Posted on May 5, 2018
One Nation, Under Kim
Conquest remains the Norks’ endgame
If you have a single skeptical bone in your body, you must be incredulous at how the West is being taken in by North Korea’s “charm offensive.” Is there really such thing as North Korean charm? That sounds like the world’s worst breakfast cereal, consisting of a substance somewhat less edible than hardened marshmallows, stamped into little yellow hammers and sickles.
Up until now, the “Democratic People’s Republic of Korea” and its Supreme Leader, Kim Jong-un, have been about as charming as a briskly shaken bagful of starving weasels. Yet Kim emits a series of unverifiable promises through that blowfish grin of his, and everyone is eager to take him at his word. Why, of course the Norks will dismantle their nuclear program, stop threatening their neighbors to the South, and become a peaceful global citizen. Kim said they would. What other assurance could we possibly need?
Those who are approaching a presumptive Kim-Donald Trump summit meeting with that kind of optimism are forgetting the First Law of Geopolitics, which is that a smiling Communist dictator is never a good thing. If Kim really felt compelled to give up his nation’s nukes and expansionist ambitions because of Trump’s hackneyed “fire and fury” rhetoric, he’d probably look like he was trying to figure out what his dirt was doing in Boss Kane’s ditch. Instead, the grinning goon behaves as if he were the boss, as his words and actions establish the story line on a daily basis.
For all of the Norks’ neighborly overtures, they have never wavered from their goal of reunification, which is just a pleasant-sounding term for taking over South Korea and cannibalizing its wealth, in order to prop up the Communist regime for the foreseeable future. Whether they invade by force, or begin their infiltration by way of the negotiating table, it all works out the same.
They’ll probably start by proposing some nebulous half-measure, by which North and South unite under one name and one flag, but still exist as semi-autonomous regions. There’s no doubt which side would be designed to prevail in the long run, the totalitarians being the militarily superior of the two. Peaceful coexistence will only last as long as it takes for the West to let its guard down. Kim has no interest in being the lion that lies down with the lamb. He aims to be the lion that lies down for a nap after devouring a nice gyro platter.
The great obstacle in his way is the American military presence that has remained since the cease fire that unofficially ended the Korean War in 1953. Our forces in the DMZ are often referred to as a “speed bump,” being physically unable to stop an invasion from the North. The deterrent they've provided has proven invaluable, however, because the Norks will never provoke a full-scale war with the United States by overrunning them.
But what if Kim’s “charm” campaign succeeds to the point that it becomes the conventional wisdom that our presence there is no longer necessary, or even that it has become detrimental to Korea’s national healing? Will Trump – or his successor, depending on how long this scenario takes to unfold – be willing to resist the popular momentum toward that conclusion?
Without any Americans in harm’s way, there would be little reason for the Norks not to attack the South militarily. Once their offensive was underway, they could fire a few missiles across the Sea of Japan, and announce to the world that rumors of their denuclearization have been greatly exaggerated. Who would intervene then?
In 1950, the Communists tried to take South Korea by force. They were defeated, at no small cost to the United States, its Western allies, and the South Korean people. To let them take it now, with some unverifiable promises and a dopey grin, would be a betrayal of the principles of freedom the likes of which has not been seen since Yalta.
That’s where FDR and Churchill indirectly consigned Eastern Europe to Soviet domination, in exchange for which Stalin was to declare war on Japan to hasten the end of the Second World War. Stalin did not fulfill that promise until those several days between the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, when the war’s conclusion was imminent anyway. The Soviet Union took that opportunity to snatch several territories from Imperial Japan, including the northern half of Korea. Still, what else were the Leaders of the Free World supposed to do, spoil everybody’s good mood?
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