08.14.17 | North Korea

Were it not for the existential implications of the unfolding North Korea drama this would make for fun game theory. 

Thought experiment: despot leader, sporting a bad haircut and a massive insecurity complex, calculates that his tenuous hold over the half-starved population rests on totalitarian control and abiding fear.  An even more hostile outside world is thus conjured as theater. Only the Supreme Leader, his magic bullet, and the threat of its use staves off a fate worse than the “life” currently experienced. 

Such is essentially the fact pattern depicted by the three remarkably well-spoken young former citizens of North Korea, now free to share their truth south of the 49th Parallel (link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YXo-Vov_98Y).  Assume its accuracy. They spoke of a life so bad that death in battle would likely be seen as preferable by those unaware of a life outside. Talk about the scary proposition of fighting those who feel they have nothing left to lose.

The thought experiment lies with our response. Game on. It’s now our move. Let’s discuss.

It might be helpful to first review an eye-opening NYT Opinion piece, We Need a Radical New Approach On North Korea (link: https://nyti.ms/2u7n6I5 ) centered around something of which I’d not been previously aware i.e. that the Korean War (er, conflict) ended, not in a peace treaty, but in a cease-fire (Armistice) — the official U.S. policy still calls for  the reunification of the Korean Peninsula (presumably under the control of the south). That and other considerations might give us pause before we talk about unleashing the “fire and fury” of a “preventive” war (talk about an Orwellian concept). 

Steve SmithComment