Will North Korea fail the Aaronovitch test, too?
Yesterday David Aaronovitch wrote in his Times column (£) that dictatorships often appealed to conspiracy theory in order to explain away glitches in their matrix, or failures which would otherwise embarrass them.
Aaronovitch exemplifies the Soviet Union:
In Stalinist Russia the famous show trials of the 1930s created a catch-all explanation for the pain and murderous incompetence brought about by over-rapid industrialisation. Why did factories explode? It was Trotskyist saboteurs, in league with the Nazis or the Japanese. By 1953 the “natural” deaths of senior figures were revealed to have been the work of Zionist Jewish doctors, paid by the Americans.
Instead of coming clean and admitting they’re subject to human failure, dictators often keep up appearances by blaming foreign powers.
Unlike when bored teenagers in their rooms invent conspiracy theories to add exciting narrative where there is none, dictatorial nations create conspiracy in order to appear beyond fault.
That’s why Kim Jong-un will have to think on his feet fast.
News has come in of North Korea’s recent dismal failure to launch a rocket into the orbit with the purpose of installing an earth observation satellite.
Even though it had been a failed mission, it was in contravention of the law and against North Korea’s stated commitments.
A news reporter interrupted scheduled television to inform the public of the failure, which was then described as embarrassing.
This is bold for a dictatorship.
No conspiracy theory – yet.
The Korean central news agency have said that “Scientists, technicians and experts are now looking into the cause of the failure” which may still return some moronic conspiratorial “uncovering” of US or South Korean intervention.
But until then the new President Kim has failed the Aaronovitch test for what dictators do to save face, after wasting money that could have potentially fed the starving in his country.
ITV News’ China Correspondent Angus Walker writes on Twitter
gone midnight in the press centre set up for the rocket launch in North Korea and no official has spoken to reporters to explain failure