Opinion North Korea's dark history should frame any negotiations
North Korea says Trump's preconditions for talks are "preposterous"
<p>North Korea says President Trump's demand that it abandon its nuclear program as a precondition to diplomatic negotiations is "preposterous," ruling out the possibility in a new statement Sunday. On Saturday, Mr. Trump addressed the possibility of negotiations with the North during an otherwise light-hearted speech at the annual Gridiron Club dinner in Washington, D.C., on Saturday night.</p>"Now we are talking and they, by the way, called up a couple of days ago. They said that, 'We would like to talk.' And I said, 'So would we, but you have to denuke, you have to denuke,"' Mr. Trump told attendees at the dinner, according to a pool report of his remarks.
Editor’s note: The opinions in this article are the author’s, as published by our content partner, and do not necessarily represent the views of MSN or Microsoft.
President Trump's decision to meet with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un elicited a wide range of responses from experts. But one thing you hear from everyone is that the president and administration need to prepare. The North Koreans may be technologically (and morally) backward and rhetorically juvenile, but they're also incredibly adept and disciplined at international politics. They have eaten our lunch for more than 30 years.
White House clarifies Trump-North Korea 'call'
<p>The White House said Monday that Donald Trump had been referring to a call with South Korea's leader when he appeared to suggest a landmark direct contact with the nuclear North.</p>Trump raised eyebrows at a Washington media dinner on Saturday when he said "they, by the way, called up a couple of days ago and said 'we would like to talk.
But before getting their facts and figures together about nuclear stockpiles and missile throw-weights, perhaps the administration should ponder a simple question that even the experts never seem very interested in.
What is North Korea?
It seems like a silly question. It's a country, of course. But what kind of country? The labels we hear most often -- dictatorship, totalitarian, communist and "Stalinist" -- have their merits descriptively or historically. But they're all inadequate.
Those are all relatively modern terms, and North Korea really isn't a modern country. Oh, sure, it's got some modern stuff -- mostly its thriving nuclear program -- but its social and political model is ancient.
For starters, Kim Jong Un is a monarch. According to government propaganda (or really, the state religion) his father, Kim Jong Il, was a creature of divine birth, born under a double rainbow atop the holy Baekdu Mountain. When he was born, a new star appeared and winter turned to spring.
With U.S. and North Korea, a Repeated History of Hope and Disappointment
Diplomacy between the United States and North Korea has gone through familiar cycles of long stagnation, followed by brief bursts of hope, and then inevitable disappointment.WASHINGTON — Diplomacy between the United States and North Korea has gone through familiar cycles of long stagnation, followed by brief bursts of hope and then inevitable disappointment, typically after North Korea reneged. President Trump’s three predecessors each went through the cycle.
Kim Jong Un is also a divine being, with a body so efficient that he has never needed to use a bathroom. According to official myth, Kim could drive at age 3. As a student at Kim Il Sung University (named after his grandfather), Kim reportedly wrote 1,500 books and six operas in three years. North Koreans are taught that their leader is revered worldwide as one of the greatest composers ever, and his operas are "better than any in the history of music." The first time he picked up a golf club, he recorded 11 holes-in-one and shot 38 under par.
It's easy to laugh at this stuff -- his father claimed to have invented the hamburger -- but it isn't a laughing matter, because the North Korean people believe it.
The entire country has been raised in a mystical cult. The North Koreans shed any allegiance to Marxism-Leninism decades ago, replacing it with Juche, a philosophy that elevates a "Great Leader" as a monarch over society. They took the Divine Right of Kings and replaced it with the Divine Right of the Kims.
No joint Korean march at Paralympics due to flag issue
The two Koreas will not march together at Friday's Winter Paralympics opening ceremony due to a disagreement about whether to include islands disputed with Japan on a united flag, officials said. Athletes from the North and South staged a joint march at the opening of last month's Winter Olympics under a neutral "unification flag", part of an intense rapprochement that also saw Pyongyang send hundreds of cheerleaders and leader Kim Jong Un's sister to the ceremony.
North Korea mirrors ancient monarchies in another respect: It is a feudal society. Under a system called Songbun, North Korea divides the population into three major classes and roughly 50 sub-classes. Whatever class you're born into determines nearly everything important about your life, and each class is largely hereditary. If your grandfather was a "subversive" or "traitor," you're considered one too. If your grandfather fought with Kim Il Sung against the Japanese, you're probably a member of the ruling class. It's possible to improve your status, though extremely difficult and rare. It's easy to have your class downgraded, which means your children will also be downgraded.
The lowest caste of North Koreans are the slave-labor peasants, who are the first to be starved when the state resorts to man-made famine. As Nicholas Eberstadt recently wrote in Commentary magazine: "Life chances in North Korea -- and no less important, death chances -- turn on one's assigned class. ... [D]eath from starvation is almost entirely consigned to the state's designated enemies from the 'hostile classes.'"
US, S Korea and Japan discuss denuclearization, summit talks
Top U.S., South Korean and Japanese officials discussed how to achieve complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula during weekend talks ahead of upcoming inter-Korean and U.S.-North Korean summits, Seoul said Monday. Seoul officials who visited Pyongyang recently say North Korean leader Kim Jong Un agreed to hold summit talks with South Korean President Moon Jae-in in late April. Seoul says Kim proposed meeting with President Donald Trump, and Trump agreed to him by the end of May.The developments have raised hopes for a potential breakthrough in the North Korean nuclear crisis.
North Korea is arguably the greatest implementation of the totalitarian regime imagined in Plato's "Republic." Based on a series of myths that Plato would call "noble lies," North Koreans subscribe to the belief that they are a superior, chosen race in much the same way Nazis subscribed to potted views about Aryans. This is interesting in its own right, but it also forms the backdrop for the regime's paranoia about the outside world.
Of course, the regime itself also operates as an extortion racket, feeding off not just its own people, but a global black market in arms, drugs, sex trafficking and counterfeiting.
The regime has been willing to starve its own people in the pursuit of nuclear weapons, which it sees as the only guarantor of its sovereignty and its eventual destiny of reuniting the peninsula. Negotiating with North Korea may be the right thing to do, but our negotiators should understand the monstrosity they're dealing with.
(Jonah Goldberg's new book, "The Suicide of the West," will be released on April 24. You can write to him at, or via Twitter @JonahNRO.)
South Korea says North Korea agrees to hold high-level talks .
South Korea said Saturday that North Korea has accepted its proposal to hold high-level inter-Korean talks next week. Load Error In a statement, South Korea's Unification Ministry said the talks are planned for Thursday.The talks were first proposed by South Korea to be held in the Panmunjom truce village in the Korean Demilitarized Zone.North Korea said it will be represented by a three-member delegation led by Ri Son Kwon, chairman of the Peaceful Reunification of the Fatherland Committee.South Korea stated earlier that its three-member delegation will be led by Unification Minister Cho Myoung-gyon.
Wait For It...The Mongols!: Crash Course World History #17
Crash Course World History is now available on DVD! Visit http://store.dftba.com/products/crashcourse-world-history-the-complete-series-dvd-set to buy a set for your home or classroom. You...
Bill Clinton on Virtues of North Korean Nuclear Deal - History Repeats Itself
Speech by Bill Clinton on 21 October 1994 on how the world is a safer place based on the "good deal" with North Korea, preventing it from obtaining nuclear weapons. On October 9, 2006, North...
Friday, 22 june 2018
Immigrant children separated from their families need leaders in Washington who are willing to go beyond partisan goals and make effective changes.Newton’s Cradle is a common fixture in a corporate office. It is the desk toy where someone drops a little metallic ball on a string and it […]
Friday, 22 june 2018
Journalism lost a giant Thursday when Charles Krauthammer, a Fox News contributor and Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist for The Washington Post, died at the age of 68. I do not know Charles Krauthammer well, though we would occasionally see each other at Fox News when I worked there and at […]
Friday, 22 june 2018
A thinker like no other, Charles drew on reserves of energy and willpower to overcome a multitude of daily challenges.When he was asked how to become a columnist, Charles Krauthammer would say, with characteristic drollery, “First, you go to medical school.” He did, with psychiatry as his […]
Thursday, 21 june 2018
President Trump did not change his mind on Wednesday about the so-called "zero tolerance" policy that amounted to a de facto standing order to put bawling toddlers in cells while their parents were detained elsewhere over possible misdemeanors. To claim that Trump changed his […]
Thursday, 21 june 2018
After accounting for taxes illegal immigrants pay, we’re still supporting them to the tune of some $123 billion. Don’t we need that money for the opioid crisis, infrastructure, and aircraft carriers? Illegal Immigrants Are Crushing Our Public SchoolsIn California (always California), […]