Nevertheless, Kim appears to be much closer to a normal ruler with normal ambitions and objectives. That does not make him a liberal. But it does make him someone the U.S. might be able to do business with, in Margaret Thatcher’s famous—and accurate—assessment of Mikhail Gorbachev. While the president should not yet clear a space for his Nobel Peace Prize, Kim just might be willing to make a limited arms deal that would improve both stability and security on the Korean Peninsula. And which could lead the way to progress on other issues.
What should the next administration do? Watch the march. Understand Kim’s message. Respond accordingly.
Doug Bandow is a Senior Fellow at the Cato Institute. A former Special Assistant to President Ronald Reagan, he is author of Tripwire: Korea and U.S. Foreign Policy in a Changed World and co-author of The Korean Conundrum: America’s Troubled Relations with North and South Korea.
Image: Soldiers attend a parade to mark the 75th anniversary of the founding of the ruling Workers' Party of Korea, in this image released by North Korea's Central News Agency on October 10, 2020.