James B. Steinberg
Former Brookings Expert
[Under Kim Il Sung's juche ideology of "self-determination"] no foreign country has retained a major presence in the North [Korea], other than in an advisory capacity.
[North Korean leaders] have a vested interest in maintaining the idea of an implacable American adversary [for its military-first policy]. It enables [Kim Jong Il] to explain why [North Korea is] backward: if it were not for the evil Americans, we would be x, y, and z economically advanced.
[North Korea's isolationism] can’t go on forever. Unless North Korean leaders are content with remaining isolated and backward, there will be pressures that will erode the loyalty of central elites. [But at the same time,] they’ve had almost a 70-year history and they’re still standing. I’m not going to hazard a prediction or presume they’re going to end soon.
The change in China's global market share of income as a percentage of the world's economy is happening much faster than it did for any country ever – faster than the UK in the industrial revolution, than the US in the 1920s, than Japan in the 1950s. When you add the disruption of China to that of India you are looking at change six to 10 times faster than these other historic transformations.