Perhaps it is a blessing that North Koreans do not have access to the outside world and its news, particularly pronouncements from United States Presidents. In the grip of one of, if not the most, tyrannical, brutal most repressive regime in the world and in the face of the latest North Korean generated crises, the North Koreans missed the squeamish and passive Barack Obama “statement” on the Korean crises.
The North Koreans are going through a leadership transition fraught with difficulties and peril. The Korean people have suffered through decades of famine, gulags and repression that would make Mao and Stalin proud. The world has passed them by; even China and Russia have stopped the open subsidizing that propped them up for 50 years. Korea is on the brink. The leaders know it, the military knows it and even the people must have a clue.
The recent muscle flexing with uranium enrichment pronouncements, the open acts of war on South Korean ships and the latest bombing that caused the deaths of South Korean soldiers and citizens, is a regime in the death throes, desperately trying to send a message to the world that they are strong, healthy and independent.
So what does the leader of the free world do? He does an interview where he is squirming in his chair, urging the return of the six party talks, urging restraint, using rhetoric, though appearing strong, comes across as tired and weak. In the face of evil, he not only blinks, he shirks. Sending a weak message is far worse then not sending any message. We almost beg him stay on the basketball court taking elbows.
However, all of this could be rescued. Barack Obama could salvage his flagging Presidency with one bold stroke. He would shore up his and America’s standing with our rightfully fretting and nervous allies. This would be his Kennedy, “Ich bein ein Berliner” and Reagan’s “Tear down this Wall” moment. And, most importantly, it would the right thing to do.
He needs to fly to Korea, now. Go to the DMZ, replete with all the glamour and pomp of a Presidential moment that he seems to so relish in, and not only tell the world, but critically send a message to the Koreans, Chinese and Japanese. However he wants to say it, he must state clearly that this border must disappear, that Korea should be reunited as a free nation and people and that the brutal regime of North Korea must fall to into the dustbin of history.
Those words and that speech, and the man can deliver a speech, would send shock waves through the region and the world. Would it cause the overnight fall of the North Korean regime? We can only hope and pray, but it would be the first ripple in a tsumai that will eventually bring freedom and liberty to all of Korea. Does Obama have it in him? Does he even care about a free Korea? I guess we will find out soon enough.