Kim Jong Un, the former Supreme Leader of North Korea, is now the Supreme Representative of all Korean People, according to a new Constitution released on the Naenara official state website, as reported by Reuters.
The action is widely seen as an effort by Kim to further normalize his country in terms of international negotiations in preparation of peace treaty talks with the United States.
This is the perceived goal of the new set of talks with the United States which are scheduled to begin this month. With Trump’s actions on the DMZ following the G20 and the President’s desire to have concrete foreign policy achievements for his 2020 election bid, it is not unreasonable for North Korea to expect capitulation on the demand for denuclearization.
This effectively completes the win for North Korea. The US has, under President Trump, pushed South Korea to engage in reunification talks, engaged in one-on-one diplomacy with Kim without preconditions, spoken glowingly and respectfully of the dictator in many public venues, ended most joint military operations with South Korea, heightened friction between SK and Japan (thus isolating SK from non-socialist allies) and approached Kim not merely as an equal but as a lessor in public meetings, all culminating with a visit to North Korea and an invitation to visit the White House.
North Korea has, in return, stopped testing nuclear weapons after it had performed enough that it did not need to test any more.
The obvious response to this is that Trump has handed North Korea what it and China together could not achieve : a win in the Korean War.
It’s valuable to consider what this means on the world stage. North Korea is only one country, and while it is arguably the most brutal dictatorship in the world, it is not the only one. This series of actions has presented a clear path for every other nation: get nukes, you win.
Trump has demonstrated that the United States is not merely a paper tiger, it is willing to abandon previous human rights gains in pursuit of temporary political power. This, coupled with President Obama’s lack of willingness to respond to ISIS presents a clear image of a country whose military force, though impressive, is effectively meaningless. It will participate in small skirmishes where there is no overarching threat, but will completely retreat in the face of significant violence.
With the takeover of the Republican party by Trumpist forces, it is reasonable to expect that any future Republican will be viewed through the same prism as Trump in foreign policy, at least until such time as proven wrong. Similarly, any Democrat President will be expected to hold policies similar to Obama.
Even if Trump does not cave immediately on peace with North Korea, the shift of their Constitution indicates that North Korea has every expectation that he will do so eventually.
This is the opposite of Peace Through Strength. It is peace through capitulation and pretense, and it does not encourage the safety of America or her allies in the world.