Monday, 14 May 2018

The North Korean Starbucks!

If I had gotten a penny for every time I predicted a Korean bonhomie, I would have been broke as hell! The laws of physics are often considered to be the zenith of rigidity and adherence. But if one thing could have scored higher on the zealousness and rigidity chart, it would have been the North Korean society. Their inherent sense of hatred towards the western civilisation and an unyielding fidelity to their Supreme Leader had made North Korea a very dangerous international player. North Korea is like that random neighbour who has unnaturally high compound walls and an insanely short temper. He hates his neighbours for no reason, and his social life is non-existent. Basically, North Korea is the 'psychopath' among nations. The eccentricity of their leader has contributed to this tarnished image, but the society has not been faultless. There are no leaders in the world who would not love to crush freedom of speech, and rule with an iron fist. Self-importance and narcissism are the most universal hallmarks of all leaders, and only spiritual leaders can claim any deviance from this template. National leaders are often so full of themselves, that their actions and perspectives seem bullet-proof and any opposition to them feels pointless and irrational! Combine this trait with unlimited power and dynastic legitimacy, and you get a dangerous concoction called Kim Jong-Un. Kim exhibits all qualities that a rogue leader must posses- arrogance, blatant disregard for the world, narcissism and most importantly, a keen sense of entitlement. Kim is part of a dynasty that has achieved high-standing in North Korea. His father and his life is the stuff of legends that the North Korean kids grow up hearing. There is actually a generation growing up in North Korea, who are unaware of the Avengers and what Thanos has done to them! The North Korean way of life revolves around the mythical aura that the Kims have created around themselves. There are stories about how a 10 year old Kim lifted a hunting rifle and shot the bull's eye thrice in a row. How this great marksman grew up to be a chubby and ruthless dictator remains to be understood. The North Korean problem, is an outcome of poor administration and a misplacement of trust. People claim that Kim never sleeps, and that he shoots fire from his arse. But none of this points towards how he might be an efficient leader. Or even a pleasing entertainer. Kim allows very little of North Korea to be seen by the outside world. There are regular reports of poor living conditions and draconian restrictions on civil liberties. The press is literally non-existent and the citizens are completely brainwashed. The type of government that Kim runs is based on convincing the citizens that affluence is a state of mind and that he is the guru who shall lead them there. There is no other explanation for the heightened spiritual pedestal that his family is given. It is this vice-like psychological grip that has created loyal citizens in the midst of utter poverty and serfdom. North Korea is basically like Wakanda, but without the technology and the money!

So how does an arrogant spiteful leader like Kim Jong-Un come to the negotiating table. What has caused this abrupt capitulation to western interests? A change of heart seems unlikely, and any sort of compulsion can be ruled out. While the conspiracy theorist in me is hoping that this is all an elaborate plan hatched by the North Koreans, it doesn't seem likely. North Korea has an impressive arsenal of nuclear weapons, which may not have flattened San Fransisco or Portland, but could have most definitely destroyed US allies in the east. So the only reason why Kim might have thrown in the towel, is cause he wasn't the biggest predator in the jungle anymore. Donald Trump is as near a Kim Jong-Un as an elected leader can be. With grandiose statements and an aggrandised sense of his own capabilities, Trump is a character that Kim has never encountered. Both leaders have an insatiable ego, palpable arrogance and total spite for the fate of the world. But as Trump pointed out, his nuclear weapon is much bigger than Kim's. The world's accepted solution to North Korea was a pacifist approach aimed at conciliation and appeasement. They continued to let Kim bully them, while their Gandhian appeal to his conscience made little to no progress. Donald Trump proved to be a different animal. He didn't seem to care whether a nuclear war broke out or not; this was a battle of two egos, and Trump was not going to back off.  To say that Trump was truly concerned with the Korean problem and felt a moral urge to relieve tensions is beyond any sense of reality. The recent events are a classic example of a new bully taking on the old bully, except the new guy is much more powerful. Kim has reached a point where disarmament is his only strategy to retain his country. A nuclear war would devastate Korea and non-cooperation would surely have drawn the American wrath. So the god-like mythical saviour turned out to be nothing but an opportunistic man who crumbled when his existence came under threat. So much for legacy! The Republicans have always had a more decisive stand on foreign policy and their eagerness to exercise the USA's hard power is well documented. Combine this with an egotistic president who wants to etch his name into history, and the present is what you arrive at. While there is no denying that President Obama's carrots only policy had allowed North Korea to fester into a bigger threat, the ramifications of  what is about to happen might be too much for the North Koreans to bear.

Imagine being told day in and day out, that the Americans are Satan's henchmen, only to see your very leader hug it out with the enemy commander. The emotional shock for the people might be too big for Kim to contain. And if North Korea follows the Chinese way of opening up its economy, Kim might find himself out of power very soon. Economic freedom is the seed from which civil liberties are born, the sapling from which the desire to speak one's mind germinates! While the Chinese Communist Party is largely like a caucus, the North Korean communism is based on dynasty and personality trait, two things that never survive the test of time. Western society and western culture bear the hallmarks of freedom and excellence, the epitome of affluence and enlightenment. And the wave of resistance and demands that this shall create in the North Korean society will be too much for Kim to quell. The alluring light of western luxuries has been the coupe de grace to many civilisations, and North Korea doesn't seem different. An exposure to the American dream might be the end of the Kim dynasty. If Kim feels that Trump will adopt laissez-faire once the disarmament is complete, he is completely mistaken. Trump remains a businessmen at heart and he will pressurise North Korea to join mainstream international politics and be party to international agreements and organisations. Trump will try to create a vassal out of Kim, which is unlikely meet a successful end. In the end, Kim's decision to let up on the arms race so as to protect his sovereignty, might have been the worst thing he could have possible done, and it might be all downhill from here for the evil King T'Challa!

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