Li’l Kim

Dennis Perrin asks:

Is there a better Other than Kim Jong Il? A Central Casting classic. And how very retro to have an Asian supervillian in these days of Arab-fear…

Amid the rhetoric and red flags (of all kinds), the basic scenario remains as it has for decades: the US will decide who will or will not own or use WMD, and North Korea currently tops the NO list. Thing is, there’s really not much Bush can do about Kim’s stockpile, especially militarily, as any strike would immediately result in Seoul’s destruction, assaults on Japan, and God knows what else. Indeed, a resumption of the Korean war would be a very bad thing all around, which is why Bush is reduced to telling Kim, “We expect you to adhere to international norms,” a command that is both laughable and serious — laughable in the sense that Bush is instructing anyone on global etiquette, but serious in that such blazing hypocrisy is indeed the “international norm.” There are Masters and there are Servants, and Kim is decidedly the latter, a role he continually rejects.

And that is the true nub of this whole “crisis”: Kim’s refusal to assume the position. I know there are numerous obstacles, mostly domestic, that tie Bush’s hands on this front, but still, how hard would it be to put Kim on the payroll? Lord knows the US has bankrolled far worse, and allows other nations to behave in ways that would get North Korea baked were they to act in kind (see Israel in Gaza), so I really don’t see the problem here. Yes, the native ideologues would bark and foam at the very thought, but a serious geopolitical player would make them choke on their own bile. Picture Richard Nixon arriving in Pyongyang, shaking Kim’s hand and slapping him on the back, reviewing his troops and toasting him at a state banquet. Think Kim could resist that? Please…

But Bush is no Nixon. Hell, he rates below Agnew on the political hustler scale. So, here we’ll remain, stuck between calls for military action and Cold War-style containment, when the solution is right in front of us: pay Kim off. What better way to show him the glories of capitalism?

The rest of Dennis’ sensible suggestions are here.