During the 1990s, I was afforded the opportunity to fly to Germany as a C-141B Flight Engineer in the USAF Reserves. On one particular trip, our aircraft had a massive fuel leak, so we were stuck in Frankfurt for 10 days or so while it was repaired at Rhein Mein Air Base. Because the breakfast in the hotel was $28, I would trot a few blocks to the Frankfurt Bahnhoff for a cappuccino and some bratwurst. I was the son of a 4 foot 10-inch tall Bavarian woman, so I could speak German good enough. I enjoyed engaging the locals with my socially imposing and ineptly witty and garbled attempt at German banter complete with the spitting sounds my pseudo-Bavarian accent could express. Most of the time I was met with genuine eye contact, approval and a reciprocative verbal jousting. The complete opposite of the occasional sterile cockpit environment with non- nourishing class-conscious officers while transitioning the pond the 50th time. Then again, as an adult with attention deficit disorder and a motor mouth, I could talk the hind leg off a dead jack ass. My dad said he could power a car if he could hook my jaw up to a differential. In third grade, the teacher taped my mouth shut. On USAF missions, I had to police and manage my incessant non-value adding verbal diarrhea. I would remain silent so the pilots could talk incessantly about airline interviews.
Once I had gobbled down a mustard inundated brat or a tasty schnitzel sandwich, I would lean against a wall of the massive Bahnhof and watch as train passengers scurried here and there. Like the child in red in Schindler’s list, I noticed how different the East Germans dressed compared to the West Germans. The East Germans would travel on the trains in order to get a job in lieu of joining the 25% to 30% unemployment rate in East Berlin. While the West Germans wore leather coats, high dollar wool suits, and expensive leather shoes, the East Germans sported the drab colors of the former Soviet Union complete with gulag style leather boots. The East Germans were willing to work for low wages and travel for hours to do so. It would not be long before the reunification of Germany was complete. The East Germans would become Germany’s short-term “Lebensraum.” Once assimilation was in full swing, Germany’s GDP would rise. In fact, German companies were starving for cheap labor, and The East would become an avenue for massive economic expansion.
I remember how hard my German mother would work for minimum wage at textile sweatshops to keep us fed.
On the trips I made to South Korea, I would shop at massive South Korean markets and sample the tasty fare. My favorite was the seafood and hot kimchee. The economic activity was insane. The South Korean people are a hardy hard-working lot second only to the Germans.
North Korea, is the last closed borders communist petri dish left on the planet. Even China and the former Soviet Union have completely modified their original bastardized form of Marxism and are adapting to the partial free market enterprise. Kim Jong Un understands that corporations related to the South Korean economic powerhouse are salivating over the standardized and conditioned poverty-stricken North Korea workforce. Should Kim Jong Un give up his nuclear weapons, and shut down the DMZ, the US and the rest of the corporate world will infuse capital into the North Korea economy.
Kim Jong Un will have to resist the idea of a continued police state as world capital floods in. He will have to adapt to a more freedom-oriented judicial and economic system.
North Korea should look at how the East Germans were assimilated and how the unification of Korea will benefit.
Kim Jong Un should look at creating a Korean Bill of Rights for it’s citizens.
Of course, only great leaders can facilitate a virtuous unification of the Korean peninsula.
I think Kim Jong Un has the intelligence and leadership skills to facilitate the successful unification of the Korean Penninsula.
All communist states replicate the poverty and filth that Karl Marx endured during his London ghetto experiences. It is a Catch 22 that a communist state would abandon the failed policies of Marx and Engles in favor of the economic exploitation of the masses. China comes to mind.