Sgt. Mom, who spent no small amount of time south of the 38th parallel, speculates as to what’s going on to the north:
The Korean nationals that I worked with, on my various voice and broadcasting jobs were a relatively cosmopolitan lot, and we talked now and again about the North, and the threat intermittently posed, most notably to Seoul, well within artillery range of North Korean big guns. Indeed, about every six months or so, the Norks indulged in what another blogger termed the Korean Motherland Unity Game of Repeated Chicken — a regularly-scheduled theatrical bit of sabre-rattling, to which the old Korea hands (and possibly most ordinary Koreans) eventually became pretty blasé. [More here from The Daily Brief] Is there now a possible end in sight to a situation which has existed slightly longer than I have been alive, through Donald Trump’s surprisingly cordial summit with Little Fat Kim? Speculation on the imminent collapse of the North floats around at about the same frequency as the Korean Motherland Unity Game of Repeated Chicken. But this time, I do wonder if the Reign of Kim really is on very shaky ground — and Little Fat Kim knows it and is nervous about survival — his personal survival and that of his circle. Bits and dribbles of dismaying information keep trickling out of the hermetically-sealed kingdom; that the soldiers forage for food in the cultivated fields, that the Nork soldier who defected across the DMZ was riddled with intestinal parasites, that the underground nuclear test site collapsed the whole side of the mountain where it was located, that whole districts are stripped bare of vegetation … and perhaps at long last, the Chinese are not quite so blindly supportive of their favorite client state. Is North Korea circling the drain of history, and the Kim regime is trying one last desperate throw of the dice while North Korea still has the appearance of a viable state?
Brinksmanship is not rocket science: if you have exactly one card to play, that’s the card you lay on the table. Still, Little Fat Kim is no less adept at four-dimensional checkers — chess, it ain’t — than The Donald, and he got that way in much the same fashion: regular deployment of actualities and balderdash more or less simultaneously. Obviously Trump and Kim are never going to be BFFs, but then neither are Trump and Justin Trudeau, or Trump and Angela Merkel, or Trump and [pick a name at random]. If you ask me, it’s just as well.