North Korea in the news again. After 60 years, shouldn’t we maybe try a new approach?

The North Koreans (NorKs) and Iran continue to be snarky and we continue hitting them with more and more sanctions and seeking to isolate them at greater levels. It didn’t work with Cuba 50 years ago, and it’s not going to work now. The key is engagement – draw them in, get their people exposed to what’s out there in the rest of the world. Make them hungry for it. Sure, the current regimes will claim victory and responsibility for bringing the 21st century to their people, but so what? The people are who matter, and once they see what’s out there, it’s the people who will make the change. Not immediately, but even if it takes a generation change will come. Americans just need to take a more strategic, longer view of the world.

To that end, I believe we should be engaging with these countries and every other country we’re seeking to influence. We should be funding – overtly or covertly – internet access and cafes at every opportunity, because we’ve seen what it leads to. Look at China – they “cracked” the door on the internet for their people just a wee bit, and then were unable to hold it closed, and now China has a burgeoning middle class and more democracy than they’ve ever had before. Is it American democracy? No, but it doesn’t need to be. They’re making their own style, and I feel it will continue to evolve as the average Chinese gets more access and the younger generations age and replace the older ones.

So for Cuba, lift the sanctions; let everyone vacation there. Cuba will get hard foreign currency, but more importantly, Cubans will all these Americans; how they act, how they live, and they’ll want it. Lift the sanctions on the condition of building telecommunications links and contracts with US companies and get the internet in there. For the NorKs, same thing: give them the food they need to keep their people from starving. If necessary, route it through Venezuela or some other nation they deem friendly, but tie it to establishing greater communications with the outside world: student exchanges and internet access. It will take years, but change will happen. It will likely be more of a Chinese-flavor or emergence than American, but so what? All we need is some flavor of democracy, since historically (and admittedly, “so far”), democracies don’t attack each other.


About stoshk

Career military member, and for many years a registered Independent. I'm not a particularly type-A personality, and believe people can disagree on a topic while still being respectful of each other's opinion - everything doesn't have to be a "you're either with me or against me" philosophy. I DON'T believe everything is black or white, I DO believe most rules have exceptions, and most situations have to be judged on their own merit rather than following a blanket "party line." I DO believe that while elected officials do represent their districts and constituents, they also have an obligation to act for the greater good of the nation as a whole, and leadership should be by example, not a "do as I say, not as I do" philosophy. I started this blog because I've reached a point where I feel many aspects of local, regional, national and global life are just plain disgusting me and I needed someplace to vent, and I've had enough positive feedback about the letters, notes and commentary on various subjects that I've posted to friends through email and/or social media that I thought this might be worth it - at least to me. Any and all comments, writings and postings in the blog are solely my opinion and absolutely do not represent the views of the U.S. Government and/or the Department of Defense.
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