I have to disagree with this. The mullahs allowed only once someone close to a true believer - Mahmoud Ahmadinejad - to run for presidency in Iran and thanks to his actions they came really close to being bombed. This freaked the religious/security ruling elite that they barred him from running in the last election. The Iranians overwhelmingly voted for the most liberal candidate that was allowed to run in their theocratic quasi democracy.
I think we have to look at extremist ideologies (radical islam, communism…) in a wider context - namely whether a certain ideology and the corresponding political system are imposed top-down onto a population or it permeates into the ruling class from the bottom up.
That’s why communism collapsed so quickly in the Eastern Bloc, it was imposed top-down, despite millions of party members and was lacking true believers, meaning people who actually believed in the official line.
In Iran, as in the USSR and the Eastern Bloc in general, a repressive political system has been imposed onto the population as a whole. Women in Iran are regularly being caned and beaten because the religious police think they’re dressing immodestly and showing too much hair beneath their headscarves. Iranians are by far the least religious of all Muslim countries.
Compare that to the retarded “hijab day” on Western campuses where Muslim ideologues with an agenda are trying to force an explanation that hijab is the defining aspect of womanhood in the Muslim world.
Turkey is the opposite example to Iran - here, secularism was imposed top-down on a population that was deeply religious - I’m talking about poor peasants from eastern Anatolia. As soon as they’ve gathered enough political momentum they rolled back all secular reforms, courtesy of their champion, dictator in all but a name Recep Erdogan.
Fifteen years ago headscarves were forbidden is schools and government institutions in Turkey and now women are being harassed and attacked in the streets for not wearing one.
Pretty much shows the limits of an imposed top-down system as well as those failed “nation building” exercises.
But back to North Korea - the fact is, no one knows what to do with them, including South Korea and China. The Chinese are pretty much exasperated by them and have no option but to provide them with economic life support. After all, what are the other options? There is no “opposition” no alternative to the current regime by the brainwashed population.
South Koreans, despite all the “reunification” talk are not very keen on North Korea. Even if by some magic the Kim regime disappeared overnight the reunification costs would be untold billions, ruining South Korea’s economy. Can you bridge half a century of development overnight?
Germany poured over two trillion dollars into former East Germany and now, almost thirty years later the economic differences are still present.
As for the apocalyptic sentiments go, the North Koreans have them by the truckload. During the famine in the 1990ies the North Korean military leaders were advocating a preemptive strike on South Korea they knew they would lose - the army was simply tired of near starvation rations and death was a preferable option.
Not to mention that all government festivities are regularly followed by a cheerful animation of Earth blowing up to massive cheers from the faithful (see Moranbong Band for more details).