Obama shares his thoughts about North Korea
Barack Obama stared across no man's land into North Korea and came up with some not very profound observations about that country.
"It is like you are in a time warp," Obama said Sunday, after he toured a rocky border post in the demilitarised buffer zone that has split the Korean peninsular for longer than he has been alive.
"It is like you are looking across 50 years into a country that has missed 40 years or 50 years of progress," Obama marvelled later, after taking a helicopter back to teeming, prosperous Seoul, just 25 miles (40 kilometres) away.
Later, Obama shared his observations with reporters as he held a joint press conference with South Korea's President Lee Myung-Bak, on the eve of a major nuclear summit in Seoul.
And he seemed unable to process the logic of three generations of leaders who had kept their people imprisoned, impoverished and in thrall to successive personality cults.
"If a country can't feed its people effectively, if it can't make anything of any use to anybody, if it has no exports other than weapons and even those aren't ones that in any way would be considered state of the art.
"If it can't deliver on any indicators of well-being... for its people... then you'd think you'd want to try something different," Obama said in a highly undiplomatic and unusually frank public appearance.
"There are certain things that just don't work and what they are doing doesn't work."
Fascinating. The president is "unable to process" as the articles says, the fanaticism of the leadership cult in North Korea and how its citizens are so thoroughly and completely indoctrinated. He can't imagine a country without food stamps and welfare.
Can he see the symbiosis between his ideology and the NoKo's? Not likely.