Hovey’s Foreign Policy Part One of Many: The Korean Question

I write a lot about diverse subjects: guns, games, books, movies, food my wife cooks, restaurants, and not in that order. I’m a fan of all of these things, in no particular order. However, the time has come thought to discuss a serious matter in Asia and that is North and South Korea.

What we know about South Korea: South Korea is what one would call a successful republic. It has come a long way from being just a client state of the United States. Here are some images from the CIA World Factbook.

CIA World Factbook South Korea
Obtained from the CIA World Factbook
ROK Demos
Obtained from the CIA World Factbook
Government ROK
Obtained from the CIA World Factbook

From this data it can be said clearly that South Korea is a successful democracy. They’ve accomplished much in their short existence. I’m sure some of you have driven Daewoos and Hyundais. Perhaps you have heard of Samsung? These are all South Korean brands we know and love.

What’s New With South Korea: They’ve had an election and the winner is a liberal candidate. Now, there is nothing wrong with being liberal. In some aspects I am a liberal. The 8 values test identifies me as a Left Wing Populist. The compass political test identifies me as a libertarian. I am an ordinary person who wants to represent ordinary people. By ordinary I don’t mean were all bland and dull, nor do I mean I am bland and dull, what I do mean is we are not wealthy, nor are we beholden to groups or ideals. We are do ‘what works’ people. We practice the true meaning of realpolitik.  We are not addicted to nostalgia. Nor are we addicted to the past. We are possibility thinkers who value opportunity and we realize that democracy only works when people buy into the system and believe into the system. We do this with shared values, shared goals, and while valuing ourselves and our nation state: the United States of America. Above all, I am a responsible nationalist.

Moon Jae-in

That is a perfect example of a digression however sometimes a digression helps the author and the reader. This is a rare example of that. The President-Elect of South Korea Moon Jae-in is a member of the Democratic Party of South Korea, he is a former human rights lawyer, and he wants a open dialogue with the north. Admirable? Yes! Practical? No. Possible? Maybe? With some changes in place, most certainly. Let’s have a look at North Korea.

North Korea By The Numbers: Here are some more facts obtained by the American CIA:

Obtained from CIA World Factbook
NK Gov't
Obtained by CIA world factbook

What We Know About North Korea: At first glance it is easy to call North Korea just a communist nation. It is far from that. The House of Kim is likely making Stalin’s spirit smile broadly at its accomplishments. This hereditary dictatorship has an iron grip on its people. State Atheism, Discouragement (of a violent sort) to religion, lack of free speech and other factors are in place and they’re not going away under Kim’s reign.


The House of Kim/Personality Cult/Non-Rational Actors: North Korea is a unique animal it can easily be compared to Syria’s First family. Hereditary succession is something that is understood as a reality in both dictatorships. The House of Kim like the Assad family has military roots. The founder of the House of Kim was Kim Il-sung. This first Kim was a Soviet groomed political leader who when he came to power in 1946 had a role model for leadership and that leader was Joesph Stalin. Kim Il-sung created the personality cult. Some North Koreans believe he was the reincarnation of a god. This is irrational thinking. Furthermore, Stalin provided the newly created dictatorship with military advisors, and armaments.

When Khrushchev denounced Stalin, Kim Il-sung like Mao did not denounce him. Mao Tse-Tung was not a rational actor. Nor was Stailn, and it can clearly be seen that Il-Sung was cut from the same cloth. Kruschchev was better to a point, but still a dictator. During the middle and late states of the Cold War, a doctrine of Mutually Assured Destruction was established or interpreted as the guiding strategy. It was assumed the Russians loved their children too! Unfortunately, the Supreme Leaders of North Korea view their subjects as mere thralls.

The North has continuously tried forcibly to unite its democratic South. Numerous instances have occurred since the Korean War ended in 1953. Notable incidents have included these: DMZ Conflict1996 Submarine Incident, North Korea has a policy of Songun: Military First, something that was certainly akin to Joesph Stalin’s doctrine. Each generation of Kim has also openly been hostile to the United States due to our continuous policy of Communist containment.

Kim Jong-un: Is the grandson of the founder of North Korea, Kim Il-Sung. Jong-un is not interested in peace. Under his regime ballistic missiles have been tested, threats are made at a higher frequency and he himself stated that war is inevitable. This article in the Daily Mail can do the talking for me in the interests of time: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4486454/North-Korean-defector-says-Kim-Jong-war-inevitable.html

Dialogue: Moon Jae-in’s desire for dialogue is noble, however it is something that is a lofty dream. With three generations of dictators and a military that supports them it is something that is not really achievable at this stage. Unfortunately, the United States still has troops in South Korea, for purposes of containment. South Korea could not defend itself against and aggressive China. So we’re there to stay. We need to take a leadership role with China’s help.

Let’s Have A Conversation: South Korea and its interests should be protected. They have built a successful democracy. Let us help them maintain what they’ve built. North Korea is a threat to its southern neighbor, its regional neighbors, the free world, Western Civilization, and our world as a whole also our children’s future. Should we go to war with them? No. War should be prevented always.

Does Kim Jong-un want a war? Yes. He absolutely does. He wants to conquers the south, and destroy the United States. Can he conquer the south? Yes, likely temporarily. Can he destroy the United States? Given time, he most certainly could with nuclear weapons. What do we do? We need to have a conversation.

It is time to talk to China.

China’s role: China views North Korea as a buffer to our quasi-client state of South Korea. I use the term quasi-client as we have a considerable amount of installations there. Again, they rely a great deal on our protection. Do we wish to continue the policy of containment? We should not. It does not work all of the time, and some nations want to be communist. Look to Vietnam. Should North Korea remain Communist? Ideally, it would be wonderful for them to become a democracy. However, under so many years of a dictatorship it is doubtful that they could ever become a free country.

China is sometimes troubled by North Korea’s decisions though. Should we go to war it would affect them negatively to see the communist North become one with the Republic of Korea. We can use them though to find a reformer in North Korea though, and that time should be now.

The Conversation: How to topple North Korea without losing its Communism? The solution find a moderate general with his own aspirations of leading North Korea who can lead it into a Gorbachev like regime of easing and rebirth. A quasi Chinese democracy. Along with doing this, the destruction of North Korea’s nuclear weapons must occur or they should be turned over to the United States. This transition would not be a peaceful one. Kim Jong-un would have to likely be captured or neutralized. And his supporters would need to be isolated and or removed from power via intelligence gathering and leveraging of intelligence assets. The worst case scenario is a open war with North Korea. Should they be pushed they would certainly attempt nuclear retaliation on the United States or Japan, our ally.

This new leader could denounce the House of Kim and end the madness of hereditary succession. A new Supreme Leader could be a Gorbachev and lead the country into a policy of coexistence with its southern neighbor!


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