There’s a whole genre of fiction that likes to ask the question “what if”, and when it comes to history. Like what if Germany won World War 2? What if the car had never been invented? What if the space race never ended and by this time we’d already begun to colonize Mars?
Most of those stories are pretty out there, imagining a world that’s far different from the one we currently find ourselves in. That’s why the “what if” question of North Korea and the United States dropping their long-held animosity can be such a compelling hypothetical, something so far removed from our current world that the mere idea sends one careening down a mental rabbit hole of possibilities.
Would the brutal dictatorship of the Kim family fall? Would China remain a North Korean ally if they cozy up to the Americans? Or would it finally lead to a reunification of the two Korean countries?
It’s hard to say for certain, but we do have some historical evidence to draw from. The United States has allied itself with dictators before, and we can look to those outcomes to see what any possible North Korean/US alliance would produce. There’s also plenty of instances where a desperately poor country finally opens up its borders to world economic influence, and the results are not always what you’d expect.
Here’s 15 things that would probably happen if the United States were to ever become allies with North Korea
15. China Would Throw A Fit
Perhaps the most obvious result of a US/North Korean alliance would be a very, very upset China. While the US and China have certainly maintained a cordial business relationship, the two countries have never truly gotten along. China and the US have an ongoing dispute over islands in the South China Sea and become enraged whenever an American naval ship passes through. On top of that, the many military alliances with island nations in the Pacific make China feel like America is closing in all around them.
That’s why China really likes having North Korea as an ally – they serve as a physical buffer between them and the nearest American ally, South Korea. If the North were to ally itself with the US, then suddenly China has an American aligned country right on its border. That has never happened before, and China would not like it one bit.
14. South Korea Could Finally Relax
South Korea has been living in a state of almost perpetual readiness for decades. The Korean War never truly ended; there was no truce signed, no surrender negotiated, and only an armistice created in 1953 keeps the two sides from rejoining in deadly conflict.
That armistice may have stopped the fighting, but the North still has guns pointed over the demilitarized zone ready to shell Seoul into oblivion at the push of a button. It’s believed that North Korea has 60% of its total artillery assets within 10km of the demilitarized zone and could flatten Seoul within the hour of declaring all-out war.
13. America Would Start Selling Arms To The North
If there’s one thing that’s for certain, it’s that when the United States allies itself with a tyrannical dictator they start selling that dictator guns. When Panama was controlled by a military junta in the 1980s, America provided Gen. Manuel Antonio Noriega (via the CIA) with the guns needed to silence his opponents. When America installed the Shah of Iran into power they immediately started selling the country arms and ammunition, and even after the Shah fell during the Islamic Revolution America continued to sell the country weapons.
Even Saddam Hussein, a dictator that quickly became a US enemy when he invaded Kuwait, was at one point a US ally and was sold tons of weapons. In fact, it’s hard to find a country that America hasn’t sold guns to. If the Kim family allied themselves with the US, you’d better believe they’d get their hands on some high-tech American arms tout suite.
12. North Korea Might Finally See Its Economy Improve
It’s been a well-known fact for decades that North Korea has an economy far behind the rest of the world. The standard of living within the North’s borders is far below that of anyone where in the West, with internet and computers often being an unaffordable luxury. Even food can become scarce, and in the mid-1990s the country suffered from its worst famine in decades, resulting in the death of as many as half a million people.
Of course, rather than blame the true culprit of the famine – economic mismanagement, a food import system that prioritized those loyal to the state, and floods and droughts – North Korean leaders accused the agricultural minister of being a US spy who deliberately sabotaged crops and promptly had him shot.
Currently, the country has more US sanctions against them than any other country on Earth. If those were to be removed, the country might finally see a giant upswing in its economy as American businesses moved in.
11. Or Not… A Flood Of Foreign Currency Might Cause Inflation
But there’s a danger to suddenly having economic walls come crashing down overnight. If the North were to ally itself with the US and open its borders to foreign investment, the sudden flood of foreign cash might cause an even worse economic problem than starvation: inflation.
Inflation is death to any modern economy – suddenly the value of the country’s currency keeps dropping as everyone has more money than there are goods to buy. Runaway inflation could cause a loaf of bread to cost 2 dollars one day and then three dollars the next. In a week it’ll be $15 (or “wons” as the North’s currenct is called), and eventually, people will lose all faith in their currency and the economy grinds to a complete halt.
10. Alliance With The US Might Destabilize The Regime More Than All Out War
Dictators, in general, tend to die or get overthrown before their life’s term in office is up (or perhaps that term is just drastically shortened in the event of assassination), but the United States tends to exasperate the problem.
Combine that with the fact that North Korea has spent decades vilifying the US, and the possibility of horrific economic disruption with the influx of foreign money, and an alliance with the US might be more destabilizing for the Kim regime than any other possibility.
Would it mean that there might be a revolution in North Korea that sees the Korean people overthrow the dictatorship that has controlled their lives since the 1950s? Or maybe America would stab the Kim’s in the back and discretely foment public dissent now that they have a foothold in the country? The possibilities are endless, but they all end with a fallen dictatorship.
9. It Would NOT Stop Their Nuclear Missile Program
You might think that an alliance with the US would remove any need for North Korea to possess nuclear arms. But defending against an American attack by threatening nuclear war was never really the intent of having those nukes. It was just a fringe benefit.
Sure those nuclear weapons discourage America from invading North Korea, but they also discourage everyone else from invading. North Korea has few allies and lots of enemies, and having a nuclear missile in their back pocket keeps the rest of the world from pouring in. There’s also been an unfortunate habit with dictators dying after they give up their nuclear missile program (just ask Saddam Hussein about it), which Kim Jong-Un is acutely aware of. Just because America becomes friendly with the North is unlikely to convince them to give up their nuclear ambitions.
8. Travel Bans Would Cease
Right now it is very difficult to get into North Korea. If you’re an American citizen it’s not even possible after the death of Otto Warmbier, the American student that was sentenced to 15 years hard labor for trying to steal a poster at his hotel.
But if we were able to wave a magic wand and suddenly get the two countries to become lovey-dovey, the travel ban would have to be the first to go. After all, how are two allies supposed to convince themselves of being allied by never permitting their populations to intermingle?
That doesn’t necessarily mean that North Korea would remove its strict control over who it lets into the country, nor would it relax its surveillance of all foreign entities. This is still North Korea, after all.
7. The North Would Have To Undo Decades Of Anti-American Brainwashing
Perhaps the largest challenge to any US/North Korean alliance would be the fact that the North has spent decades teaching its population that Americans are inherently evil. Ever since the end of the Korean War, where America defended South Korea from the North’s aggression and then promptly invaded the North themselves, North Korea has spent much of its propaganda vilifying Americans.
Korean War museums in the North typically say that America committed atrocities during the war such as using chemical weapons on civilian populations. Even today posters depict vengeful North Korean missiles descending upon the Capitol Building, destroying the evil American empire from afar. All media is state-controlled, so cartoons, news, and radio programming are all littered anti-American sentiment. Overcoming a lifetime of propaganda might prove difficult for any potential US/North Korean alliance.
6. No Reconciliation Between The North And South
You’d think that with both sides being allies of the United States that they might suddenly become amenable to the possibility of reunification. That is, quite frankly, never going to happen.
The North is run by a dictatorship, and reunification to them means overthrowing the democratically elected South Korean government by force and installing themselves as ruler over all. The South would never agree to voluntarily be annexed by a brutal dictatorship, so that option is out the window.
Conversely, the South has no desire to suddenly have an influx of poorly educated people from a completely backward country. Even if the North’s dictatorship agreed to step aside and allow both sides to vote freely, it would cause mayhem for South Korea’s political parties. So just because both sides ally with the US, it doesn’t mean the walls will come down between the two nations.
5. The North Would Be The New Source Of Cheap Labor
North Korea is poor. Very poor. So poor that at the first chance most of the population would agree to work for peanuts so they’d be able to afford a better life for themselves.
So, with an alliance between the United States and a cessation of travel bans and economic sanctions, American companies would jump at the chance to set up factories to produce cheap goods for American consumption. Especially since a lot of poorer countries that already have cheap labor are slowly but surely demanding higher pay for their workers.
There’s already one place where this already happens: the Kaesong Industrial Complex. Just inside the North’s side of the demilitarized zone, it produces cheap goods for South Korean businesses. The average wage in 2012 was $160 per month or about one-fifth the South Korean minimum wage.
4. Interracial Dating Would Rise
What happens more than anything else when walls between nations crumble? Their populations intermingle, and then they intermingle, if you know what I mean.
And I know you know what I mean.
This seems like a bit of a no-brainer, but if people can travel freely between countries then they’ll also date freely. It seems likely that travel restrictions between America and North Korea would ease and thus people would be more inclined to explore what’s out there. And when people explore, they often meet, fall in love, and maybe even eventually marry.
3. The World Would Get An Unprecedented View Into The Hermit Kingdom
There’s a reason why they call North Korea the Hermit Kingdom – they generally don’t let anyone in or out. That includes journalists who would want to get a feel for everyday life in the country, and even when they are allowed in they’re often saddled with government agents that keep them from wandering off and seeing something the government would rather they didn’t.
With a US alliance and the reduction of restrictions that would come with it, the world would get an unprecedented view into life in North Korea. But of course that also works both ways, and North Korea would get an unprecedented view into how the rest of the world lives, which would probably result in a better informed Northern population and one that would demand more from its government.
2. The World Would Breath A Collective Sigh Of Relief
Let’s be honest – things have been a little tense lately. With both country’s leaders threatening World War III on Twitter, the world is understandably nervous about the future. That tends to happen when you’re not sure you’ll wake up to a nuclear winter the following morning or not.
With an alliance declared between the two nations formerly shouting death threats at each other, every nation on earth can breathe a collective sigh of relief. Everyone except for China, which as I already mentioned will immediately start freaking out that there’s an American ally sitting directly on their border. But the rest of the world will be able to take a deep breath and feel a little bit more confident they’ll live to see tomorrow.
1. Hell Would Freeze Over
Let’s be honest again – this list has also been a list of reasons why an American/North Korean alliance would never happen. One country has spent decades vilifying the other, and the other is controlled by an angry Cheeto that’s gained sentience and access to nuclear launch codes. Both sides understandably hate the other, and so it would take a miracle for the two to come to any sort of agreement, let alone an alliance.
So rest assured, the day we see a North Korean general walking down the street hand-in-hand with their American counterpart, you’ll know that Hell has truly frozen over.
But hey, a guy can dream.
- Ad Free Browsing
- Over 10,000 Videos!
- All in 1 Access
- Join For Free!