I wouldn't be surprised to learn [eyeroll] that President Trump knows nothing about the history of North and South Korea, or the "six party" talks. All of the nations living within nuclear-bomb striking distance of Pyongyang have a stake in the outcome of diplomatic talks with North Korea and that they should be a party to the talks. South Korea's capital city, Seoul, is the city that would be incinerated if the North Korean regime ever made good on its threats. So this "go it alone" talk is not helpful or respectful.
Not that I have any ideas or solutions, nor can I predict what will happen. Perhaps the Kim regime can only be toppled by force. Perhaps Kim Jong-Un's own generals, alarmed by his Caligula-like behavior, will deal with him themselves. But I'm old enough to remember when his father, Kim Jong-Il, came to power, and back then, the experts were asking if the regime could possibly survive. The misery continues, year after year. Some more random thoughts:
- I knew all along that the North Korean regime was not to be trusted when they said they would give up trying to make nuclear weapons. If I, an ordinary citizen knew it, why didn't President Obama know it? Why did he take them at their word? Or did he know they were lying but just wanted to kick the problem down the road into the next administration?
- And don't forget the illegal and naive intervention by Jimmy Carter during the Clinton years. Naive? Carter literally hugged Kim Il Sung. That's like hugging Hitler or Stalin.
- Grassroots efforts to help the people of North Korea have been led by small groups of Christians. It saddens me that I see so little concern or compassion for the horrible plight of the ordinary North Korean, trapped in a nightmare regime. South Koreans are more afraid of the consequences should the Kim regime fall and millions of undernourished, unemployable, psychologically damaged refugees pour across the border. China is likewise on heightened alert.
- Here's a country filled with starving, underemployed people (North Korea) in-between a country facing a collapsing birthrate (Japan) and a country with a shortage of women (China). Commerce and free association, left to themselves, would supply the solution to everyone's problems, but the Japanese and Chinese are bigoted about marrying outside of their ethnic group and are resistant to mass immigration.
- North and South Korea are the most striking exemplars of communism/socialism versus commerce. A living laboratory which ought to shut everybody (by "everybody" I mean Bernie Sanders) up on the subject forever. South Korea's patron was the United States; North Korea's was China. North Korea is arguably the worst nation on earth, not much of an advertisement for socialism or for China. The Chinese are so annoyed with the antics of the current leader that they have cut off purchases of coal from North Korea, thus depriving Kim of their most vital source of cash money.
- Meanwhile, South Korea's president was just removed from office because she was thoroughly corrupted by a Rasputin-like figure, so South Korea's politics are in turmoil at this critical juncture.
- As if that weren't enough, China and South Korean relations are very frosty just now -- so frosty that the government is boycotting all things Korean -- vacations, music and exports. This article gives more background. When the government takes the lead in the boycott, it's hard to know how genuine public feeling is at the grassroots, but I have heard anti-South-Korean sentiment from some colleagues and students. Remember "Freedom Fries," when Americans were angry with France for not supporting the move to oust Saddam Hussein? It's like that.