As you are all well aware, North Korea has recently conducted a nuclear test, and was condemned by its only friend in the world, Communist China. The same nation that sacrificed a quarter million men to create a communist state in North Korea is now in the role of the responsible guy asking his uncouth roommate to please, please, please pick up his laundry and put a shirt on so he won't freak out the cute girl who's coming over later. Mao's China, this is not.
I think we all know why China is different than it was a half century ago, and it has everything to do with capitalism. While the theory of socialism depended on a socialist "New Man" -- a radical shift in human nature that would turn man's natural self-interest on its head -- the theory underlying capitalism takes man's self-interest as given. Ironically, it is capitalism, not socialism, that brings out the best in people. A society based on the quid pro quo creates a level of cooperation and trust that no other society enjoys. Since China has opened itself to markets, both internally and internationally, it has become kinder, gentler, and more cooperative, though it still has far to go.
I'd like to ask all of you on Ricochet what you think the future holds for China and North Korea. Will China continue to act as a moderating force? Will it encourage North Korea to modernize in the same way China has? Will totalitarianism erode?