Lets say that Kim Jong Un decides that he doesn’t want to continue to enslave the people of North Korea. What would be the best way for him to integrate the country into the world community? I’m assuming that if he went on state tv and announced that “everyone is free” he’d probably be murdered by the military.
I think if I were him, I’d probably contact the South Korean government and let them know of my plan and hopefully they’d let me secretly slip into their country for my safety. But, I’m assuming that with my escape from North Korea, the (North Korean) military would immediately take over and a war would ensue.
In your opinion, what would be the best way for “the great successor” to give up North Korea? Or is the military too big and with too much control for it to ever happen?
It ain’t that hard. Market reforms, opening trade, but maintain the government system for a while until people start making money. As the people get happier not being starving all the time, start with local political reforms – small scale elections for village councils, for example.
And to quote a story I once read in a newspaper about political reforms in Saudi Arabia, “Dissent from this new policy of openness and liberalization will not be tolerated.”
If something like this were to be tried, an inevitable and predictable result would be that it would be a slow process, taking many years, and the people would get impatient and start demanding too much too soon, and it wouldn’t end well.
This is a large part of what happened in the Soviet Union under Gorbachev’s policies of glasnost and perestroika. It’s also visible right now in the United States and wherever else times seem bad and recovery seems too slow. ETA: Only that in N. Korea now, it’s really bigger and badder.
I think the absolute best case scenario would look something like East Germany’s reunification with West Germany, but I think that North Korea is in a much worse position, so it could not possibly go as well as that did. The best hope for now might be for the new guy to be a better dictator than his dad by allowing aid such as decent fertilizer and food, and to gradually loosen things up over years. It would be pretty slow. But I’m not that optimistic.
NK has been slowly liberalizing since the late 90’s, so I don’t think violence is necessarily inevitable if they continue down that path. And China and Vietnam have done the same, with relatively little bloodshed (estimates for the casualties in the Timanamman Square Protests are fairly small). I think in the unlikely event that the new Kim wants to liberalize, and assuming he isn’t completely a figurehead, Ravenman would have the correct path to take.
Sadly, this. As I see it, a major impediment to reform in North Korea is that the ruling class probably see more contact with the outside world as likely to incite unrest. They aren’t asking the question “what is best for North Korea?” but “what is best for us?”.
Since none of us know what goes out in the NK inner circle, and even western intelligence can’t penetrate it, I like to imagine the following would be very easy:
KJU calls all his top military generals in for a conference. A trap is set, he leaves temporarily while they all wait in a room. Giant explosion, and out comes KJU by himself as the sole leader. Then he goes on TV and says fuck you to his dad and grandfather and opens the borders and lets the SK’s and Americans in
Accept aid and ensure it gets to the people in need by punishing anyone, especially the army, caught keeping much of it for themselves (which happens a lot).
Improve conditions in the prison camps dramatically by increasing food quotas, decreasing the guard’s ability to use violence, increasing medical care, and slowly begin releasing people back into the community.
Once the people are better fed and freer, they’ll be more prone to receiving the ideas of their new leaders. Ideally, change will have to be introduced slowly.
This is all in theory of course. In reality it will be very difficult. These people are so brainwashed that it’s hard to predict how they’ll respond.
A good first step would be dismantling the nuclear weapons program–grant full access to international inspectors, accept the previous offer of power plants, perhaps operated by the IAEA, and otherwise disarming. Particularly removing the artillery he’s got dug in targeting Seol. He can’t really open the borders…everybody able to do so would leave, and that would cause problems with South Korea and China, who don’t really want a huge influx of refugees.
Taking those steps would open the floodgates of international aid, and make a dramatic improvement in quality fo life for his people.
Of course, doing so would be admitting that North Korea is a shithole, a place nobody really considers worth invading, so they don’t really need a military.