I think it is clear to everyone which of the Koreas is better off at this point. Do the Chinese feel guilty at all for supporting the ideology of the North in the past, or do they write it off as a case of poor upper management?
Neither China nor US support the Korean governments with which they are respectively allied out of any desire to benefit the people of Korea. The question of which of them affords better conditions to its people is not one that bothers either of them.
Does the American government, as the now premier power in the West bear any responsibility for failed states that happen to be capitalist/democratic, since both of these dubious qualities have sometimes been imposed, sometimes with the sword and sometimes with economic power by the former ?
I do not know about the US government, but there are certainly many American citizens (not to mention many non-Americans) who feel that America bears some responsibility for various tyrannical regimes that were able to come to power and hold onto it only because of US support: Chile under Pinochet, Argentina under its military dictatorship in its “dirty war” era, Iran under the Shah, etc.
I am not sure that North Korea is a very comparable case, however. Although the Chinese were behind the West’s failure to impose its political model on the whole country, and have continued to protect the North (for strategic reasons), North Korea has certainly not followed China’s economic model, but has made its own hell in its own way. It hasn’t even really followed China’s political model. Quite apart from the very different economic systems the countries now have, their political systems have diverged too. China may still not allow much in the way of political freedom, and be very far from a democracy, but, at least since the deaths of Mao and Deng, it has not exactly been a dictatorship either, whereas NK really is one, of the worst sort.
China was in enormous internal turmoil for that entire period, and given the messes they were managing, I don’t think they blame themselves for getting a fee things wrong.
In China today, you’ll hear “Mao was 80% right.”
I’ve always been anti-communist, aside from a brief flirtation with trotskyism when I was 12, but I truly believe that communism with all it’s many, many, monstrous faults, was a decided improvement on the previous two systems — an empire run by decay and the war-lord republic. Possibly the best that could be hoped for.
Been reading a few books on the Boxer Rising recently, and without absolving the western powers ( who weren’t really asking a lot compared with their usual imperialism ) I was struck by how infinitely stupid were the actions of nearly all the Chinese at the time.
The present gluttonous leaders, and the many varieties of other people there now, seem far better, and cleverer than their recent ancestors, even after the more noisome aspects of popular enthusiasm such as the Great Leap Forward and the Cultural Revolution, and the infinite numbers of deaths, which did not show great wisdom.
I doubt there’s any great school of thought in the USA that says “the Shah was our fault, we should have let the mullahs run things from the beginning…”
I suspect the CHinese have the same attitude as we have to west-leaning dictators - we don’t like them, but is some ways they serve our purposes and are better than some alternatives. Despite what we want to think about the CIA, a lot of the internal politics is self-directed. “There is a tide in the affairs of men, which taken at the flood…” If we tried too hard to change things the result would like be as ineffective as the coup in Vietnam in the 60’s. I think we overstimate the power of our puppet strings and the Chinese ones.
North Korea was and is a pawn for the Chinese and Russians. When playing chess, one usually doesn’t get too sad when a pawn is taken.
:dubious: The “mullahs” weren’t running things before we imposed the Shah on Iran. And yes, there are Americans who point out that the mullahs took over in large part because of our interference; we set up the conditions for the rise of the theocracy.
Wasn’t it actually the Soviets which advised the North as to how to set up a Government?
Unfortunately, it was during Stalin’s tenure - the DPRK is the last Stalinist State, right down to gulags and massive purges of anything resembling a challenge, no matter how trivial.
North Korea isn’t working out too badly as far as China is concerned. It’s a source for cheap labor and resources. China can extract minerals from North Korea without having to worry about Chinese labor and safety standards, and it’s got a captive market for exports.
I can understand how prisoner/slave labor where you don’t particularly care if your labor force, um, survives makes it easier to get around those pesky OSHA type regulations. Probably more profitable too.
And, as a bonus, it’s an irritant and distraction for China’s rivals, South Korea, Japan, and the US.