Russia and Iran have issued a joint statement that they will attack the United States if the superpower repeats something like the – ineffective – raid against the Syrian government airbase. Under some circumstances, the Third World War may really be just a tweet away.
I want to believe that the U.S. won't do it. In fact, I want to believe that Trump has made the exercise – which has alienated his numerous supporters – in order to get rid of the criticisms that he is a puppet of Putin's if not Assad's. While many of us are disappointed by what Trump has done, most of the people who have said that Trump was a Russian agent look like idiots now. Well, they have always looked like idiots (because they really are idiots, after all) but a much larger number of people may see this trivial point now.
North Korea may ultimately be more dangerous and the tensions have risen, too. The official TV of the crazy country has threatened a nuclear attack once again. If the U.S. warships don't behave, the North Korean nukes can show their muscles.
I would find the occupation and normalization of North Korea very intriguing. South Korea doesn't seem to be too enthusiastic about doing anything about their Northern brothers. It could be up to others. Well, North Korea might be an example in which I would recommend the politics of carrot to be tried first. Has it been tried at all?
Despite the violent language, it should be rather easy to buy North Korea. North Korea has some 25 million people and their nominal GDP per capita is just about $1,000 per year. It's about 30 times lower than that of South Korea. Yes, the whole country produces just some $25 billion a year. Despite their communist pride, I can't imagine that they don't feel the material and financial starvation.
The Marshall Plan was organized in April 1948. About $12 billion of U.S. aid – this amount of the old money is roughly equivalent to $120 billion of present money – was sent from the U.S. to Europe in order for the Old Continent to recover from the Second World War.
It was about 6 weeks after the communist coup in Czechoslovakia but Czechoslovakia still managed to be the only communist country that didn't reject the plan immediately – while Poland, a country that formally rejected the plan, had some "soft indications" of a similar attitude.
Czechoslovak minister of foreign affairs Mr Jan Masaryk, the son of the founder and first president of Czechoslovakia Thomas Garrigue Masaryk, was summoned to Moscow and Stalin screamed at him. Two months later, in June 1948, the dead body of Jan Masaryk was found under the window of his office at the Prague Castle. The incident is sometimes known as the Third Defenestration of Prague. It's not quite clear whether it was a murder or suicide and who was responsible for the murder but yes, I do find some Soviet encouragement very likely.
OK, let us return to 2017.
America has wasted huge amounts of money in countries like Iraq and Afghanistan. While the interventions into Afghanistan seemed "more morally justified", by the 9/11 attacks (similar Saddam-weapon justifications for the Iraq war are believed to be bogus today), I am actually convinced that Afghanistan was an even bigger waste of money. It is more or less impossible to turn that medieval nation into a decent and modern one. So one trillion dollars (or two?) were just thrown out of the window.
This kind of spending – at the level of one trillion dollars – should be considered when you ask "what is the value of incorporating North Korea into a more decent international community". I actually think it would be a much greater improvement to eliminate the vicious, dangerous, totalitarian regime in North Korea than it would be to "somewhat normalize" conditions in Afghanistan – which hasn't happened, anyway.
I think that the U.S. – and perhaps the U.S. and the European countries and/or NATO and/or a greater coalition of nations – should offer a deal to North Korea. Each North Korean citizen would get $500 in cash, democratic elections would be organized there, and 51% stakes in one-half of the North Korean companies would be sold to Western owners and NATO guards would be supervising North Korean facilities that are capable of attacking other countries. Lots of cheap food and some other overproduction would be moved to North Korea and distributed for free.
Feel free to improve the deal – I hope it's easy enough to distribute the funds if they're not yours. It is fun to make similar plans. Big government leftists must enjoy their lives a lot because they're doing it all the time – distributing money that doesn't belong to them. ;-)
My opinion is that an amount comparable to $100 billion would be fully appropriate to cure the world's significant problem known as North Korea. And such an investment could really be repaid very quickly. As I said, North Korea's nominal GDP is just some $25 billion a year. It will be easily tripled, one-third of the tripled GDP may flow back to the Western investors, and in 4 years, the investment may be repaid.
I do think that there is a number – the right amount of dollars and aid – that would change the North Korean citizens' and maybe even leaders' minds. For example, Kim could be offered one-half of Al Gore's villa. America and Europe have wasted trillions or at least hundreds of billions in countries where the spending has made no positive difference – like Afghanistan and Greece – so it could be a good idea to try a similar spending in a country where some potential for a visible difference exists.