The failure of the Trump admin regarding North Korea has been predictable for awhile now -- the continued militarist rhetoric even as NK became a nuclear armed state capable of nuking anywhere in America, the ridiculous delusion that they would immediately surrender that capability right after achieving it, and that all it would take to bring that surrender about would be empty promises of protection and economic development, right after breaking such an agreement with Iran over the same nuclear weapons issue. And the threat of regime change, anarchy, and killing off the ruler by referring to the Libya model.
You can blame the cosplay president, his shit-for-brains national security adviser, his scarcely less retarded secretary of state, or his Reagan LARP-ing vice president. But it all boils down to GOP business as usual under the Reagan era -- and in fact, the status quo under the New Deal era, whose dominant party was just as militarist, launching the failed Korean War that was only scrapped by the more isolationist opposition party (Eisenhower, with Nixon then removing tens of thousands of US troops from SK).
And so, nothing will change until there is another major re-alignment in this country, as the Reagan period gives way to the Bernie period, where Tulsi Gabbard will be the chief diplomat, not Mike Pompeo or Madeleine Albright. Presumably the South will not be part of that electoral coalition -- unlike the dominant party of either the New Deal or the Reaganite period -- demoting militarism from the list of priorities. That region has the highest concentration of military bases, and their elites are the most likely of any region to come from a military aristocratic lineage (back to the Cavaliers who first settled the Lowland South).
That also means that the new Bernie era will not be staffed by Democrat militarists who merely fault Trump and the GOP for not doing imperialism the right way. The American empire peaked during WWII and has been in steep decline ever since. Current opposition members who want to preserve the old paradigm will not make it through the adaptation process during political climate change.
We don't have to wait for such re-alignments in either NK or SK, as they have already happened, although exploring those transitions in depth is the topic for another post.
For now, it is enough to note the end of the conservative militarist period in SK, which began with the 1961 coup that made Park Chung-hee the leader and ended with the election of Kim Dae-jung in 1997, whose liberal-moderate coalition favors rapprochement and integration with NK. The current president, Moon Jae-in, belongs to this dominant party. The militarist faction in SK has become so weak during the current period that its most recent president, Park Geun-hye, was removed from office -- despite being the daughter of the founder of the previous period.
And in NK, Kim Jong-un is clearly blazing a new trail where his father had allowed affairs to languish -- successfully becoming a nuclear armed power capable of striking anywhere on the US mainland, and leveraging that nuclear status into greater relations with SK and China, and even with the US -- bringing the Americans to the negotiating table after getting our attention that we can get nuked if we keep militaristically antagonizing them. Now that he has a re-aligned government to work with in SK -- not the hostile Park regime -- his own government can undertake sincere moves toward integration.
His father, Kim Jong-il, oversaw more of a disjunctive period -- getting no real help from anyone, ruling during a famine, not reaching nuclear status, and being more of a decadent, flamboyant persona than an effectual leader. That phase ended the period begun by his own father, Kim Il-sung, who founded modern NK in 1948.
Xi Jinping in China is not a re-aligner, but part of the Deng Xioapeng period begun in 1978. However, that paradigm in Chinese politics is favorable toward NK in general, and toward reconciliation and integration between NK and SK -- since that would displace the US military from the Korean peninsula, a welcome change for China.
Shinzo Abe in Japan is also not a re-aligner, but part of a long period of militaristic leaders vis-a-vis NK. However, they don't have their own military, and rely on their occupier Uncle Sam to provide the saber-rattling. Once the US re-aligns under Bernie, military support of Japan will drop off, and they will take care of themselves. Whether that means they blaze a new trail toward nuclear status, or take a dovish turn during re-alignment, does not matter for the normalization of relations between NK and SK.
Unless, that is, Japan plans on directly intervening with its hypothetical new autonomous military -- but then, that would only unify the two Koreas all the more strongly, as Japanese expansion was the catalyst behind the unification of the Korean peninsula during the 500-year Joseon kingdom.
So the only missing piece is the Bernie revolution. Once that happens, bye-bye to our occupation of SK and Japan, bye-bye to them getting military services far below cost from Uncle Sam, bye-bye to them re-allocating the government spending that ought to go to national security into subsidies for manufacturing and industry, and bye-bye to the continued hollowing out of those sectors in America.
Military occupation abroad and de-industrialization back home have been two sides of the same imperialist coin during the Reagan period. Admitting that the empire is in steep decline and cutting our losses, with the Bernie re-alignment, will not only make life better for the countries we leave -- it will be better for the common people here in America. The only losers will be the elites who have gotten wealthy and powerful by failing for decades, getting forever bailed out by the taxpayers to keep at their never-successful attempts to prop up the crumbling borders of the American empire.