Saturday, March 9, 2013
Chicken game between two Koreas
Have you seen chickens fighting each other? They have a tendency to go at it until one is seriously injured.
Actually, the game of chicken has a long history. Prof. John Nash was a mathematician who developed game theory. For this, he won the Nobel Prize for economics, not mathematics because there is no Nobel Prize for mathematics.
Director Ron Howard even made a movie out of Nash’s life story. Like other geniuses, Nash was not perfect. He suffered from paranoid schizophrenia, which is usually characterized by withdrawal from reality, illogical patterns of thinking, and delusions.
“A Beautiful Mind” was released in December 2001, grossed over $313 million worldwide, and won four Academy Awards, for Best Picture, Best Director, Best Adapted Screenplay and Best Supporting Actress.
Although Nash did not mention it, many scholars have applied his theories to real problems, and playing chicken is one of them, describing two parties participating on a collision course, just like a head-on collision of two cars or two trains.
Every time I hear headlines about North Korea in the mass media, I think of a game of chicken. The policies of North Korea and South Korea are on a collision course.
North Korea continues to develop missiles and nuclear weapons, while South Korea counters with a voice of reason coordinated through the United Nations and other countries pursuing freedom. The problem with reality is that good people do not always win.
This is the reason why South Korea under new President Park Geun-hye may have to develop a new paradigm to counter North Korea’s latest nuclear test on Feb. 12, only three weeks after the United Nations passed new sanctions against it.
Think this way. Can South Korea wage a war against North Korea? No way.
Even if South Korea is assumed to win at the end, war is too costly and cruel. Have sanctions against North Korea worked? The answer is clearly no.
If you believe sanctions work, you are naïve or dumb, or both. Will China keep North Korea from being too aggressive? As much as China benefits from trade with South Korea, it would be foolish to depend on China to keep North Korea from provoking South Korea.
China may not even have as much control over North Korea as some may think. Do we not have the U.S. to keep South Korea safe? Yes we do, but did you notice that the only time the U.S. was really mad at North Korea was when North Korea tested long-range missiles that could reach the U.S. mainland?
Do you think the six-party talks will lead to peace? If you believe it will, again you are either naive or dumb or both. All the factors listed so far that might protect South Korea from provocative actions of North Korea are, for all practical purposes, beyond the control of South Korea.