Thursday, May 25, 2017

The DPRK Problem: Intentions and Predictions

The DPRK problem is a system of interests, events, and consequences that is rationally being driven by Kim Jong-un, the dictator of the DPRK. His conception of purpose is the one that will drive the situation forward, barring unpredictable actions of other players. The ultimate goal of the DPRK is to establish hegemony over the entire Korean peninsula. In order to do this, the US must be separated from its ROK ally and then the ROK must be subjugated in a pseudo-cooperative process. Kim's pursuit of nuclear ICBMs/SLBMs is necessary and instrumental in the achievement of this purpose. However, at the same time he must deter the ROK from developing or acquiring nuclear weapons itself.

Kim cannot achieve these goals by war. However, the threat of war is his strongest card. He can only achieve his intermediate aims by direct negotiations with the US/ROK whereby they would agree to eject US forces from South Korea. Then he must develop a deterrent to US intervention so that the US will not come to the ROK's aid once he enters into the process of subjugation. For this, nuclear ICBMs/SLBMs are sufficient. As a rational actor, the US would not intervene to protect a non-treaty ally at the cost of millions of US lives.

Therefore, expect the DPRK to pursue a policy of bluff and deceit. Should it find itself in troubles, it will go to phony negotiations. The DPRK may even enlist other nations, such as Iran, to play a shell game during the process so that it maintains its capabilities while achieving its intermediate aims. Expect China to be permissive in this pursuit as it serves China's expansionist goals.

The best measure to take to foil this strategy is to assassinate Kim. North Korea has no motivation to attack or pursue nuclear weapons without Kim. The simple and humanitarian solution to the crisis is the well-deserved elimination of one tyrant.