Episode 24

Rebecca Ends the Korean War

In early 2017, the brother of Kim Jong-un, leader of North Korea, is assassinated in a Malaysian airport. At about the same time, North Korea tests a long-range missle, the South Korean president is being removed from office, and tension on the Korean Peninsula rises to crisis levels. Rebecca decides to focus on this crisis to demonstrate her approach to foreign affairs.

   With a little help from some friends, she calls Dennis Rodman, the basketball player who visted Kim Jong Un in 2013. 

R: Mr. Rodman, I need your help. 

Rodman: This has to do with North Korea, right?

R: Right. I need you to set up a meeting. Me and him. Can you do that?

Rodman: Yes I can, but are you sure you want to go? My relationship with them has not been good for my career. You’re going to get trashed. 

R: Yeah, I know, and to make matters worse, I want you to go with me when I meet him. 

Rodman: You’re crazy. 

R: Look, I don’t know how it happened that you visited him before, but I thought it was great. I also know you took a lot of heat for it, but you kept going back now and then. You obviously have something going on there. I want to ride on your coattails, and in return, I am going to turn you into a hero. I’m going to do that partly because I think you really are a hero, and partly because I need you to get me a meeting at a personal level, not a diplomatic level. I do not want to make the initial contact through my staff.

Rodman: What should I tell him?

R: Tell him I want to meet him because I think I can help him and his whole country. Tell him I am not trying to trick him. I am not interested in regime change. I truly, honestly want to have a peaceful relationship with him, and I want the US to have a peaceful relationship with his country. And if we can acheive that, we will all be recognized as heros.

Rodman: I’ll see what I can do. 

 

A few days later

R: Hi, what do you have?

Rodman: We’re on. He’ll meet you whenever you want to meet, but suggests that you go next month on April 4 to attend the Hansik festival. This is 105 days after the winter solstice. It’s the start of the farming season and is the time they visit their family graves. It’s a big deal. 

R: OK, I’ll do it. April 4. That’s also the date Martin Luther King Jr. was killed. Will you go with me?

Rodman: I have to. He’s expecting me.

R: Great. Then can you get me a contact person? We need to plan the logistics.

Rodman: He told me to tell you to work through a guy named Park. You can reach him at 850-2-381-7946. He’ll be expecting to hear from you, and he’ll be authorized to work out the details. 

R: Thank you, Dennis. You’ve been a huge help—to me and the whole world. I assure you, you will never regret this.

 

Ten days later, Rebecca holds a press conference to announce the trip.

R: I’ve called you here today to announce my plan to visit Kim Jong-un on April 4, so I will leave here on April 3. I will be going with Dennis Rodman, who set the meeting up and who will formally introduce me to President Kim. As you all know, the tension on the Korean Peninsula is extremely high. I’ve been receiving various suggestions from military and state department experts, so I want to go to North Korea, see the country for myself, and talk to Chairman Kim to see what might be done. Do you have any questions?

Reporter 1: Kim Jong-un has just killed his own brother and fired a missle that could reach the US. Are you not afraid he’ll interpret your visit as condoning that sort of behavior?

R: No, I’m not afraid of that at all. Next question?

Reporter 2: You are the president of the United States. Why are you going to North Korea? If you want to meet Kim, shouldn’t you call him to Washington?

R: That is such a war-culture question. Because the US is higher status than N Korea, he should come when I call. First of all, I’m the one who wants this meeting. Second, I have more money than he does. Third, I want him to feel as comfortable as possible when we meet. Besides, he knows a lot more about my country than I know about his. I want to see it with my own eyes. I want to feel the atmosphere. I want to meet him in his native habitat. I am not going over there to bend him to my will. I will be trying to resolve our conflict. 

Reporter 3: Do you think you’ll be safe over there?

R: I have no doubt that I’ll be safer there than I am here. In fact, I’ll be going with minimal security because I don’t want to put to great a burden on him. I’m sure he can provide all the security I need. 

Reporter 4: Why did you need Rodman to set up the meeting? You could have done it through formal diplomatic channels. 

R: I went through Mr. Rodman because he and Chairman Kim are friends. I want him to understand that I, too, want to be his friend. Sorry, I have to run. However, all of you are invited to fly over to Pyongyang with me on Air Force One so you’ll have plenty of time to ask questions then. Meanwhile, try not to be too inflammatory with your stories. I know you all think what I’m doing is foolish or treasonous, but I ask you to judge what I do by the results, not by your prejudice.  

 

April 4

Air Force One touches down in Pyongyang Airport. It comes to a stop near the terminal but not at a gate. Instead, stairs are wheeled out and attached to the door. An enormous red carpet is rolled out to greet Rebecca as she walks down. North Korean television cameras are in position. Her arrival will be watched by most of the country and much of the world. Kim Jong Un is standing at the foot of the stairs. He and Rebecca shake hands and look into each other’s eyes. Then, as if on cue, they both smile, broad, genuinely happy smiles. No one knows why, not even Un and Rebecca. As Rebecca moves on to Second-in-command Hwang Pyong-so and down the line of waiting dignitaries, five-foot two Chairman Kim gives six-foot seven Dennis Rodman a big bear hug. 

   Kim, Rebecca, and Rodman get into a limosine. The North Korean dignitaries follow in a long line of black cars, while dozens of American reporters and camera crews board two buses, and all head for Mansudae Assembly Hall.

Once everyone is seated around the enormous table, Chairman Kim opens in accented but fluent English.

Kim: Thank you for coming all this way to meet with me. 

R: Thank you for giving me your time on this special day. I’m sure you’re extremely busy.

Kim: Nothing could keep me from this meeting with you. It has been a dream in my family, from my grandfather to my father to me, to meet with the US president, and I, personally, have long been your loyal fan. I have been watching you since you became mayor of Anytown. I have enormous respect for what you have done and are doing. I am even trying to move our government in the direction of process versus policy, but it’s not easy, given our history and our profound commitment to militarism and hierarchy.

R: I’m surprised and delighted to hear that. I had no idea you knew anything about me. I guess I assumed that you would be attending to the president of the US, but I had no idea you were watching me in Anytown. However, since you have been watching, you must know I am here to try to resolve the animosity between your country and mine. Do you have any idea how we might begin to do that? 

Kim: Yes, I do. My grandfather, my father and I have stated repeatedly that all we want is some assurance of peace. I need a promise that you will not invade us or attack us economically and that you will not attempt regime change like you did in Iraq. We have always said that if you promise not to attack us, we will give up our nuclear program, but today, I will go further. If you will sign a peace treaty and promise not to allow the South to attack us, and if you will function as mediator and honest broker, I promise that we will begin negotiating in good faith with the South to end the Korean War and start a process that I genuinely hope will lead to unification of our country. 

R: You are amazing me. You must know that unification will cost you your position. 

Kim: Of course. In fact, it may cost me my life. My enemies recently killed my brother. I am surrounded by men who are desperate to avoid peace with the South. However, I am more than ready to step down as soon as I believe my people will be safe, and I am ready to die to begin this process. It has always been the threat from the US, Japan and the South that has given power to the militarists. I assure you that most of the pathology in my country is a direct result of the threat we have always felt coming from you, that is, from the US. Now that you are here, I have no doubt that I can trust you. If you tell me we are safe from attack, I will know we are safe, and I will completely let down my guard. I will begin the process of reunification. North and South have been divided too long. Koreans are one people, a single family. Let’s begin the process of reconciliation and reunification. 

R: You have my word. The US will not attack you as long as I have any power to prevent it. In fact, I will do my best to obtain some economic assistance to help with your transition. If you will open your doors to Americans, I will get some of our best people to visit you and see how we can work together in a way that will benefit both countries. Of course, we have to be very careful. We do not want your country overrun and privatized by capitalists like the Soviet Union was, but I’m sure we can strike a reasonable balance. It would be wise to build your economy up a bit before attempting reunification. And I suggest that you start a process through which you can move toward resolution of your most intense internal conflicts. As you said yourself, those conflicts will become quite dangerous when the external threat is reduced.

Kim: I believe you, and I am grateful. But why have you come here? Most of the world thinks I’m a crazy murderer. Most US politicians advance their careers by ridiculing or demonizing me. What made you think I might be open to an overture?

R: I saw you with Dennis back in 2013. I knew when you invited him to your country that you wanted to improve relations with the US. Like most Americans, I have heard terrible things about you and your government. I have no doubt that your country, like all countries, has both good and evil aspects. But when I saw you with Dennis and read some of what Dennis said about you, I knew you were begging for help. I came as soon as I could. I’m only sorry it has taken this long.

Kim: Thank you. Yes, although I’m genuinely fond of Dennis, I was hoping he would help open a positive channel to the American people. Reunification with the South will be difficult and dangerous. We have hurt each other for decades. In some ways, my suffering is just beginning, but my people have been suffering too much for too long. If you will help us, at least by freeing us from the threat of invasion, I believe North Koreans can quickly become good, trustworthy, productive members of the global community. And my goal is for us to become good Koreans, with no north or south in the equation. Whatever happens now, I will always be grateful for this meeting and this opportunity to dramatically improve a bad situation. Thank you again.

 

The last thing America’s war-dependent economy wants is peace, and Rebecca has just turned an extremely valuable enemy into a friend. She is viciously attacked by FOX News and many in the warmongering US media. She has made the murdering Kim Jong-un look like a peacenik and a hero. Critics say she is foolishly naive; he cannot be trusted; he will use Rebecca’s visit to consolidate his power and intensify his control; eventually, he will use his nuclear weapons and million-man army to attack the South, and President Whyte will have Korean blood on her hands. On the other hand, every reporter who actually attended the meeting in Pyongyang writes an article or produces a program defending her and predicting a new era in US-Korean relations. Kim proves true to his word. He and Rebecca, working together with peace-loving people around the world, finally end the Korean War. Soon, the two Koreas are one again.

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