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Eureka: Our abusive relationship with North Korea
by Jay Gutman
2018-01-06 12:17:43
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I get that North Korea is being abusive all by itself and that no one is encouraging the North Koreans to be abusive. But before I get there, let me share my experience trying to bring their South Korean cousins to the negotiating table.

nko1_400First they said it was the language barrier that was preventing them from coming to the negotiating table. At the time I was trying to discuss some economic, social, political, scientific, legal, educational and other aspects of Korean policy. I did manage to sit down with three Korean public officials, but the conversation was blocked and surrounded around the career progression level. They were talking about their career progression and kept asking me about mine. When it came to the realm of ideas, the conversation could not move forward.

Now to North Korea. We've all been in abusive relationships at some point. Maybe it was parents or a spouse or a sibling or classmates or colleagues or bosses or someone else. There's always someone who is being abusive somewhere. How do you handle trolls? If you feed them, you get more trolling. If you ignore them, they still troll you. Same goes with bullies. You feed them they bully back. You ignore them they still bully.

So how do you handle the case of an abuser like North Korea. Bullies have their frame of mind and believe they have grounds for doing what it is that they are doing. You know like the fashion police who will bully anyone who doesn't dress up. Or the wife who will not stop yelling until all her orders are complied to, and then will use yelling as a tactic to get what she wants. Or a man who will threaten to use physical violence to get what he wants. The woman will yell if she wants you to perform simple tasks like going out to buy her lemons. The man will threaten to use physical force to get you to perform simple tasks like that of getting you to go out to pay a bill.

Now like their South Korean neighbors who refuse to come to the negotiation table, guilt has something to do with it, and hatered had something to do with it, and the structure of the system had something to do with it. In South Korea as in North Korea, when circumstances force change, that's when things start changing.

Now with North Korean abuse, North Korea will only change its tactics when circumstances will force that it changes tactics. North Korea still has the support of Marxist governments and leftist governments who believe it is standing up to imperialism and it is the only regime that is giving the empire a headache. It has the support of some nationalist governments who believe that North Korea is standing up for its right to exist. And it has the support of some governments, the kinds of governments who believe that victims are also partly responsible for their fate.

How do you deal with bullies? There's two schools. One school says you should get bullies out of the way. Another school says you should use positive incentives with bullies and they'll give up bullying.

What was my experience with the two schools? I tried to use praise, gifts and incentives with bullies. I tried to comply with every demand of bullies, even though demands kept pouring in. What was the result? More bullying. A lot of times these were Korean bullies by the way. They derived pleasure from getting what they wanted while using pressure. The prisoner complies and shares information, but you still use torture to get the prisoner to comply with other demands. That's how it works.

So in the end I don't really believe in that school which believes in positive reinforcement. Positive reinforcement works with people with good intentions, but only encourages bullies to bully more. Kindness irritates bullies. Aggression impresses them. But when confronted with aggression, they often don't know what to do. Don't give them more time to place their game. Last time I did that, I ended up isolated, with no friends and nowhere to go to. Once my bully fiancée had gotten me in that position, she was ready to run away.

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