A Reunification of the Koreas?


A touch of background: in the last 50 years, South Korea has grown its GDP at an average annual rate of 5+%. After the Korean War, its land was ravaged, its population poor and illiterate, and its natural resources minimal.

North Korea was less ravaged but had a protective neighbor that was happy to keep them as a buffer state.

South Korea took its cues from Western, free market democracies and became a giant in the economic world. At the same time, North Korea took its cues from Chinese autocracy and communism, and became one of the weakest and poorest nations on earth save for its nuclear developments.

In addition, North Korea nurtured/fostered a vicious primogeniture monarchy and kept its poor and starving population in line with oppressive force both inside and outside of its borders.

Now, the world is teetering on the brink of a global nuclear conflict that could spread dangerously around the whole globe. And the whole world is riveted with the stupidity and volatility of North Korea’s leader (as well as the US President), which could precipitate nuclear war.

At this same moment, the Winter Olympics has led to a new opportunity for performative diplomacy between the two Koreas. They seem to be rediscovering each other in a new and curious positive light with the help of sports—of all things?

Thus the BIG QUESTION is could they really unite again?

So LET’S HAVE some speculative FUN!

How could the two countries be governed as one?

If democracy was used, the monarchy would quickly disappear unless Kim Jong Un was found a nice big island somewhere! For instance Japan?

If the autocracy was maintained, the powerful business interests in South Korea would never accept the dictates of a dictator (or vice versa).

How would China feel about a reunited Korea that was rich AND powerful?

How would Japan feel about a powerful Korea next door? With or without Kim in residence.

How would S Korea like being a nuclear power?

The sheer impossibility of finding clear, satisfying answers to the above questions strongly suggests to me that reunification is practically IMPOSSIBLE.

Why, therefore, are we being teased with that possibility?


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