Contact: Roland Watson, roland@dictatorwatch.org


March 11, 2018
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Since nobody else has mentioned, it, I thought I should explain what really happened with the news last week about North Korea (and the upcoming Trump trip in May).

I can add, I have been waiting for just such a North Korean announcement ever since Kim Jong-un took over. It was inevitable. All he needed was the right opportunity.

Kim is the third in the family dictatorship. His grandfather fought the United States and South Korea to a draw, because of help from China and the Soviet Union. His father, though, became - as is well-known - enamored of the West, of Hollywood movies and fine wines. But he still had to keep up the "America is the Enemy" facade. Now, his son has apparently developed his interests, too, as is most publicly illustrated by his relationship with Dennis Rodman. (I have no doubt as well that he was stung by the movie, The Interview.)

But this latest Kim has a problem. Time for the Hermit Kingdom is clearly running out. Never-ending spasms of threatening America with annihilation, and widespread internal starvation, are unsustainable. For the former, war is no longer completely unthinkable, and for the latter, the people might even rise up.

More deeply, though, I think Kim recognizes that family dictatorships, like the dynasties of more traditional absolute monarchs - Kings, cannot survive in the modern world. As a means to maintain power, they have been superseded.

There are many different types of power, but at this social scale what counts are economic and political. Indeed, each in turn has its own "inheritance principle." Formerly, society accepted that political power could be inherited, witness the Kings. But starting with the Magna Carta in 1215, which restricted the rights of King John of England, the idea that individuals could have absolute power was rejected. This was subsequently extended to the right that they could pass their power on. Politically, the Kims are among - or even - the very last. Kim Jong-un no doubt understands that he will almost certainly be blocked from giving his power to a family heir. It simply won't work anymore.

Fortunately for him, the inheritance principle for economic power is still intact. The wealthy, no matter how they got their money, are not prevented from leaving it to their children. This means that he can rob North Korea, and then pass the assets on to the next generation, and no one will blink an eye. And, after all, is the aggravation of being a dictator even worth it? You're hated by the people and the world. You can't travel freely. What's the point? It is much better to be one of the anonymous billionaires, who live above society and its norms (e.g. Trump, before he foolishly ran for President). If you donate a small percentage of your wealth to charity, you will even be painted as a saint.

Kim is in a trap, and he knows it. The saber-rattling has reaching its only possible conclusion: shut up or fight. And you can be sure, he does not want to fight. Neither do his generals. They understand that it will mean their own annihilation. But, no prior American President would give him (or his father) what he wants: Normalization. Kim wants North Korea to be a normal, accepted dictatorship, like China or Russia or Burma. He wants to be accepted by international banks and corporations and other countries and the U.N. They are all so happy to overlook so much. Why can't he get in on the deal? Why does his country have to be such a pariah? Can't he come in from the cold?

Until Trump, he was stuck. No American leader would reward his threats of nuclear terrorism. But Trump is different. He is a sociopath. He is already a criminal oligarch. He likes political dictatorships, and wants to be a dictator himself. Trump would be happy to help Kim, if it could be positioned as a success to his brainwashed followers and to his fellow power-mad Republicans.

I wouldn't be surprised if Trump welcomes Kim into the international fold, and without North Korea having to give up its nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles (at least for a very long time, meaning ever). A meaningless promise will be enough. Kim will get his normalization. North Korea will start opening. It will begin transitioning to the China dictatorship model. And then, over a period of many years, Kim will become a figurehead (he probably already is). And finally, when he is gone, another suitable but this time non-Kim will be chosen to perpetuate the dictatorship. Along the way, investment will start to flood in, which Kim and his top-cronies will steal - they will at last get seriously rich. And in conclusion, through all of this, the political dynasty will be transformed to a totally acceptable plutocracy. It's the norm in almost every country around the world, even America. It will be welcomed in and for North Korea as well.

So, why do I say Donald Trump is being played? The answer is, again, because North Korea will not give up its nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles. Trump will have been outmaneuvered by "Little Rocket Man," and the U.S. will not be safe. Secondly, as with everything he has been doing, this was meant to distract the public from Robert Mueller's investigation. Trump may even be hoping that Mueller might go easy on him, if his propagandists can generate sympathy by saying that he ended the North Korean crisis. Here, though, he is of course mistaken. Mueller will never stray from his mission, of defending America from foreign interference, including in this case Putin's conspiracy with the Trump family mafia. There is inevitability here as well. Trump will be removed from power (unless he resigns or dies), and he will be reviled by history. Even future generations of Republicans, presuming that the Party can shed its racism and fascism and once again serve as a credible political alternative, will spit at the mention of his name.