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ICYMI: Victor Cha says "Kim Jong Un is no Reformer"

February 1, 2013 2 minute Read by Amanda Schnetzer

In case you missed it, Victor Cha’s recent Foreign Policy article on North Korean leader Kim Jong Un warns against any wishful thinking that the communist regime’s young new leader intends to liberalize the country.  Cha dismisses Kim’s supposed Swiss education, attractive new wife, and love of pizza and NBA stars as “inane details” that distract attention from flooding, food shortages, and other crises that the regime is ignoring.  Indeed, while Kim recently enjoyed himself at a variety show in Pyongyang featuring Mickey and Minnie Mouse (of course, held without licensing the characters from Disney), an estimated 150,000 to 200,000 North Koreans continued to languish in prisons and slave labor camps for so-called offenses against the state.  Especially worth noting in Cha’s piece is his discussion of unofficial markets, cell phones, the Internet, and other evidence in North Korea of “a society that is slowly and fitfully opening up” in spite of the regime.

This post was written by Amanda Schnetzer, Director of Human Freedom at the George W. Bush Institute


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Amanda Schnetzer
Amanda Schnetzer

Amanda Schnetzer is Director of Global Initiatives at the George W. Bush Institute in Dallas, Texas. In this role, she is responsible for developing innovative research, programmatic, and policy efforts to advance societies rooted in political and economic freedom and to empower women to lead in their communities and countries. Previously she served as the Bush Institute’s founding director of the Human Freedom Initiative. 

Amanda has twenty years of experience in the international arena and a background in public policy research and analysis, public affairs, and management of diverse, high-level stakeholders. As senior fellow and director of studies at Freedom House in New York, Amanda guided research for the organization’s definitive studies of freedom. She began her career at the American Enterprise Institute in Washington, DC, supporting research on U.S. foreign policy and international politics. Amanda is a published writer and a member of the Council on Foreign Relations. She holds degrees from Georgetown University and Southern Methodist University, where she graduated Phi Beta Kappa.

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