PlusCaChange wrote: ↑
Tue Sep 05, 2017 4:06 am
Kim is playing a three sided game. His goal is to maintain control of his own country. To do this he must sufficiently reward the elites who keep him in power, the heads of the military and bureaucracy, so that they think they could not do better by replacing him. He must also keep the general population from becoming so dissatisfied with his rule they revolt.
So he isolates the country and keeps of the pretense of a constant military threat to keep the population quiescent. To reward the elites he needs cash and since can't make his population more productive without increasing unrest and he has few natural resources he can sell, he needs foreign support. The only place he can get that is China or American administrations stupid enough to pay him Danegeld.
China used to be sufficiently pleased with him just for being a buffer against the USA because they were doing their own version of clamping down on their people but since they have embarked on the path of increasing productivity they don't care so much.
So his problem is how to get more money out of the Chinese and his solution is to be scarier and more unstable than ever so they will pay him not to make trouble. It's a tightrope because if he goes too far the Chinese will replace him. This is not something they want to do because once he's gone the situation could rapidly spin out of control but if he makes too much trouble they will.
There's not much anyone else can do but put pressure on the Chinese.
I read an interesting article that speculated that Kim feels like he can be such an irrational dolt because both he and China can see that it makes the U.S. stop concentrating on issues with China. For instance, the most recent threat to impose huge import taxes.
With Kim acting up, Trump suddenly needs China to be flexible and willing to negotiate because China just happens to be the only country that could do anything about North Korea short of war.
As long as China realizes that 90% of what Kim says is just rhetoric, they will oppose the U.S. doing anything sufficient about him, and it just so happens that said rhetoric is how Kim keeps his people fooled and in line.