Thursday, April 20, 2017

The North Korean System

ScottAdams blogged a very inspiring and creative solution to the Korean conflict crisis here.

How To Structure a Deal With North Korea

While it is thoughtful and reasonable, here is why it won't work. As a businessman, Scott doesn't have a rounded military experience to understand for international deal-making money isn't the end goal in most negotiations and for a powerful national organization real estate sits far lower on the list than strategic concerns. 

The smart media refers to North Korea as a regime - which literally means an authoritarian government.  It's important to understand why some words are different and why they matter.  Regime means something unique.   North Korea is a regime like an Italian mob is a mafia. Of course Italian American mobsters want to be known as businessmen, even if they are an "organized group using extortion and other criminal methods" - what businessman wouldn't want access to that kind of negotiation leverage? In either case, regime or mafia, there is a small group of powerful people operating by their own rules under a brutal code of conduct. While Scott comes up with some novel solutions that should work with reasonable people, this single factor is why Scott's novel deal conditions can't work; Scott's deal will make North Korea leadership look weak and lose face and that would undermine the "Kim Family System".

I like Scott Adams book, How to fail at almost everything and still win big, it's a good read for both enjoyment and to percolate some new ideas into your work ethos. In it, he explains one key money making technique is to have a system; a consistent pattern of doing things that ends up getting you ahead in life.

The Kim family set up post-war North Korea as a family-run brutal regime; ruling by fear of the evil Americans returning, and that the only salvation for the people is the mythically talented, and suspiciously mortal, Kim family.  You can tell it's a dictatorship because like every other regime they tell you they are democratic by putting "Democratic" and "People's"  in the nation's name ( Democratic People's Republic of Korea ) as if by telling you one thing negates the fact they act opposite.  But if you don't agree with them on this or any other point, they won't hesitate to unleash wild dogs or aim anti-aircraft guns at you. They even kill family members when it supports their goals - the family's not the peoples.

The Kim Family System - the system that keeps them in power and keeps them unkilled by the masses- is that only they can help North Korea defeat decadent Western enemies of South Korea, Japan, and the evil empire America. In return for their magnificence, the North Korean people must pledge absolute loyalty to the commands of the Kim family. Loyalty enforced by the dogs and guns aforementioned. Propaganda keeps up the pressure and the mythical abilities of the Kim family and their invincibility as the last salvation of the people. They restrict access to real information, control every aspect of life, and yes even restrict food supply to keep people from getting too happy and safe.  When the regime does fall, you will see the most angry hateful display of vengeance against any vestige of the regime. Those fat cats and autocrats that supported the Kim Family will be dragged through the streets worse than the most shameful displays from Somalia, and Iraq. For three generations, the people have suffered more at the hands of their benefactors than the enemy.

So long as the North Korea isn't attacked the Kim Family can keep claiming victory and keep ruling as they like. But in order for the scheme to be successful they need the real threat of impending war to keep doubters in check and resistance quelled. The Kim Family System won't survive peace, and prosperity. It's why they keep building nukes, it's why they run air raid drills, and it's why they shoot down US planes when they get the chance.  Grandfather and Father taught Kim Jong Un that the price of control is eternal savagery against their own people to protect the family legacy. To protect the Family System. In their minds, they are protecting the people from disaster - yet 60 years of no attack would make a reasonable person reconsider the utility of continuing this strategy. Secretly, the Kim Family System probably knows the US is occupied elsewhere but they can't let the threat disappear. Their safety depends on it.

My whole theory is backed up by Trump's bluff-blunder of extolling an "armada" approaching North Korean waters backed up by threatening talk, while the USS Carl Vinson was sailing in the wrong direction.  People who don't understand are focussing on the wrong events. Those working to make money off smearing Trump mocked him for his Mister Magoo-like precision in getting his facts wrong with a sprinkle of posturing silliness added for best effect. What makes my theory credible is that the Kim Family response to the armada was exactly as predicted if they operate like I claim; North Korea warned of a nuclear counter-strike against the United States if provoked. They held a big parade full of decoy missiles ( if you only have 20 nukes you don't put them all on display in one place you hide them in caves for a counter offensive). Then North Korea tried to launch a missile as a retaliation. It may have been defective or it may have been hacked, in any case that missile launch was symbolic. The Kim Family System gets to say, "See, we told you so, they are coming for your children - bravery comrades!", and continue to arm to defend the family interests.  North Korean newspapers sound more deluded than I could smear them:

“In the case of our super-mighty preemptive strike being launched, it will completely and immediately wipe out not only U.S. imperialists’ invasion forces in South Korea and its surrounding areas but the U.S. mainland and reduce them to ashes,” it said.

Sounds like someone else you may be familiar with threatening the "Mother of all battles"? How well did that go for him?

Trump's headfake - no matter what it's comical origin is - has exposed North Korea for what it really is - a REAL fascist regime in need of perpetual warmongering.

People can mock Trump for a rookie mistake, but young people today forget it was Eisenhower's bluff - the stated threat to use nuclear weapons in North Korea to prevent any more casualties in the Korean War, that probably started the Kim Family System down the dead-end path they are on now. The old people that could remind them are playing Canasta in retirement homes. Few Koreans even remember that time so they shouldn't be so quick to judgement. Americans have had their back for 60+ years.

The best course of action for Trump is to let China try to handle the problem - to save face - and if and when that fails do one of two things: tactical strike to kill Kim Jong Un and/or impose 50% tariffs on Chinese goods UNTIL North Korea dismantles their nuclear arms and program. He could even give China the choice of which they want. Let them fail and then pointedly act because time is running out.  If the Kim Family System ever gets threatened internally they won't hesitate to distract their own people by sending them to annihilation in a war. But in a regime no one can act without approval of the boss, otherwise they turn the dogs and guns on you. While Kim Jong Un's men claim they would carry out his dying orders I doubt that, they live in a world where lying to the boss is how you survive. Few Americans have lived in a post-Communist regime as I did for six months - they don't understand that under Communism it's Orwellian double think that keeps their sanity. North Korea and North Korean leadership especially doesn't want a war either as they would end up losing everything they have. As with most strongmen Kim's family has killed all potential rivals so the moment he is dead, like Tito, North Korea will descend into a political vaccuum, infighting, and maybe civil war.

Even if they believe that America wants a war they are in precarious times. Fresh in the mind of the struggle victor would be how he got his job. And the old boss just pissed off China by not cooperating, maybe China won't answer the call to arms.  As far as I can tell Premier Xi Jin Ping is a smart leader, that plays in favour of a decisive move after all real diplomatic means are exhausted and leaves him to return the insult at the end to North Korea. How likely could North Korea beat South Korea? Even they know they wouldn't last long with all the nuclear missiles incoming.

The way to solve this Gordian knot is with the sword, after the pen.