What To Do About North Korea

Here’s very interesting news item—if true—from The Independent in the UK:

China ‘tells citizens to leave North Korea’ as tensions with U.S. escalate

The Korea Times reports that the Chinese embassy in North Korea began advising Korean-Chinese residents to return to China last month, over fears the country’s military provocations could lead to retaliation from the US.

If true, this could perhaps be an expression of China agreeing to put pressure on the Norks to behave. Or it could be much more serious than that.

Our pal Herbert Meyer has offered up a typically astute and creative analysis of the situation over at The American Thinker that is worth taking in. He says: Let’s turn North Korea into East Germany. I know—that may sound odd: isn’t North Korea waaaayy beyond East Germany in a totalitarian awfulness? Yes, but let Herb explain more fully:

Here’s one possible objective that would defuse this crisis and perhaps even bring a few decades of stability: to turn North Korea into a modern version of East Germany.

For those of you too young to remember the Cold War, during those decades after World War II Germany was divided. West Germany was free, prosperous, and an American ally. East Germany was a miserable dictatorship, not very prosperous, and a Soviet satellite. (To get a feel for what life was like in East Germany, watch the great movie The Lives of Others, and the German television series Weissensee.) But during all these decades, East Germany was never a threat to West Germany, or to the U.S. Its communist regime wanted only to be left alone. And in return, the West Germans and the Americans made it absolutely clear they had no intention of unifying Germany by attacking or otherwise bringing down the East. . .

But now, for the first time in its history — and thanks entirely to President Trump — North Korea faces the real possibility of a massive military attack, certainly to destroy its nuclear facilities and perhaps even to obliterate the regime itself. And there’s nothing like the looming prospect of an attack by the United States to get a government’s attention.

Simply put, it may be possible to defuse the current crisis without a war by cutting a deal along these lines: If North Korea will give up its nuclear weapons and cease threatening South Korea and the U.S., the U.S. and South Korea will guarantee North Korea’s sovereignty.

But, but. . . the East Germans, as thuggish as they were, were at least rational. Kim Jong Un just might be certifiably crazy. So let’s continue:

We can argue all day whether Kim Jong-un is crazy, but it’s obvious he isn’t, um, normal. He’s held onto power, and he’s kept within his grip the loyalty of North Korea’s generals. These generals aren’t crazy. Crazy people cannot build weapons, organize complex programs to develop nuclear bombs — or build roads, operate electric power systems, keep the trains and buses running, assure that at least some food gets produced and distributed, operate schools and hospitals. They must be hard, practical, and highly intelligent. And while they may not be charming and fun to hang out with, they aren’t suicidal.

So that means. . .

Is there some way to break Kim Jong-un’s grip on his generals — to snap them out of their hypnotic spell and help them to organize a coup before it’s too late? . . .

In other words, we need an active strategy to subvert the regime from within. Read the entire piece for Herb’s walk through the four crucial questions about what would need to be done to make the Norks decide to change their own regime, but I’ll just give you his conclusion:

Don’t bother asking the usual Washington policymakers whether turning North Korea into a modern version of East Germany might actually be possible. They will reply — in unison, within two-billionths of a second — No, this is impossible! Kim Jong-un is crazy, and the North Koreans will never give up their nukes or agree to stop threatening South Korea and the U.S. Well, they may be right. On the other hand, these are mostly the same geniuses who told us, also with 100 percent confidence, that it was impossible to win the Cold War, and impossible for Donald Trump to get elected president. Impossible things sometimes do happen, even in politics — especially in politics. Given the risk we face of nuclear war, this is worth a shot.

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