Wednesday, March 24, 2010

A Favored Narrative

Blaine Harden reports in the Washington Post that resistance is growing in North Korea. The article is responsible in what it reports, but I won't be surprised if shortly we see expectations that the resisters are going to overthrow the regime, as we have had far too much of about Iran.

There's a real pull to the narrative of brave resisters destroying an oppressive government, especially, I think, for us Americans, because it's part of our very own national mythology. More recently, it seems to have been recreated in the fall of the Soviet Union. And it worked in both of those two cases.

But in those two cases, there's an awful lot that the myth glosses over. Years of preparation building political parties and coalitions. Having a government ready to take over. The willingness of the oppressor to let go.

So we're not going to see that myth repeated any time soon in North Korea or Iran. When that preparation, and the willingness of the oppressor to let go, weren't there, it's been ugly. Hungary in 1956. Czechoslovakia in 1968.

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