Friday, January 30, 2009


For the 500th time in the past 5 years, North Korea is going back on agreements with South Korea. South Korea wants North Korea to finally cut its nuclear program; North Korea says the South is being hostile.

I generally have two minds about North Korea and nuclear weapons: first, that Kim Jong-il knows as long as his country has an operating nuclear program, other countries will be willing to negotiate and give aid on the condition that North Korea will finally stop the program. Which, of course, they will NOT do - instead, they'll get their aid, tear up the agreement and then 6 months later go back to the table and make another deal they don't intend to honor (lather, rinse, and repeat).

My other thought is that the guy really just is insane. To reductionistic? Probably. But even if you made an argument for strong rationality, you simply couldn't make any argument for empathy.

This is all of course just my opinions. I study educational psychology these days, not political science or sociopaths. One common theory, it seems, is that Kim Jong-il is trying to get the attention of one President Obama (and, again, up the DPRK's bargaining power). Should be interesting to see how this administration deals with North Korea, and whether it makes a difference. I don't think the last administration did a poor job with North Korea, either - at this point I just wonder what tact anybody could take that would actually produce favorable long-term results. Again, this is a question I am in no way knowledgeable enough to answer.

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