This is the official Perth blog site for posts, comments, and other contributions about leadership, behavioral finance and economics, and about management generally, as well as other related topics that take our fancy.
Font size: +

A Radical Fix for the North Korea Problem

I don’t have to tell you how serious the North Korea issue is. It’s clearly getting even worse. We are close to the level of severity of the Cuban missile crisis, even beyond. Is there anything to be done about it?

So far all strategies have failed. Talks, sanctions, negotiations, threats, hacking. The only thing left is war. But if that happens we are in a different universe and a bad if not unthinkable one to boot. In any case North Korea could even “win” a war. So that’s not a solution.

We could wait it out. That’s essentially the current strategy. But what if he’s not bluffing? Remember the last big time we thought a leader was bluffing and he wasn’t and it caused World War II? So that’s not an option either.

So we have to think outside the box. Here we go. How about we invite North Korea to become a permanent member of the UN Security Council?

Yes that’s unthinkable too to many if not all people. This is a rogue State that mistreats its own people and thumbs its nose at everyone.

But the fact is that nothing is going to stop it becoming a nuclear power, and a dangerous one if not somehow hemmed in. If we let it become one without doing anything it will probably be a worse actor than if it had been somehow engaged with the rest of the world.

As a member of the UN Security Council it would have a veto. So be it. It would be equal to the big Five, the US, China, Russia, the UK and France. It would be like having the Soviet Union having the veto in the days of Stalin. But you know the old saying: keep your friends close to you, and your enemies even closer.

How about signing a real peace treaty with North Korea, instead of the truce we now have had for so long? We (the West) have always resisted that. I think that’s probably one of the first ports of call to setting things to rights with them.

I would want to offer Kim Jong Un the opportunity to address the UN General Assembly. I think he would like that.

Also the US Houses of Congress. Why not?

It’s clear that Kim Jong Un would win big from such a move. He would be recognized globally in the largest way possible, and that’s really exactly what he wants: respect. So give it to him.

In that he’s no different to people we know fairly well starting with the US President. But that’s why Putin is where he is, not to mention Xi Jinping. So you can’t punish someone for being narcissistic and wanting respect, especially if it’s going to advance your own wider objectives.

My bet is that if you did this North Korea would accept. They would probably want us to drop sanctions, which I think would be a low price to pay.

And they would also demand that they be allowed to go nuclear with the world’s consent. That’s ok; they’re going to do it anyway, just like the Iranians, Israelis, Indians, Pakistanis and maybe others (the Japanese?). Actually we’re not giving anything away if we agree to that; it’s already a done deal.

But the quid pro quo is that suddenly we’d have thousands of North Korean functionaries in the UN and its agencies not to mention entering the global economy as traders, merchants, even as intellectuals, amazingly. Maybe we could even learn a thing or two from Kim Jong Un’s North Korea. Autarchic countries usually do amazing things you can’t even imagine, like wartime Germany in World War II.

Having all those North Koreans ranging the globe would be like the post-Cold War period when we had thousands of Soviet personnel throughout world trade and institutions. Sure they were gruff, grumpy and hostile, but even Russia today is better than the Soviet Union of 1949. The engagement worked; over the long-term, maybe, but it worked.

Desperate times require desperate measures.

Let me know if you have a better alternative.

Uber-Leading - Are empathy and disruptiveness inco...
What’s wrong with quant approaches?

List of all Perth posts