The proliferation of nuclear weapons combined with anti-American sentiment in government and rogue groups in Iran and North Korea certainly give rise for concern in the United States’ government’s dealing with these countries. The nature of these hostilities must be uncovered in order to proceed with understanding how these sentiments arose historically, culturally, and as a potential part of religiosity. Certainly the political regimes of both countries have their similarities in the propaganda that is portrayed to each country’s citizens respectively.
However, groups like Hezbollah in Iran certainly make this country unique, considering the rogue nature of this group as well as the religious underpinnings that help to support it and it’s militancy. However, North Korea is unlike Iran in that the citizens of North Korea are strictly under the hard and heavy rule of the regime without rogue groups and religions motivations to further complicate this anti-American issue. In looking at both political regimes, Iran is a theocracy with religion as it’s core base of decisions made for and against the Western and non-Arab world.
North Korea is a highly rigid authoritarian regime that violates the human rights of it’s people consistently in order to scare them into submission. As well, the propaganda that is spread regarding the Western world keeps citizens in both countries in a very fearful and controlled environment. When this fear leads to anger, it is of no surprise that citizens turn to a militant way of thinking, in order to stave of their fear. However, in Iran religion also demonizes non-Muslim citizens and leaders of the United States as infidels, deserving of punishment.
In North Korea, religion plays no motive, but the move to militancy is a way to stave of starvation and imprisonment, which is a common tactic of Kim Jong-il’s regime. This type of socialization experienced by the people of both countries is a part of the strict indoctrination by two regimes that employ fear as a weapon of mass control. Conversely, the American people are in fear of weapons of mass destruction and the divide between the American culture and the two Eastern cultures are vast.
The regime of Kim Jong-il can be considered more of a cult with a cult following of the people of North Korea toward their leader, who is worshipped like a religious God might be. On the other hand Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is classed as a president of his country, through a supposedly democratic and theocratic election. However, many members of opposing parties have voiced concern over the fairness of these elections. Dissent toward Ahmadinejad has been met with violence and imprisonment, as well as dissent against Kin Jong-il.
Therefore, it is fair to say that since Kim Jong-il is to remain North Korea’s leader throughout his lifetime and that there is much speculation that Ahmadinejad can unfairly rig elections, that the people have reason to be fearful of the power of the ruling party for an indefinite period of time. Certainly the religious customs associated with Islam can be upsetting to women, as they are oppressed and virtually voiceless in the cultural and military change that might be beneficial to peace and prosperity to the future of Iran.
Men in this country, on the other hand, have little incentive to change, since their gender allows them much power. The fact that the government, as well, supports Hezbollah, Hamas, and other Palestinian terrorist organizations and has be known to harbor members of Al Qaeda and the Taliban also gives the men in this country a reason to see how militancy is a way to join in causes that have meaning to them culturally and have the potential to unite them with an entire movement across borders and with supporters in various countries in the Muslim world and elsewhere.
Although it must be noted that this type of unified Arab ideal is a relatively new cultural trend, as much of the hatred that is aimed toward America is sourced to be from America’s support of Iraq in the Iran-Iraq War. As well, interpreting the Quaran as a source of inspiration for militancy can compound the problem with men in the country becoming a part of a militant group. Although, women cannot be counted out completely, most of the members of militant groups are men.
The militancy of the people of North Korea can be contributed to the strict government policy that supports military strength and has allies with similarly strong governments with notably strong armies; China and Russia. Though the people of North Korea are in dire poverty, the military is one way of avoiding this and becoming part of an aspiring nation that simply refuses to stop acquiring and testing missiles despite sanctions imposed by the United States and their allies.
Certainly when sanctions involve economic issues, such as cutting off needed food or equipment for farming, the already indoctrinated people of the country can easily back this leader when he makes hateful claims about and against America. As well, the nature of the country to be cut-off from modes of information from the outside world does nothing to help the citizens in realizing that their severely impoverished country with a horrible record of human rights violations is not always giving out correct and accurate information about their enemy, the United States.
It can be stated that Kim Jong-il and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad are in essence, terrorists themselves as they terrorize their citizens through oppression, indoctrination, and propaganda. The citizens of both countries are socialized from an early age to see the power of the ruling party and the futility of uprising against them.
The fear that is instilled in the people can then translate in militancy and a feeling of being part of something powerful or productive. In the case of the military members of North Korea, poverty can be averted. In the case of Iran, a feeling of following the Quaran along with being united with Muslims all over the world can lead to a powerful military force either through the state of insurgency groups.
Courtney from Study Moose
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