The US is ready to act if, for some internal reasons, the regime in North Korea falls, and the Americans will have to "restore order." Head of the State Department Rex Tillerson assured: the US does not achieve the collapse of the regime Kim Jong-un. But the words of CIA Director Mike Pompeo about the "beautiful people" and "the departure of the dictator" indicate the opposite. Is the probability of the "Maidan" in Pyongyang great?
The Pentagon has prepared numerous options for action in case "for some internal reasons" in North Korea there will be unrest or "the regime will fall," US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said. According to him, the US promised China that if US troops are to enter the territory of the DPRK to restore order, after the operation is over they will return to their original positions, "south of the 38 parallel."
Tillerson stressed that the "fall of the regime" he referred to could be "something internal", which has no connection with external pressure on Pyongyang. In any case, the priority in such a scenario will be the safety of nuclear weapons, which the DPRK already has.
The head of the State Department assured: the United States does not seek a regime change, does not achieve the collapse of the regime. But it should not be forgotten that in July CIA Director Mike Pompeo said that Washington needs to find a way to "separate" Kim Jong-un from its growing nuclear arsenal. CNN cited the statement of the head of the CIA: "I am sure that North Koreans are a beautiful people who would like to leave" the dictator.
It should be noted that right after Tillerson's statement that the US "does not achieve the collapse of the regime" (and, moreover, is ready to negotiate with Pyongyang without preconditions), the White House press service issued a clarifying statement. The position of Donald Trump in relation to North Korea is unchanged - Pyongyang's actions are dangerous and threaten the whole world.
But how justified is the US calculation that the North Korean regime will collapse due to some mass protests or internal disagreements among elite groups?
The rate of hunger riot is unjustified
According to experts, the rate of social discontent or "revolution from below" is unjustified, considering both the effectiveness of political control and the social status of citizens, which now looks acceptable by North Korean standards.
Extremely heavy for the DPRK were the 1990, which came in the last years of the reign of Kim Il Sung, and the beginning of the reign of his son, Kim Jong Il. Then, after the collapse of the socialist bloc, a sharp reduction in international supplies and a series of crop failures (coupled with the ineffectiveness of the command and administrative system), the country experienced an economic collapse and a humanitarian catastrophe. The famine 1995-1999 years - denoted in official documents by the term "Difficult campaign" - carried away, according to various sources, from 10 thousand to three million human lives. Information, due to the closedness of information, is inaccurate.
At the peak of the crisis, the DPRK found itself forced to depend on foreign humanitarian aid, including from Japan and even the United States. Under the administration of Bill Clinton, supplies within the framework of the UN World Food Program reached from 350 thousand to 700 thousand tonnes of grain per year. Under George W. Bush, the aid was sharply curtailed, which allowed the US to be accused of "using food as a weapon." But then no attempt was made to "starve the riot".
At the beginning of the 2000, Kim Jong-il's regime initiated economic reform. Initially, the weakening of the regulation of the economy (combined with increased government spending on the army) led to a jump in prices for basic food products. But now, according to experts, the Koreans, the situation has stabilized. In particular, the harvests of 2013-2014 years were sufficient for the DPRK to be able to feed and maintain itself, taking into account the policy of reliance on one's own forces (in fact, the name of the Juche ideology is translated). Since the transfer of power to Kim Jong-un, the regime has pursued an economic policy that is similar to the "policy of reform and opening up" that Chinese leader Deng Xiaoping started in 1978.
As professor of the University of Kunming (Seoul) Andrei Lankov believes, the North Korean economy is now a "big black market", private trade is developing.
"The last five years have been marked by a certain and quite visible increase in the standard of living. There are some bright things for the masses, the assortment of goods in stores increases, the quality of life grows. And this is exactly the situation when people are fed up not with political studies, but with real "cookies," Konstantin Asmolov, an employee of the Center for Korean Studies of the Institute of the Far East of the Russian Academy of Sciences, commented to the newspaper VZGLYAD.
In a comment to the publication "Expert" Andrei Lankov pointed out that the state's attempts to strictly restrict the activities of private traders can cause discontent. So, there were spontaneous riots in 2005 year.
But, as the experts unanimously note, no organized and mass political opposition (like the one that arose in Eastern Europe at the end of the 1980, in the USSR at the late stage of perestroika or in China at the time of events in Tiananmen Square) can not be discussed. Konstantin Asmolov notes: "There are no structures that are able to organize the" Maidan ". For example, there is no stratum of dissident intelligentsia. Dissidents are simply nowhere to take. Or they were eliminated in due time, or they died out during the famine, or they occupied places where the attitude of the state to the intelligentsia is very favorable. "
In addition, "the syndrome of the" fire ring "makes it possible to explain naturally and partly justifiably all internal difficulties not by mistakes of the authorities, but by external intrigues," Asmolov said. "There is no prerequisite for the" Pyongyang spring "in the Arabian version, the expert concludes.
However, American strategists can bet on the "fall of the regime" of Kim Jong-no's personal power (more precisely, the power of his closest associates) as a result of the palace coup.
The elite does not want to be in the role of "henchmen of the bloody regime"
The stance that the North Korean issue will be resolved by overthrowing the regime of the "Kim dynasty", the US has been doing for a long time. Of the confidential materials of the State Department, disclosed and published in 2010 by the WikiLeaks portal, it followed: the USA and South Korea were ready for the relatively early collapse of the DPRK and the reunification of Korea. The then deputy head of the South Korean Foreign Ministry, Chong En Wu, told US ambassador to Seoul Caitlin Stevens: China (which covers North Korea politically and economically) no longer considers Pyongyang a useful or reliable ally and is even ready to give consent to Korea's unification around Seoul. This kind of speculation was on the eve of the death of the previous leader of the DPRK, Kim Jong Il, and at the time of the transfer of power to his middle son, Kim Jong-un.
"Interregnum", obviously, passed painlessly. In 2013, Uncle Kim Jong Yin - Chang Sung Taek (considered one of the most influential functionaries, curator of security agencies and the labor camp system) - was suddenly removed from all party posts, accused of treason and attempted coup and executed.
The next wave of rumors about the imminent collapse of the Juche regime occurred in October 2014, when Kim Jong-un for a long time did not appear in public. A number of Western publications, including the British The Guardian, the Swiss Le Temps and the Italian La Repubblica, suggested that the DPRK survived a coup attempt or an army coup. There were opinions that the sad fate of Kim Jong-no's elder brother, Kim Jong Nam, poisoned in Malaysia in February of 2017, indicates that the leader does not feel safe.
But, as Konstantin Asmolov points out, do not settle for an intra-elite conflict that will lead to the collapse of the DPRK. This is not in the interests of the elite groups themselves. "We must understand that there is South Korea, which looks at the DPRK not as a different state, but how modern Kiev looks at the Donbas.
In terms of the Constitution of the Republic of Korea, the North is not a state, but an anti-state organization, "the expert notes. "Therefore, any crisis in the DPRK will be an occasion for Seoul, with the support of America, to start trying to implement a so-called reunification, which in fact will be the absorption of the North by the South. After that, according to the laws on national security, any representatives of the North Korean elite will be subjected to very rigid lustration as "henchmen of the bloody regime". Do they want it? "
But what should not be discounted is the position of China, with which Trump's administration is now actively trying to "work on the Korean issue" - from the threats of economic pressure on Beijing that were heard in June and August to the recent appeals to press Pyongyang together.
China is irritated, but tolerates
"The policy of the North Korean leader causes considerable irritation of China," Sergey Karaganov, Dean of the Faculty of World Economy and World Politics at the Higher School of Economics, commented to the newspaper VZGLYAD. But China can not finally give up the DPRK, because it can not allow the fall of the regime and its collapse. "
Not only can this or that war start in this case, but as a result of it, the DPRK can be seized by South Korea. "Then a much more powerful, populated and yet unstable state will emerge on the Chinese border, which the Chinese absolutely do not want. In addition, they can not allow the intervention of Americans on the side of South Korea, "the expert explained.
Apparently, China is trying to pressure North Korea, but the question is how tough it can be, given that the survival of the North Korean regime is at stake. In this situation, both regimes and countries stand to death, "the expert stressed. So even the change of Kim Jong-un did not change anything. "All the North Korean leadership and the entire elite understand perfectly well that nuclear weapons are the only guarantor of their survival," the expert concluded.
In this scenario, the most likely way out will be to find a way out of the crisis with the participation of Russia and China - to which (at least in words), Trump calls periodically. Recall that the other day Moscow and Beijing have offered the DPRK to declare a moratorium on nuclear testing and missile launches, and South Korea and the United States - to refrain from conducting exercises in the region. But in Washington this initiative was ignored.