I was in the U. S. Army stationed in South Korea for 15 months in 1968-69. guarding what was PR folks called “Freedom’s Frontier.”
After spending some time studying Korean history, getting to know the locals, and making general observation, I became convinced that there was great potential for that nation. In many ways, it was like the late 19th Century United States — rugged, innovative, and economically capitalist. In no small degree, able to be so by American influence and military assistance.
I was right. South Korea became, and for the past several decades, has been an economic powerhouse. Hyundai automobiles, Samsung electronics, and many other products are omnipresent.
What about the North?
The fall of world-wide communism in 1989 – 1992 excepted Cuba and North Korea.
Cuba, a former client of the defunct Soviet Union, has been and is no threat to the United States or the world. North Korea, on the other hand, a totalitarian state run by a dynasty willing to starve its own people to maintain a war-making potential always was. Now, with nuclear weapons, it really is.
Previous administrations should have taken the North Korean Kim family seriously and gotten rid of them when it was possible with little cost.