Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Kim Jong-un -- The Only Fat Man in North Korea

Why would Kim Jong-un consider giving up his nuclear weapons and shifting from a military based regime to an economic based regime?

First, President Trump has made it clear that the United States will not allow North Korea to fully develop the nuclear capacity to destroy American cities and to use that as a method of blackmail. A military confrontation with the United States would mean the end of the both the regime and Kim Jong-un, whose primary goal is to retain power. China, as the only nuclear power in the Far East, has apparently now decided that a nuclear North Korea is also not in its best interests. The combined economic sanctions are further crippling a N. Korean economy that is in chaos. How long does Kim Jong-un think that he can stay in power when he cannot feed his people, but also cannot provide for his military and bureaucracy? That is the stick. How long does Kim Jong-un think that he can be the only fat man in Korea.

The carrot is a way out by shifting from a military based regime to an economic based regime. The United States, like it did at the time of the Cuban nuclear crisis, can give assurances that it will not invade or destroy N. Korea. It can bring a formal end to the the Korean War. It can provide immediate food relief and South Korea can also help to provide economic assistance and some cultural integration. By actually providing for his people and developing a modern economy similar to that of China or Vietnam, Kim Jong-un could continue his autocratic rule and still be seen as the adulated leader of his country. The odds might be fairly good that he will see the development of a prosperous N. Korea also as his best chance for a prosperous survival.

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