Just a quick intro post this week, since the issues surrounding North Korea are pretty obvious. Since the fall of communism, the nations that have to deal with North Korea have all had the same basic strategy: Try to keep them from doing anything too crazy and destabilizing while waiting patiently for the whole regime to collapse. Now they have nuclear weapons (maybe 6-8 warheads, without looking it up) and they are testing longer-range missiles. They also have a new leader, who’s 27; maybe totally in charge, maybe not; and making bombastic threats that are extreme even by North Korea’s standards.
What does this mean? Anything different? What do we do now? Anything different? We can focus on this crisis. But, I thought it might be helpful to might discuss the future we know is coming sooner or later: Regime collapse and the many, many dangers that follow.
We’ve talked before about failed states, the Arab Spring, how wars end, etc. Some authoritarian states fall relatively peacefully (South Korea, Eastern Europe), or at least without severely damaging our interests (USSR, Argentina, Burma just recently). Others fall ugly or really ugly (Congo, Syria). Why the differences, and which will North Korea be, and when? What can we do to prepare for the inevitable?
Discussion Questions –
- What is the latest crisis all about? What is the evidence that North Korea is becoming more of a threat than it always has been?
- What does the West know about what is motivating the new aggression? Is it an indicator if strength, or weakness?
- Regardless, should we be more worried about the regime’s intent or its capabilities?
- Should the United States be doing anything different with regard to North Korea? What do we need other countries to do and how can we get them to do it?
- The future:
- When will the regime start to totter? What are the signs to look for? What can we learn about signs from our failure to predict the USSR’s fall and so many others’ collapse?
- Do we want it to fall? Do China and South Korea want it to fall?
- How dangerous will the fall of North Korea be?
- What can we do now to plan for making the situation less perilous?
- North Korea is a lot more dangerous than you think. I recommend this one. More on the missile and nuke threats here.
- No, let’s not exaggerate the threat it poses.
- Why is the regime making all these threats now? No good options for us in latest crisis.
- Understanding North Korea – including how to influence how they behave. Recommended.
- [Updates: Regime Collapse scenarios]: