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Korea, Whuz Up?

 
Dennis Rodman, great NBA Legend and Kim Jong Un, potential DPRK Legend

Trump and Kim had a deal negotiated long before Singapore. Despite a few speed bumps, that deal got done.

This is what happened: The US and Kim agreed to “Talk.” That is all. Yes, it is true the US agreed to cancel military exercises on the Korean Peninsula (this drains the North’s treasury when they feel compelled to place their military on high alert), and the North agreed to no more missile or nuclear weapons tests — not written, but implied. Other things (MIA’s/POW data, etc.) were also agreed to, but we will not know about these for months or years. As for military exercises, the South wanted to give these up years ago to get peace.

The Talk: Going forward this will be a two-way dialogue between the US and North Korea, with China, S. Korea, and Japan in the wings. Trump left Singapore for the US, Pompeo headed to Seoul and then Beijing to brief them and lay out the next steps. This is the best possible thing that can or could happen at this stage. Well done.

The geopolitical reality is:

1. China uses North Korea for its advantage and as a club to beat the propaganda drum against the US military presence. China wants the US to be seen as a bad guy and provocation to gain influence and shape its image as peace-maker. But China is also annoyed with this dependent pest. It disapproves of North Korean nuclear testing, irresponsibility, and poverty that might lead to domestic problems for China.
2. Seeing opportunity, Putin plays a small hand in this too.
3. China has penetrated North Korean leadership. This is why Kim and company purge top military leaders often to ensure the survivors remain weaker, off-balance, and fearful. At the same time, Kim is dependent upon China (and to a lesser extent Russia) for vital materials, trade, and currency.
4. Kim sees China as a frenemy. He sees Russia as an opportunist and no more. There are eons of enmity between all three. China is vital to his survival, but not to be trusted. Russia can be used by Kim but is not always that useful.

No doubt, real estate magnate Trump delivered this message to Kim:

1. You threaten, I clobber. You respect, I will show you respect. You sound bellicose, I walk away (see what I did two weeks ago). Stay the course; this will accrue to your legacy.
2. We both need this. Every country that cooperates with the US, wins. See Europe and Japan. See China. Mess with us, you remain weak. Work with us, you are strong. See what I did at the G-7. I hold friends accountable, I destroy adversaries. Roar! Run with me and you can be seen as my equal or even better, as a Dennis Rodman.
3. Look around you, every Cold War socialist state is modern (except Cuba and they defy the US). Do you want to be that guy who lives like the last Stalinist hermit? Move on.
4. The technology is available today to allow an authoritarian socialist regime (e.g., China) to control its people, imprison its enemies and still have burgeoning, open, free markets. You can do the same. Free markets are what will make you free and independent of other states as their patsy and allow you to dominate at home. Taking this step with us will show you to be a stronger leader than your predecessors.

The solution to the geopolitical situation in North Korea is the same solution Kim’s grandfather and father sought back in the 1950s, ’60s, ’70s, … , merger with S. Korea under the leadership of the Kims. If the US agrees not to interfere with any rapprochement so long as it is done peacefully, Kim might move. But he must be free to negotiate the terms for merger, alliance or cooperation with S. Korea. If he can do that, he will gain enough strength to deal with China, and Russia on a more even-handed basis.

So Trump has no doubt suggested to Mr. Kim, that he and his family, can rewrite Korean history by achieving cooperation on his own terms with the South. However, if he merged with S. Korea today, he would disappear in two weeks. So first he must build economic power in the North – as he chooses. That means entering the modern world to get access to free trade accords. The US can make that happen overnight. Think about it; for Kim, this bends the arc of history, and more importantly, Kim makes history.

What Trump is offering is a Plan B to the Cold War Plan A that Kim’s grandfather and father followed:

1. Transition the propaganda slowly to become a friend with the US – or at least portray the US as weak and flexible and crumbling before his might. He can say whatever he likes, but he needs to turn off the threats, stop the missile flights, and end the nuclear testing.
2. Work to find a way to bring his people around to the idea that the imperialist US is falling under his great leadership while retaining power.
3. Take his time, but he has about two years to get rid of the nukes and sign a peace treaty with the US.
4. If between now and then he misbehaves, we will pull out and finish him off. Not a threat. We just need to wrap this up (there is other business to take care of, see below). We prefer to work with Kim. But time has run out. He is a threat to Alaska and Seattle. We will not allow that.
5. Kim can make up any story he wishes to explain all of this back home. But he needs to understand this is a one time offer. He can win the Nobel Peace Prize (heck Obama and Gore won one, and they did nothing for peace). So Mr. Kim, let’s show the world what a great man you are.

Here is a bonus that we might offer to Mr. Kim. The peace treaty might have a clause, if he wishes, providing that the US will protect the territorial integrity of Korea (no North, no South). Kim and the South Korean leadership can decide what this means and what assurances or military support is required individually or together. With an American assurance of territorial integrity for both (individually and combined) backed by a security agreement, he will no longer need to look to or fear China or Russia. This treaty would require Congressional approval (vote against that Democrats). Kim can chart a course that is more free from dependence upon China, and to a lesser degree Russia. These bordering countries are North Korea’s real long-term geopolitical problem, not the US.

Any security agreement should have a termination date (10, 20 years). At some point, the Korean Peninsula needs to stand on its own. This will be part of a larger solution, and should not be seen as a permanent basing of American forces or a challenge to China (or Russia), but a transitional accommodation.

The end result of a Trumpian or Kimian Deal could be the final closure of the Cold War in Asia and a reconstruction of the geopolitical balance. Russia is still capable of stirring up trouble, but Russia is the 11th largest country in the world – though #1 in terms of natural wealth – its Pacific forces are weak while China’s power grows. Kim’s leverage in dealing with both going forward could be immense if he is holding a security agreement from the US and the potential for a long-term mutual understanding with the South. He could use this to play an invaluable role for the South Koreans – assuring his and their survival – and greater power for both Koreas.

Other points to consider: If the US can disrupt the geopolitical balance on the Korean Peninsula and neutralize Kim as a threat, it will no doubt affect the trade in missiles, nukes, WMD’s and other illicit arms deals (and other criminal activities) around the world (see North Korean trade with Iran, Pakistan, Yemen, Hezbollah). Further, a success with North Korea will leverage US prestige and power to stand firm with Iran (which it is now undertaking). And it will weaken Cuba, Venezuela, Nicaragua and the other rogues, punks, and miscreants. Even an obstreperous Turkey and the Europeans (still pretending they are not living as American dependents) might see things differently. America ascendant.

The Cold War really is over. We need a different strategy and that begins by seeing the world in more realistic terms. It is not so linear or equally offsetting as it was during the Cold War with two (1.5?) Super Powers. We cannot allow the cockamamie UN, the EU, or other international agreements to define, resolve, or paste over American interests. We will cooperate with those who cooperate fairly. And, we should not be afraid to express intolerance, engage, and confront those who do not to assure freedom of the seas and protection of vital American interests (including trade balances), if necessary. A few rounds of straight talk and things will get back to the post-Soviet stability and balance. And America’s power will grow, eliminating the need to call upon it as often. Right now, we are somewhere in between chaos and order, a dangerous time.

A return to the apologist, feckless Obama approach will return the world to the pre-Trump chaos which frittered away the last sinews of American resolve during the national vacillation over Iraq. If all this sounds like Nixon to Beijing in the aftermath of LBJ and in the midst of the malaise of winding down Vietnam, it is. With a North Korean deal, Trump is positioning the US so it can focus on knocking-back Iran, and simultaneously send strong messages to Putin and Xi to watch their step. Ironically, this would be a restoration of the liberal world order the liberals and foreign policy establishment frittered away after the Soviet fall.

Kim is no apprentice. His position is much weaker and tenuous than we realize. He has nukes, words, and not much else. He has a way forward to live a long life (maybe with an apartment in New York?). China and Russia are using him and he realizes this is the real threat. He is attracted to bizarre celebrities (see Dennis Rodman). Trump may be just the right cocktail of celebrity and flash for his taste – lots of gold plated faucets, luxury and gaudiness. And now because Trump showed him respect, Kim is beginning to show the world he knows the art of the deal.

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There are 25 comments.

  1. Member

    Excellent analysis! Get this on the front page.

    • #1
    • June 12, 2018 at 8:19 am
    • 2 likes
  2. Member

    James Madison: 4. The technology is available today to allow an authoritarian socialist regime (e.g. China) to control its people, imprison its enemies and still have burgeoning, open, free markets. You can do the same. Free markets are what will make you free and independent of other states as their patsy and allow you to dominate at home. Taking this step with us will show you to be a stronger leader than your predecessors.

    The venue of Singapore is probably also instructive. 

    “You can be an absolute ruler and still have a modern vibrant country.”

    • #2
    • June 12, 2018 at 8:19 am
    • 3 likes
  3. Member
    James Madison Post author

    Guruforhire (View Comment):

    James Madison: 4. The technology is available today to allow an authoritarian socialist regime (e.g. China) to control its people, imprison its enemies and still have burgeoning, open, free markets. You can do the same. Free markets are what will make you free and independent of other states as their patsy and allow you to dominate at home. Taking this step with us will show you to be a stronger leader than your predecessors.

    The venue of Singapore is probably also instructive.

    “You can be an absolute ruler and still have a modern vibrant country.”

    So true!!!

    • #3
    • June 12, 2018 at 8:26 am
    • 1 like
  4. Member

    James Madison (View Comment):

    Guruforhire (View Comment):

    James Madison: 4. The technology is available today to allow an authoritarian socialist regime (e.g. China) to control its people, imprison its enemies and still have burgeoning, open, free markets. You can do the same. Free markets are what will make you free and independent of other states as their patsy and allow you to dominate at home. Taking this step with us will show you to be a stronger leader than your predecessors.

    The venue of Singapore is probably also instructive.

    “You can be an absolute ruler and still have a modern vibrant country.”

    So true!!!

    I agree with this. And great post Mr. Madison. Loved the fly on the wall “this is Trump’s message to Kim”

    • #4
    • June 12, 2018 at 9:11 am
    • 1 like
  5. Member
    James Madison Post author

    RightAngles (View Comment):

    Loved the fly on the wall “this is Trump’s message to Kim”

    😃

    • #5
    • June 12, 2018 at 9:42 am
    • 1 like
  6. Member
    James Madison Post author

    Worth the read and watching the 5 minute video from WaPo. This was pure real estate salesmanship. It might work. It communicates the possible.

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-fix/wp/2018/06/12/reporters-thought-this-video-was-north-korea-propaganda-it-came-from-the-white-house/?utm_term=.970f19e0d7fb

     

    • #6
    • June 12, 2018 at 9:57 am
    • 1 like
  7. Member

    Great analysis! I especially like that you don’t assume the Norks have to end up as a liberal democracy for the process to be a “success.”

    • #7
    • June 12, 2018 at 10:20 am
    • 3 likes
  8. Coolidge

    I don’t understand China’s stance on this. They look incredibly feeble watching Trump waltz in and take command of the situation. Are they quietly acknowledging that their foreign policy towards NK is obsolete? If not, why aren’t they trying to sabotage this process? If so, why don’t they take the lead and be the hero? They could dictate terms better this way, in my estimation. There seems to be a huge piece missing in all of this.

    • #8
    • June 12, 2018 at 10:34 am
    • 2 likes
  9. Member
    James Madison Post author

    Underground Conservative (View Comment):

    I don’t understand China’s stance on this. They look incredibly feeble watching Trump waltz in and take command of the situation. Are they quietly acknowledging that their foreign policy towards NK is obsolete? If not, why aren’t they trying to sabotage this process? If so, why don’t they take the lead and be the hero? They could dictate terms better this way, in my estimation. There seems to be a huge piece missing in all of this.

    China’s support of NORK costs them money. They fear a regime collapse or junta and possible mass migration. They fear a nuclear NORK. They want NORK to be a low cost client state, but NORK needs cash, food, support. The Chinese do not want Russia moving in to replace them as a primary benefactor. They want adequate relations with the US, while being able to undermine US prestige. These things are all pulling in different directions. Keep NORK as is, nudge NORK, or push NORK to change.

    China may realize the time has come to move on, let Kim become a client state of S. Korea, and push on North and South that the Chinese want the Americans off the Korean Peninsula. If they could keep Kim dependent, but not too costly, and get the US out, they would. But this is unlikely to happen. NORK is costly – and American sanctions against Chinese banks and business also hurt (recall, the US bailed out Chinese phone switch maker and sanction violator ZTE for undisclosed reasons a few weeks ago – so this may be a signal to China, favor for a favor). Maybe the Chinese will go along with a long term plan for gradual reunification of North and South with some serious reduction or exit of US forces.

    Then again, there is very little agreed to at the moment. North Korea is signalling it will denuclearize, the US is signalling it will de-sanction. There is a long way to go. The Chinese can affect the outcome at any moment. If they feel it is not going well for them, they will have opportunities to sink it in a way that makes America look bad.

    Propaganda, its all about propaganda (and of course Realpolitik).

    • #9
    • June 12, 2018 at 10:53 am
    • 3 likes
  10. Member

    First rate and in the face of so much silliness very welcome.

    How do we forward things inside the member feed? This needs to sent around.

    • #10
    • June 12, 2018 at 11:48 am
    • 2 likes
  11. Member

    James Madison: The solution to the geopolitical situation in North Korea is the same solution Kim’s Great great-grandfather and Great father sought back in the 1950’s, 60’s, 70’s, … , merger with S. Korea under the leadership of the Kim’s. If the US agrees not to interfere with any rapprochement so long as it is done peacefully, Kim might move.

    So the brilliant plan here is to destroy the liberal democracy of South Korea. Clearly the solution to Herr Hitler was to merge the Sudetenland with Germany, too…

    I think I see the flaw in your fantasies. Why would the South Koreans ever want to merge with North Korea under the Kims? And if we were to express this horrible opinion to Kim what would make him think we will stand with South Korea even if he tries to do it violently? It seems to me that your brilliant plan is no better than Nixon’s abandonment of South Vietnam. What kind of daft scheme is this other than a complete capitulation of our commitment to our democratic and liberal ally South Korea? 

    But lets somehow pretend this is not an absurd fantasy. How long do you think this will take to happen? Because Donald Trump could be out of office in two years and certainly in six? You think the next President would carry on with such a daft plan? 

     

     

    • #11
    • June 12, 2018 at 12:06 pm
    • Like
  12. Member
    James Madison Post author

    Valiuth (View Comment):

    So the brilliant plan here is to destroy the liberal democracy of South Korea. Clearly the solution to Herr Hitler was to merge the Sudetenland with Germany, too…

    I think I see the flaw in your fantasies. Why would the South Koreans ever want to merge with North Korea under the Kims? And if we were to express this horrible opinion to Kim what would make him think we will stand with South Korea even if he tries to do it violently? It seems to me that your brilliant plan is no better than Nixon’s abandonment of South Vietnam. What kind of daft scheme is this other than a complete capitulation of our commitment to our democratic and liberal ally South Korea?

    But lets somehow pretend this is not an absurd fantasy. How long do you think this will take to happen? Because Donald Trump could be out of office in two years and certainly in six? You think the next President would carry on with such a daft plan?

    No not destroy S. Korea. They will have to fend for themselves, much the way West Germany dealt with East Germany. They will decide how and what to compromise on. The S. Koreans favor peace and are more willing than we to compromise with Kim. They can create a role for him if they wish…, time will tell.

    But the USA will be in the background. We will still defend S. Korea’s borders if they wish. However, we will not be called upon to defend what the S. Korean people decide to give up – if they give up anything. We will defend S. Korea from attack, but not from itself.

    Here is how they stack up, … note, the S. Korean military is smaller, but significantly better than the North’s. However, the South’s population is heavily concentrated within range of the North’s hidden artillery tubes:

    Recall, S. Korea is not a vital interest of the US. It controls no essential resources, waterways or airways. If the South wants US soldiers out, we can leave. Truman’s decision to defend S. Korea was probably not the most strategic decision – in my humble opinion. It resulted in one of the bloodiest wars in history. The US dropped more bombs on Korea than all of the Pacific in WWII. The North was rubble. American pilots literally ran out of targets. It is what it is.

    This ‘plan’ or “daft plan” probably has about 2 years to gestate. Then, something will happen. If nothing follows (and this is Trump and I think he will be firm), then the US will grow frustrated and return to tougher sanctions, more military exercises or if the S. Korean policy changes, prepare to exit altogether and go after the missiles on our own. In the meantime, we will watch them like a hawk. One false move, deal off.

    • #12
    • June 12, 2018 at 1:24 pm
    • 3 likes
  13. Member

    Good bit of mind reading here. I think you are onto something…

    • #13
    • June 12, 2018 at 1:25 pm
    • 1 like
  14. Member
    James Madison Post author

    Doug Kimball (View Comment):

    Good bit of mind reading here. I think you are onto something…

    Not as much mind reading as one might think. Spent lots of time in northern Asia, Korea in particular. And, know embassy and national security types. Also, I read a fair bit from esoteric sources.

    When I wrote this, I had not seen the WH video they showed to Kim. If you watch that video (mentioned in the WaPo reference above in Post #6), you will see the WH is following the ‘legacy’ sales pitch to convince Kim this is his moment. I heard they might do this. I know this is their reasoning.

    Kim is not stupid. His predicament is not easy (domestic population, propaganda history, regime security, China, Russia, reality of being incredibly poor). Trump’s face to face helps open another avenue and possibly a way out for Kim. As @valiuth above points out, Trump does not have forever. This is in his calculations. Recall, we have Pompeo & Mattis on the field with Bolton in backup. A pretty hefty team. Not exactly rookies. Not exactly emotional types.

    In line with this, I thought Trump was brazenly cool at the G-7. The famous photo of Angela leaning over the table and him with his arms crossed communicated a great deal. He is confident. He will listen. But, he is not going to listen to the same old BS. I have seen CEO’s take this posture in the past and it is a cold signal. This is a different Trump – he does not care if he is liked. He will speak his mind bluntly and move on. The Europeans speak in generalities, niceties. Trump cuts this off. They see him as emotional. He is looking for results for Americans.

    Results focused.

    • #14
    • June 12, 2018 at 1:42 pm
    • 6 likes
  15. Member
    James Madison Post author

    This is the WH case to Kim,

    • #15
    • June 12, 2018 at 2:44 pm
    • 1 like
  16. Member

    Valiuth (View Comment):

    James Madison: The solution to the geopolitical situation in North Korea is the same solution Kim’s Great great-grandfather and Great father sought back in the 1950’s, 60’s, 70’s, … , merger with S. Korea under the leadership of the Kim’s. If the US agrees not to interfere with any rapprochement so long as it is done peacefully, Kim might move.

    So the brilliant plan here is to destroy the liberal democracy of South Korea. Clearly the solution to Herr Hitler was to merge the Sudetenland with Germany, too…

    I think I see the flaw in your fantasies. Why would the South Koreans ever want to merge with North Korea under the Kims? And if we were to express this horrible opinion to Kim what would make him think we will stand with South Korea even if he tries to do it violently? It seems to me that your brilliant plan is no better than Nixon’s abandonment of South Vietnam. What kind of daft scheme is this other than a complete capitulation of our commitment to our democratic and liberal ally South Korea?

    But lets somehow pretend this is not an absurd fantasy. How long do you think this will take to happen? Because Donald Trump could be out of office in two years and certainly in six? You think the next President would carry on with such a daft plan?

     

     

    The South has twice the population of the North and 53 times the GDP of the North.

    I think if they want to they can handle themselves.

    • #16
    • June 12, 2018 at 2:54 pm
    • 1 like
  17. Member

    So everything you propose is in play already. If the South Koreans wanted to make accommodations with the North they could have. Do you think we would have tried to stop them by force? The fact is they haven’t and I don’t see them doing it either. There is no up side to South Korea in this, because they can only compromise down. West Germany absorbed East Germany because the illegitimate East German government finally collapsed. So yes, if the North Korean regime goes the way of the DDR then I am perfectly fine with whatever solution the South Koreans want to do with that whether it is reintegration or keeping them at arms length. But there is no way to credibly tell both North and South Korea that they should find a compromise now and that we would also defend South Korea from invasion by the North. It is preposterous. You would only say that if you were planing on leaving anyway which means you wouldn’t stick around for the war if it were to happen. 

    The position of the US to defend South Korean independence is both just and honorable. As to the talk of strategic resources, the South Koreans have the most valuable resource of all. A free and creative population. Which is why it is such a prosperous country now. What resource do Israel, Japan, and England have that would make us defend them too? If you refuse to defend ideologically aligned nations you will see a decline in global liberalization, and so ultimately an increase in global violence down the line. 

    • #17
    • June 12, 2018 at 3:08 pm
    • 1 like
  18. Member

    James Madison (View Comment):
    James Madison Post author 

    Guruforhire (View Comment):

    James Madison: 4. The technology is available today to allow an authoritarian socialist regime (e.g. China) to control its people, imprison its enemies and still have burgeoning, open, free markets. You can do the same. Free markets are what will make you free and independent of other states as their patsy and allow you to dominate at home. Taking this step with us will show you to be a stronger leader than your predecessors.

    The venue of Singapore is probably also instructive.

    “You can be an absolute ruler and still have a modern vibrant country.”

    So true!!!

    Provided you’re an absolute ruler with Singapore grade competence, which is yet to be seen about Kim III. What’s really interesting about this deal so far is that Trump offered Kim a face saving way out, or forward, or something – and maybe a way to get something for his only real assets, the nukes and missiles. Except maybe, just maybe, not by using them or selling them to our enemies.

    • #18
    • June 12, 2018 at 3:10 pm
    • 2 likes
  19. Member

    James Madison: A return to the apologist, feckless Obama approach

    “Apologist” is one of those words with opposite meanings, only one of which is applicable to Obama’s foreign policy.

    • #19
    • June 12, 2018 at 3:45 pm
    • 4 likes
  20. Member

    Valiuth: “If the South Koreans wanted to make accommodations with the North they could have.”

    The South Koreans can’t do what we in America can. I think the brilliance of James Madison’s analysis ( and Trump’s) is that Trump is showing Kim a way out and it is not a con. It is a legitimate way out that will make Kim stronger and will put North Korea in much better shape over the long term. Kim would be a fool not to take it.

    But what it does for us are a couple of very important things:

    A. Removes the Nork nuclear threat.

    B. Removes the crazy nuclear Nork card from China’s bag of tricks. It makes China focus on the problems between us, and does not give them the leisure of using the Nork card as detente collateral to avoid dealing with the other problems they are creating.

    All this and it actually could make the lives of the North Koreans a whole lot better.

    • #20
    • June 12, 2018 at 5:29 pm
    • 5 likes
  21. Member

    It sounds plausible. I’m willing to wait and see what happens. The alternatives aren’t exactly appealing either, including continuing on the old course.

    • #21
    • June 12, 2018 at 5:59 pm
    • 1 like
  22. Member

    I’m not exactly persuaded but I do have to say that is some interesting speculation. 

    • #22
    • June 12, 2018 at 7:14 pm
    • 1 like
  23. Member
    James Madison Post author

    Valiuth (View Comment):

    So everything you propose is in play already. If the South Koreans wanted to make accommodations with the North they could have. Do you think we would have tried to stop them by force? The fact is they haven’t and I don’t see them doing it either. There is no up side to South Korea in this, because they can only compromise down. West Germany absorbed East Germany because the illegitimate East German government finally collapsed. So yes, if the North Korean regime goes the way of the DDR then I am perfectly fine with whatever solution the South Koreans want to do with that whether it is reintegration or keeping them at arms length. But there is no way to credibly tell both North and South Korea that they should find a compromise now and that we would also defend South Korea from invasion by the North. It is preposterous. You would only say that if you were planing on leaving anyway which means you wouldn’t stick around for the war if it were to happen.

    The position of the US to defend South Korean independence is both just and honorable. As to the talk of strategic resources, the South Koreans have the most valuable resource of all. A free and creative population. Which is why it is such a prosperous country now. What resource do Israel, Japan, and England have that would make us defend them too? If you refuse to defend ideologically aligned nations you will see a decline in global liberalization, and so ultimately an increase in global violence down the line.

    Koreans are not North or South. Many living in the South have family in the North. Many fled the North. The South views the North as themselves, only living under a cruel, fearful regime

    No one is telling the South to find a compromise or accommodation economicly/politically/militarily with the North. This evolving Trump scenario sets them up to do so. They have demonstrated a willingness to do so. But they both must agree. We want this done peacefully and also the missiles and nuclear weapons removed (this last point is the hard part).

    As for leaving or defending, the South needs to decide that question. But, we need to find a way to leave, while honoring commitments and removing the threat to the US. Ending the Korean War is step 1. Step 2 is removing the nukes. Step 3 is creating an opportunity for North/South rapprochement.

    • #23
    • June 12, 2018 at 7:48 pm
    • 1 like
  24. Member

    Valiuth

    Kim et al may have the fantasy of a North dominated reunification, and that may be a motivation, but it’s not a prediction, a policy nor even possible. They’ll get little SK or other county long term investment unless it appears real and secure. It will take many decades but within that there would be an infinity of photo ops and enough grease to keep the leaders happy. South Korea and the Chinese would ultimately dominate the economy and the North Korean leaders, at best, would probably look like Malaysia where Malaysian Chinese and some Indians, run the economy and the Malays get the rents. Of course if we, the Japanese or anyone else thinks foreign aid and cash transfers will bring about this glorious future they’re mistaken, but foreign aid will be part of the grease. It’s a tiny economy and can’t absorb much financial inflow private or public without currency unification as occurred early in Germany or dollarization. Hard to imagine that but anything more than a creeping opening will require it, so I’d expect the glorious future to be very long in coming so that the regime stays in power which presumably is their goal. The point of it all is to de nuke the place as an alternative to nuking it.

    • #24
    • June 13, 2018 at 4:44 am
    • 1 like
  25. Member
    James Madison Post author

    I Walton (View Comment):

    Valiuth

    Kim et al may have the fantasy of a North dominated reunification, and that may be a motivation, but it’s not a prediction, a policy nor even possible. They’ll get little SK or other county long term investment unless it appears real and secure. It will take many decades but within that there would be an infinity of photo ops and enough grease to keep the leaders happy. South Korea and the Chinese would ultimately dominate the economy and the North Korean leaders, at best, would probably look like Malaysia where Malaysian Chinese and some Indians, run the economy and the Malays get the rents. Of course if we, the Japanese or anyone else thinks foreign aid and cash transfers will bring about this glorious future they’re mistaken, but foreign aid will be part of the grease. It’s a tiny economy and can’t absorb much financial inflow private or public without currency unification as occurred early in Germany or dollarization. Hard to imagine that but anything more than a creeping opening will require it, so I’d expect the glorious future to be very long in coming so that the regime stays in power which presumably is their goal. The point of it all is to de nuke the place as an alternative to nuking it.

    This is correct. Denuke, not nuke. Trade/investment accommodation. Kim stays in some form surrounded by coterie of security and toadies of some sort. Maybe N. Korea turns into a sort of mini-Putinia in a Korean Peninsula free trade zone, but that is best hope over a decade or more. Kim can figure this out – but it may take time and interaction. He is inexperienced, intellectually stunted and confronted with so many limitations and personal threats. 

    • #25
    • June 13, 2018 at 4:54 am
    • 1 like