Plan to Disarm North Korea
Assumption #1: Reunification would end the humanitarian crisis and disarm North Korea
Assumption #2: Unification can be achieved by changing the allegiance of North Korean elites
Assumption #3: Personal security and financial prosperity motivates human behavior
Imagine you control a multi-billion dollar capital fund and North Korea is an underperforming corporation. You see it is undervalued and wish to take over, but it is controlled by a backward board of directors—the Kim family and a small number of ultra-elites—who will not negotiate a deal. In this regressive situation it is logical to offer shareholders—the larger number of political and military elites, government managers and bureaucrats, and the general population—a higher price for their shares to convince them to overrule their board of directors.
This friendly corporate takeover can be accomplished for less than $30 billion—$4.2 billion per year for 7 years. This is pocket change for a small consortium of transnational corporations and business tycoons, while the private and public sector benefits would be enormous.
To achieve this result, we must create a privately endowed (no-risk) fund that promises an appealing payout to North Korean elites if they can bring about reunification. The top 1,000 North Korean families will be promised $5–30 million each (dispersed over 7 years), 11,000 upper elites—including all generals—would get over $1 million; 50,000 lower-level political elites and military officers are promised $100,000 to $500,000. In total, 81,000 military officers and 31,000 political/military elites will receive a large payout, plus the benefits of living in a reunited Korea in the free world. This will create powerful incentives for unification among the new generation of elites that has taken over since the succession of Kim Jong-un six years ago.
Promising safety and security to the House of Kim may prevent bloodshed. However, if Kim does not acquiesce there may be chaos and insurrection. With $20–30 million promised to each of the 210 most prominent families, they might take matters into their own hands. Or a coup d’état may be sponsored by well-compensated political or military elites. In either case—violent overthrow or peaceful acquiescence—the transfer of power to South Korea would disarm a growing nuclear threat and end more than 65 years of abject tyranny and human rights abuse.
This plan is introduced in my book: Stop North Korea! A Radical New Approach to Solving the North Korea Standoff (2017).