Passport

Great moments in North Korean subtlety

North Korea continues to vehemently deny responsibility for the sinking of the South Korean warship Cheonan and hailed a U.N. resolution on the attack that noticably mentioned nothing about North Korean involvement as a "great diplomatic victory." 

But the poster below, which was photographed in Pyongyan by a visiting Chinese businessman and published by Radio Free Asia sends kind of different message.

 


The caption reads: “If you come at us, (we will destroy you) with a single blow!”

Hat tip: DailyNK

Passport

Est-ce qu'elle vit encore, la Francafrique?

Today in an FP "debate" of sorts, we asked if France is still messing up Africa. Boubacar Boris Diop, a contributor to our Failed States issue, says a resounding Yes. Yves Gounin says No. And today, on Bastille Day, France has it's own reply: human rights advocates in France say Yes. Nicolas Sarkozy, who invited 13 African heads of state to Paris for the festivites, says No.

Well you tell me. Does it portend support if the French president invites a despotic president to Paris for a fête and the honors the dictator's army by allowing them to march in the parade? Whether Sarkozy is actually helping Chadian leader Idriss Déby lock up the opposition, or Paul Biya extend his term indefinitely is kind of beside the point. He's behind these men symbolically, and well, that's all that Africans back home will see. These are exactly the sorts of occassions that perpetuate rumors of French interventionism. And whether true or not, it does make it pretty darn hard for Paris to get anything constructive done on the continent -- at least with any popular support. 

So what do I think? Francafrique lives as long as African believe it does. And if this is any signal, it will be around for a while. 

MIGUEL MEDINA/AFP/Getty Images