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Power and Primacy

Abridged and Updated Edition

A.B. Abrams

Today the Asia-Pacific region stands on the verge of major change, with centuries of western dominated regional order being seriously challenged and quite possibly nearing its end. The emergence of a potential new order dominated by regional rather than extra-regional powers - an «Asia for the Asiatics» in the words of Japan’s pan-Asian scholars - means it is now more than ever essential to understand the history of the current western-dominated system, the full implications should it continue and the nature of the West’s intentions towards the region.

This book undertakes the task of elucidating the complex and little-known history of western intervention in the Asia-Pacific, providing information critical to understanding contemporary developments

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Chapter 12

Targeting North Korea: Cognitive Dissonance and Information War


It is not a matter of what is true that counts, but a matter of what is perceived to be true.1


North Korea’s emphasis on military readiness and the development of a heavily self-reliant economy – more recently named as the policy of Songun and ideology of Juche – have since the Korean War meant that the country has been well prepared to endure both a military attack and economic pressure by its adversaries. Military options against the country by the United States are widely considered unfeasible – with Pentagon and U.S. experts estimating that a conventional invasion would lead to the loss of approximately 200,000 American military personnel.2, 3 Other reports indicate that the Pentagon predicts a loss of up to 500,000 troops under its command within 90 days of the outbreak of war, though this figure includes South Korean military losses as well.4 These did not account for North Korean weapons of mass destruction or its ability to deliver them to U.S. territories such as Guam or Hawaii – let alone the U.S. mainland itself. Economic warfare, though waged for several decades,5 has had limited success – with the DPRK sustaining economic growth and keeping both exchange rates6 and prices for most basic goods stable despite harsh economic sanctions.7, 8, 9 As USA Today reported at the end of 2017, a year of unprecedented Western sanctions against the country: ‘North Korea’s economy has proven resilient and seems to have fended off the...

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