I did a tour in Korea in 1993-94, which hardly makes me an expert on the place, seeing that I have that in common with a fair number of Army and Air Force personnel over the past half-century plus. Reading about the expected fallout from the change of régime-boss north of the DMZ I think of that tour now as something along the lines of being put into place rather like an instant-read thermometer: there for a year in Seoul, at the Yongsan Army Infantry garrison, where I worked at AFKN-HQ – and at a number of outside jobs for which a pleasant speaking voice and fluency in English was a requirement. One of those regular jobs was as an English-language editor at Korea Broadcasting; the national broadcasting entity did an English simulcast of the first fifteen minutes of the 9 PM evening newscast. I shared this duty with two other AFKN staffers in rotation: every third evening, around 6PM, I went out the #1 gate and caught a local bus, and rode across town to the Yoido; a huge rectangular plaza where the KBS building was located, just around the corner from other terribly important buildings – like the ROK capitol building. Once there, I’d go up to the newsroom – which was a huge place, filled with rows of desks and computers, go to the English-language section, and wait for any of the three or four Korean-to-English translators to finish translating the main news stories for the evening broadcast, correct their story for punctuation and readability, stick around to watch them do the simulcast at 9 PM, critique their delivery.
How to deal with North Korea
While I’ve been purposefully avoiding any news shows or blogs this weekend, the situation in North Korea forces me to post this potential solution to the problem. Let’s start with some premises.
1. NK is a buffer state for China. It exists at China’s will.
2. NK is a clear and present danger to its own people and to the world.
3. China, belligerent and “ascendant” as she may be, is linked to our currency and to our consumption of her cheap goods.
While I could add details and subheadings to the above, I think the premises are sound. If not please correct me.
With that in mind, why shouldn’t America, in the person of its CEO, simply offer China the ultimatum below.
This nation tires of the dangerous and evil games played by Kim Jong Il. He is a dangerous man who is actively destroying his own people. The United States has played the diplomatic games with this madman long enough, yet fully realizes that we have no optimal military option.
Given that you have it with in your power as a nation to change the nature of NK, and that you clearly are using NK as a threatening buffer state, I see no reason to remain diplomatically engaged with the buffer state puppet – Kim Jong Il. I think we will deal with your nation alone.
With that in mind, I offer the following ultimatum. You will immediately begin the process of forcing regime change in NK. The best solution would be for you to begin the process of reunification, but I would be happy to hear other alternatives.
If you fail to begin this process, I will use all my administrative powers, and lobby Congress to use its powers to shut down all trade with China until such regime change is effected.
President Obama (or his successor)
Why shouldn’t we use trade as weapon in this situation? Aside from hurting Walmart’s stock price for a few quarters and losing a few transportation jobs in the interim, why can’t we do this? Discuss.