that gangrene had set in and her only hope was a skin graft but that he could not find anyone willing to "give up as little as an inch of his skin for her...
...CONTRIBUTORS THE ;toad Andrew: EatABmt CONSERVATIVE PatrrA Dario I Bucha Baucha `,a DEBATE ,an Lhot Co.hn ON Ąt Ih Roterl F Uheeuth Reuel PoMurma IRAQ Marc CuecM Astor Davis Hao:on Open Pamirs Ro)ert I(33arr Charles R Kesler H,,, kicsihy'af Charles K: autaammer s9i r,am Kn,toThis Ed R: r5 ct N.^hanl' Fr::,t Fn,teti ; .lh ,r George r '"thy col is an imisp sa e to the most intellectually interesting and politically important debate in the U.S...
...And that is its great value...
...ANATOL LIEVEN Pad CAMBRIDGE IP7 UNIVERSITY PRESS www.cambridge.org/us EDITED BY GARY ROSEN SEPTEMBER 2005 THE AMERICAN SPECTATOR 77...
...He was U.S...
...And so it does...
...Kim Jong-u, a former "senior economist" and for a while a pet of Kim Il-Sung and Kim Jong-Il, is said to have died in 1987, but he was alive and well in 1995 when I visited North Korea and he spouted an endless series of economic statistics...
...This and other stories from the remarkably odd life of Charles Ponzi make it seem all the more plausible that he was telling the truth when he said of his robbing Peter to pay Paul scheme, "Perhaps my activities were not entirely within the law...
...That is the question we face today...
...There are a few factual slips which could have been eliminated with closer fact-checking...
...Some European diplomats holed up in isolated Pyongyang dismiss the stories of massacres of would-be North Korean escapees as enemy propaganda...
...Still, when Ponzi pleaded guilty to those first scam charges in Boston, he passed along a piece of paper to reporters that read, "Sic transit gloria mundi...
...He would take advantage of currency fluctuations and devaluations in Europe by buying postal reply coupons in one country and selling them in another...
...There would be further humiliation for Ponzimore charges, deportation, loss of his wife, other failed businessesóbut he never lost hope, even if he knew in his heart of hearts there would be no coming back from the mistakes he made...
...It's true...
...Jasper Becker, however, provides evidence of many who personally experienced the horrors of this border area, and he high-lights the wretched plight of desperate refugees hiding illegally in China who unsuccessfully threw themselves on the mercies of foreign embassies in Beijing and Shenyang...
...If it sounds complicated, it should...
...It documents acts of terror and aggression to make the case that all of us must work to change this regime or face the prospect of a nuclear-armed state with a very bad track record seeking to harm us and our allies in Asia...
...North Koreans' stubborn defiance of the world and rejection of toady-ism (Sadae Juyi) even projects across the border into the South and captures the young and disgruntled...
...Never...
...For the Goulds, for the Ponzis, for all of usóno matter what the New York Times editorializes...
...The author suggests regime change...
...He includes in his rebuke the U.S., South Korea, and China, the three external players who matter the most...
...Thus passes worldly glory...
...Why does this happen and why is it tolerated in the case of North Korea...
...But my intent was honest...
...This book will help us to make the right decision, unimpeded by rose-colored glasses...
...ambassador to the People's Republic of China from 1989-1991 and to the Republic of Korea from 1986-1989...
...Rogue Regime: Kim Jong-II and the Looming Threat of North Korea by Jasper Becker (OXFORD UNIVERSITY PRESS, 300 PAGES, $28) Reviewed by James R. Lilley B O O K S I N R E V I E W between North Korea and China...
...The author describes the regime's skillful weaving of traditional Korean autocratic rule with Communist techniques of thought control and organized repression...
...The North Korean regime can be bribed to put a lid on its most obvious nuclear capabilities, but it is determined to have weapons of mass destruction, both to extort concessions and to assure its survival...
...I talked to a garrulous British diplomat, who waxed eloquent on the pastoral scenes of the border James R. Lilley, a senior fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, researches China, Taiwan, and Korea...
...That same night, Ponzi gave up 72 inches of his skin and another 50 inches shortly thereafter, landing him in the hospital for three months, in pain and permanently scarred across large swaths of his body...
...B O O K S I N R E V I E W promised to double investors' money within three months...
...This is an important book...
...Ponzi had a far-fetched dream he would turn his losses around and not only make back investors' money he had blown but also become a populist hero in the process...
...He disappeared shortly thereafter...
...All for a woman he did not know in a state he could not wait to leave...
...Paektusan or "white peak mountain" is not Chang Baishan in Chinese but Baitoushan...
...But the book does not simply catalogue the current distortions and repressions the regime engages in...
...on the war in Iraq...
...The author clearly finds the response to this North Korean threat irresponsible, ineffective, and appeasing...
...Temporary setbacks, perhaps, but 76 THE AMERICAN SPECTATOR SEPTEMBER 2005 utter defeat...
...It never actually worked, except on the smallest of scales...
...Once while living the life of a transient immigrant in Alabama, Ponzi heard a nurse he hardly knew was severely burned in a gas stove explosion...
...No one except Ponzi, that is...
...I was posted to Beijing in 1973, when even Chinese-speaking officers had limited access in that closed society, but at least we knew when we were getting the Potemkin treatment...
...TheRight War...
...If he truly did not believe that, he would have, as he said many times, fled with millions of dollars rather than sitting in Boston trying to think up a new scheme to give investors the promised return as he watched investigators close in on him...
...Bravely he ended his memoirs with the lines: "Life, hope and courage are a combination which knows no defeat...
...The key question is how does one do that, given South Korea's and China's differing priorities...
...For instance, then-Secretary of State Madeleine Albright returns from North Korea in 2000 and gushes that Kim Jong-Il is "a good listener, very decisive and practical" who admires the Swedish economic model...
...Ponzi sold the scheme anyway...
...It is the history of how this monstrous regime got to where it is and why...
...North Korea also exploits a strong native sentiment of nationalism, and Becker points to the relentless propaganda centered on pro-found Korean feelings of paranoia about its large powerful and predatory neighbors...
...In his perceptive monograph on the North Korean concept of self-reliance or Ju Che (Korea's Road to Unification: Potholes, Detours and Dead Ends) Ben Kremenak, an Asian scholar at the University of Maryland, goes further by explaining the highly emotional attachment of the North Koreans to the God King, a religious figure and stern protective father who punishes the few to sustain the many...
...The basic question is not what the North Korean state isóthere should be little disagreement on its sorry statusóbut what to do about it...
...He could not shut up as he gave his first-hand, "eyewitness" account of a border that to him resembled the border between Canada and the United States or that between England and Scotland...
...As one wag put it, that is not the Swedish model Kim Jong-Il is interested in...
...Despite its fatal flaws, he sold it to himself and others with the dreamy notion that somehow "a little dollar could start on a journey across the ocean and return home in six weeks, married with a couple of kids...

Vol. 38 • September 2005 • No. 7


 
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