It’s easy to understand a second marriage. You think: The break-up of the first union was just a fluke. The bad experience resulted from bad luck, Next time all will be different.
How to explain a fifth, or eighth, or tenth marriage, however?
The same analysis applies to the relationship between South and North Korea.
The first divorce was particularly nasty, a three-year war that killed a million people. The peninsula’s division became permanent and a low-key war persisted until just a few years ago.
But Seoul long hoped for a new relationship. With the end of the South’s military dictatorship, reconciliation seemed to become a realistic possibility. So over the last decade or so, the Republic of Korea has promoted negotiations with Pyongyang, encouraged investment in the North, and provided substantial aid to the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.
There’ve been some positive results along the way. Tensions have dipped. Families have reunited. Discussions have been held. Promises have been made. There was even a summit between the two nations’ leaders.
Yet by all accounts Pyongyang continues to develop nuclear weapons. The DPRK routinely engages in a range of unsavory activities, such as counterfeiting. North Korea still refuses to account for the many Japanese and South Koreans it kidnapped over the years.
And there are those missile tests.
A routine developed, rather like a succession of marriages and divorces. After every bad episode, Seoul came back offering more money and proposing more talks. The North avidly accepted, grabbing the proffered benefits, and then, ala Lucy and Charlie Brown, it pulled away the football when the South ran up for the kick.
BUT SOUTH KOREA NEVER seems to give up hope.
Maybe that’s because North Korea’s Kim Jong-il is kind of a lovable rogue. Admittedly, several million people are stuck in labor camps, hundreds of thousands have starved to death, and all North Koreans are denied the sort of human rights we take for granted. Still, he has a certain style.
It’s the dorky haircut, platform shoes, and unquenchable hubris. Whatever the DPRK does, his government always asks for more.
You could imagine Kim starting another war on the Korean peninsula and then demanding compensation after he lost. In a certain Clintonesque way, he would be utterly convincing, really believing himself to be the aggrieved party.
Luckily, Kim didn’t start another war. He merely shot off a few missiles.
They actually didn’t mean much for America. Even if the intercontinental rocket hadn’t been a (literal) bust, it wouldn’t have mattered. The U.S. has a massive nuclear deterrent and there’s no evidence that the Dear Leader is angling for martyrdom. He likes his virgins in the here and now.
A man of faith in a godless age is hitting Americans where it hurts.
Mr. and Mrs. American Spectator Reader, let P.J. O’Rourke talk sense to your kids.
In Britain, defending your property can get you life.
The debacle of this president’s administration is both a cause and a symptom of the decline of American values. Unless Congress impeaches him, that decline will go on unchecked. An eminent jurist surveys the damage and assesses the chances for the recovery of our culture.
It won’t take long for conservatives to scratch this presidential wannabe off their 2008 scorecard.
The American Christmas, like the songs that celebrate it, makes room for everybody under the rainbow. Is that why so many people seem to be hostile to it?
Was the President done in by the economy, or by the politics of the economy?