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Kim Jong-un’s Nukes and ICBMs Finally Got Him Real Respect from USA

March 9, 2018 10 comments

As many regular readers know, I have written more than a few posts about the nuclear and ballistic missile programs of DPRK in the past(link 1, link 2, link 3). I have also written about how grandiose delusions, anti-Asian racism and a general disconnect from reality by policy makers in USA still prevents them from addressing the issue of normalizing relations with DPRK in anything approaching a rational manner (link 4, link 5, link 6, link 7). The main thread running through all those posts can be summarized as the following: DPRK’s nuclear and ballistic missile program is a highly rational response to american foreign policy in the post-1991 era. In that respect, it is no different from the recent announcement by Putin of Russia developing multiple next-generation nuclear missile systems.

It should be obvious to any rational observer that american foreign policy since 1991 towards the rest of the world can be largely summed as “my way or no way”. Unfortunately for the deep state in USA, developments in the rest of the world within the last two decades have slowly but irreversibly reduced their ability to enforce their writ outside their borders. The epic and costly military failures suffered by USA in Afghanistan and Iraq have sped along this process to the point where the USA cannot even enforce its writ in regions as troubled and historically divided as Syria. The economic crash of 2008, and its aftermath, have also contributed to this permanent reduction in american ability to enforce its rules outside its borders.

But what does any of this have to do with the recent announcement that Kim Jong-un is ready to meet Trump later this year? And what does it really mean, now that Trump has accepted the offer to meet Kim Jong-un in person?

The very short answer to both those questions is that Kim Jong-un has got what he wanted in the manner he wanted. Some of you might think that this is not case based on the ravings of some idiots on right-wing cable TV or a snarky article in an allegedly “mainstream” newspaper. Those charlatans and idiots want you to believe that it has something to do with economic sanctions and Trump acting crazy. However, even a brief overview of DPRK history would show you that its government has repeatedly demonstrated incredible resistance in the face of severe economic sanctions. Moreover, Trump is not the first american president to threaten them with nuclear annihilation.

So why has Kim Jong-un now expressed an interest in talks with South Korea and USA? Also, why was he so resistant to starting talks with either country even a few months ago? What changed? The simple answer to that question is within the last 12 months, DPRK has demonstrated that it has thermonuclear weapons and mobile ICBMs which can reach any part of mainland USA. The government of DPRK rightly figured out that any talks started by them before those successful demonstrations would be from a position of weakness as their bargaining power would be rather limited under those circumstances. Any treaty or agreement reached under those conditions would be very one-sided and against their best interests.

They, therefore, decided to first develop their thermonuclear weapons and mobile ICBMs to the point where they possessed a credible capability to nuke cities in USA. The development of such a deterrent greatly restricts the military options available to USA on the Korean peninsula. It also creates a wedge between South Korea and USA, since the former is no longer certain about whether the later will always support it or alternatively make things worse. So far, the overall scheme appears to have worked and South Korea now seems to be interested in reaching some sort of deal to stabilize the situation with them. But that is not the biggest PR triumph achieved by Kim Jong-un under this new strategy..

Since 1991, DPRK has tried to ‘normalize’ diplomatic relations with USA in a way that would not destabilize the current regime. Kim Jong-un’s father and grandfather did try, on multiple occasions, to arrange public meetings with serving presidents of USA (Clinton 42, Bush 43 and Obama 44). While Clinton and Carter did visit DPRK after finishing their presidential terms, DPRK has not yet been able to get a serving american president to publicly meet their leader or even obtain such a commitment. Well.. yesterday, Trump accepted Kim Jong-un’s invitation to meet him sometime in the next few months. Some of you might say that Trump makes lots of promises which he does not, or cannot, keep.. and this may be one of them.

But make no mistake, Kim Jong-un has achieved within a few years what his predecessors could not, over many decades.

To be clear, I am not implying that this meeting will occur within the next few months or that it will result in denuclearization of DPRK. In fact, it is highly unlikely that DPRK will make any concessions beyond temporary and conditional freezes on future nuclear and missile tests. Countries which have spent so much effort and resources on developing nuclear weapons and ICBMs will never give them away, especially when it was their acquisition which led others to treat them with respect. It is more likely that such a meeting, if it were to occur, would be a major PR coup for Kim Jong-un and perhaps a starting point for realistic negotiations between DPRK, South Korea and USA.. though the later outcome is still unlikely.

What do you think? Comments?