Saturday, August 12, 2017

Rumors of War - Kings of the East

Trump speaks with China's Xi Jinping, other leaders on North Korea threats - UPI.com
UPI reports: "The leaders of the United States and China once again called on North Korea on Saturday to stop its provocative actions, which recently have sparked high tensions on the Korean Peninsula, while vowing to cooperate on a peaceful resolution to the North's nuclear issue. After the phone conversation between U.S. President Donald Trump and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping, the White House said in a statement that the leaders agreed that 'North Korea must stop its provocative and escalatory behavior.'[...] Xi called for a peaceful resolution of North Korea's nuclear ambitions and stressed that peace on the Korean Peninsula is the common interest of China and the U.S."

Comment: Lately I've been considering a possible alternative strategy but it's a rather long game. What would happen if we let Kim have everything he wants? Accept North Korea as a formal nuclear power, have a big ceremony with other international leaders, establish full diplomatic and trade relations and sign a peace treaty ending the Korean War.  Let a new day dawn in North Korea and let them bask in their great victory. Life goes on. The idea is simply that societies that have been cut off from the world and held under extreme oppression tend to lose their bearings when material conditions change for the better. When generations change, expectations change and demands for participation grow. If we let Kim have everything he wants his family will most likely fall from power within one generation. There would probably be an internal power struggle but an all out nuclear war between the U.S. and North Korea would be avoided. I think this strategy has merit and carries the lowest risk of all the near-term strategies that are currently under consideration.

Critics will call this appeasement but it's really hard-headed realism, an understanding that sometimes you can shower your enemy with carrots rather than sticks...if the carrots are poisoned. Prosperity will have the counter-intuitive effect of undermining the legitimacy of the Kim family dynasty when a new generation comes of age and wants more freedom that they are allowed. A peaceful transition is possible in the North but only if we are willing to give this strategy the time it needs to come to fruition.

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