Take a look at all those rosy reports gushing forth about a "remarkable change" -- Kim says he no longer needs to test nuclear weapons, he is willing to negotiate the end of his nuclear arms program, that he tolerates joint U.S. - South Korean military exercises, he has dropped his insistence that the U.S. pull its troops out of South Korea, an upcoming meeting with President Trump.
What is actually involved involves nothing you are hearing or seeing from the White House or the mass media.
A colleague of mine at the University of Florida was for many years an army intelligence officer. He told me that the Russians work with a model for American politics: "Indicators of Fascism." When the indicators are high, so is the risk of war; the Russian Government would back off, become conciliatory, moderate. After the indicators decline, the Kremlin then went back to business as usual.
I am sure North Korea has much the same model.
The objective is not substantive change. Rather, it is to buy time until U.S. fascist tendencies subside and the danger is gone. You can bet that North Korea´s "Indicators of Fascism" right now are flying off the top of the political Richter scale.
Leaders of regimes such as North Korea have a totally different time perspective than U.S. leaders. Trump will be in office a maximum of six more years. Kim, on the other hand, if he lives into his eighties like his grandfather, will still be in power fifty years from now. Consequently, a change of tactics for 6 years for him and the people around him is nothing.
Kim must guard his back. There is a trainload of generals and security officials in North Korea who have their political existence and privileges invested in a pro-war political position. By explaining to them that the current "soft" posture is only a temporary maneuver, Kim sidesteps the fate of Laventry Beria, Stalin´s right hand man who killed untold numbers of Russians. After Stalin died, a group of Generals took Beria downstairs. As the pistol raised toward him, Beria uttered the phrase all such men utter:
"I should have killed you when I had the chance."
Fidel Castro, who held power for five decades, once noted that no sooner do U.S. presidents figure out what it´s all about than presto -- they are out of office. Ditto Mike Pompeo, Trump´s latest Secretary of State. There is nothing in Pompeo´s biography -- California, Wichita -- to prepare him for his present post or Kim in particular. Certainly not his brief stint as CIA director. Nor his membership in the far right Tea Party. Nor his fire-breaching Christian ravings.