Former New Mexico governor Bill Richardson granted an interview this weekend to the online magazine Salon, in which he discussed his most recent vacation to Pyongyang. Richardson calls for “out of the box” diplomacy toward the regime, and lauds Dennis Rodman’s recent visit there as “healthy.” He also claims to back the recently adopted U.N. sanctions, though he criticizes them for “driv[ing] [the regime] further into hostility.” All in all, it’s pretty boring, predictable stuff.
With one notable exception, that is: Richardson makes a truly amazing admission in the interview. It turns out he can read minds! When asked whether he noticed any changes in North Korea since his last visit, Richardson answered, “people seemed supportive of Kim Jong Un.” He continued, “they seem to be happier . . . my sense it that internally, the North Korean people felt that the last missile launch was a triumph for them.” Of course, there is no place on Earth where it’s harder to tell what people really think than North Korea. Traditionally, not only have North Koreans accused of saying anything uncomplimentary about the government been sent to gulags, but their entire families have been, too. But, amazingly, Richardson is able to penetrate this wall of terror and discern that North Korean citizens “support” the regime and are “happier."
Of course, the governor does concede just a sentence later that “they’re lacking in basic needs like food.” But who cares, so long as they’re “happier?” North Koreans, it seems, can live by missile launches alone.