What is 'Military-First Politics' ?
A Study on the Ruling Ideology of the Kim Jong Il Regime
선군정치란 무엇인가 -김정일 통치이데올로기 연구(영문)
Suh Okshik (서옥식)
The Graduate School of Politics & Policy
Kyonggi University, Seoul, Korea
The concept of 'Military-First Politics' has become a critical subject to understand Kim Jong Il's North Korea. A key word that can characterize North Korea under the Kim Jong Il regime is most likely 'Songun Chongchi', translated into Military-First Politics in English. If one were allowed to add another key word, the best candidate would be 'Gangsong Daeguk'(powerful and prosperous nation). These two ideas are, more or less, closely intertwined, for Military-First Politics is touted as the key instrument for building a powerful and prosperous nation.
'Songun' is a familiar term in today's North Korean propagandistic media, as is the fact that the North Korean society is highly militarized. In the joint New Year's Day editorial of 2006 the term Songun is mentioned as frequent as 42 times, a number that outbeats any other word in the editorial. It is also noteworthy to recognize that in most cases, the term is used as an adjective rather than a noun ― such as Military-First Politics, Military-First Ideology, Military-First Principle, Military-First Doctrine, Military-First Theory, Military-First Era, Military-First Leadership, Military-First Revolutionary Line, Military-First Revolutionary University, Military-First Korea and even Military-First Hairstyle.
The concept, 'Songun', is defined as prioritizing military affairs as the greatest state affair, strengthening the main agent of the revolution, promoting national defense and socialist construction as a whole with the People's Army as the main foundation. The essence of Songun politics is to ensure the security of the nation and the revolutionary gains by strengthening the People's Army as an invincible revolutionary armed forces.
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