Former Brookings Expert
Richard O. Lempert was a nonresident senior fellow with Governance Studies at the Brookings Institution. During 2012-2013, he was a visiting fellow in Governence Studies at the Brookings Institution. From June 2008 until July 2011, he served as chief scientist in the Human Factors/Behavioral Sciences Division of the Science and Technology Directorate in the Department of Homeland Security; and from June 2002 through May 2006, he took leave from the University of Michigan to serve as the division director for the Social and Economic Sciences at the National Science Foundation. His research interests are broad, encompassing, among other things, matters related to national security, government bureaucracy, juries, race relations and social science methods.
[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.