How Free Are North Korea, South Korea, and Thailand Essay

How Free Are North Korea, South Korea, and Thailand Essay

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When analyzing how free a country is, there is a spectrum that the state can fall on with one extreme being not free, the other extreme being free, and partly free being right in the middle. When looking at North and South Korea, despite once being a single country until their split in 1945, they are on two very opposite sides of that freedom scale. North Korea is one of the most oppressive and authoritarian states in modern history, while South Korea enjoys democracy and a great amount of freedom. Meanwhile the Philippines, a close neighbor to the Koreas, is right in the middle of an authoritarian regime and a democracy and is considered a semi-authoritarian regime. The main characteristics that cause these countries to vary so greatly can generally be looked at in terms of election process, branches of government, and civil liberties. As of 2013, North Korea, South Korea, and Thailand each diverge significantly and meaningfully in these categories, thus causing them to wear the different labels of “Democracy”, “Authoritarian”, and “Semi-Authoritarian”.
As of late, North Korea has been the butt end of jokes, Internet memes, and heavy criticisms from most of the free world—and for a good reason. With the passing of former North Korean leader, Kim Jong-il in 2011, all the world watched with uncertainty as his successor and youngest son, Kim Jong-un, took over, and tensions went from bad to worse. Fast forward two years to 2013, and North Korea continues to boast a 7 on the Freedom House “Freedom in the World” index, with 1 being the best, and 7 being the worst: a spot that they have held consistently since the “Freedom in the World” index began in 1998. It is easy to justify why North Korea is an authoritarian regime. First, the ...


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... has all the qualities that make a regime authoritarian, and is showing no signs of making any progress otherwise.
Meanwhile just right across the boarder is South Korea—the territory that got away. South Korea was established in 1948, shortly after the schism during World War II. Years later in 1987, the country started transitioning to a democracy (Freedom House, South Korea, 2013). South Korea’s score on the “freedom scale” is almost as opposite as it can get from its Northern counterpart: a 1.5. Also unlike North Korea, South Korea’s rating has seen improvement overtime. From the start of the Freedom index publication in 1998, and until 2004, the country had a rating of 2. South Korea is a great example of a democracy, as it has a directly elected president who is held to a single five-year term, and a directly elected National Assembly with a four-year term.

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