I am not sure that this title is helpful. Certainly an interesting perspective and some useful points for analysis. Sure by Miller's definition north Korea is almost a "failed state."
But it is also one that has not "failed" to the point of collapse because it has absolute and complete control of the first of the five functions of a state: "coercive force to defend itself and administer its rule." This is what has prevented north Korea from collapse even if all other functions are a "failure."
With the author's time in Korea I would have hoped that he would have been exposed to Robert Collins' "Seven Phases of Collapse" or "Patterns of Collapse" (overview here: http://www.theatlantic.com/
magazine/archive/2006/10/when- north-korea-falls/305228/ but he should have been exposed to the details as they have set the foundation for observing for indications and warnings of regime collapse)
What is the precipitating event that will lead to collapse? As we have written many times over the years since we wrote the plans for north Korean instability and collapse it is when the Kim Family Regime no longer can govern the entire territory of the north from Pyongyang (loss of central governing effectiveness) and the loss of coherency and support of the military and security services. The combination of those two conditions will lead to collapse. But the Collapse-War Paradox is that those same conditions could lead to a decision by Kim Jong-un to ensure the protection of its single vital national interest: survival of the Kim Family Regime. That decision could be to execute its campaign plan to reunify the peninsula by force which in the north's calculation would ensure survival of the Kim Family Regime (though we know that would be a mis-calculation as it would not be successful).
And again, I can no prediction on if and when the Kim Family Regime will collapse. But I will predict that if it does happen it will be catastrophic for the ROK and the regional powers and will have global impact (and of course for the Korean people living in both the north and the South). But let me end with four thoughts and quotes:
"Deterrence works, until it doesn't" Sir Lawrence Freedman"There are only two ways to
approach planning for the collapse of North Korea: to be ill-prepared or to be really ill-prepared" Dr. Kurt Campbell 1 May 1998Sun Tzu - "never assume the enemy will not attack, make yourself invincible." - The Collapse Corollary: "Never assume the KFR will not collapse - prepare now."Strategic Planning and Preparation Paralysis arises from a fear of what comes next - thus the Collapse-War Paradox
Let me conclude with this final statement:
Unification is the only way to end the north's nuclear program and to end the crimes against humanity being perpetrated against the Korean people living in the north by the Mafia-Like Crime family cult known as the Kim Family regime.
A disgraceful definition of dereliction of duty by the DPRK
Before predicting its collapse, North Korea must be seen for what it is: a failed state
Robert E. McCoy
December 11th, 2015
North Korea is a wicked problem. A wicked problem has been variously defined by the social sciences as one that defies resolution due to adequate information never being available or dynamic characteristics that are difficult to isolate or pin down.
An example of this is the varying predictions about when a North Korean collapse will occur. Even though everyone in the region needs to be prepared for regime collapse should it ever occur, the problem facing Northeast Asia really isn't whether or not the DPRK will implode; it is that North Korea is a failed state. It is that failed state with which others in the region and the U.S. must prepare to deal.
In preparing for failed states, it is imperative to know precisely what we are dealing with. Seminal work in this regard can be found in Paul D. Miller's 2013 book Armed State Building: Confronting State Failure 1898-2012. The root cause of the disasters in dealing with failed states is a lack of understanding of why and how nation-states fail - witness first Iraq and now Syria. This requires a highly nuanced grasp of the factors behind failed or failing states. However, in order to comprehend how states fail, it is first necessary to recognize what states are supposed to do.
Miller's analysis postulates that there are five functions that states are to perform. They are: (a) a state must have a coercive force to defend itself and administer its rule; (b) it must exemplify a theory of justice that is accepted by its citizenry; (c) a state must be the supplier of a host of public goods and services such as infrastructure, education and other necessary social services, to cite only a few; (d) it must offer a sound fiscal foundation for its people, be involved in the economy only to the degree necessary to accomplish its purposes, and its burden on the citizens limited to what is acceptable; and finally (e) the state must be the creator or facilitator of actions for the human good.
If a state isn't fulfilling these functions, then it is failing or has already failed
If a state isn't fulfilling these functions, then it is failing or has already failed. However, in dealing with a failed state, one must determine what the nature of its failure is. Much of the difficulty when dealing with failed states in the past is that there has been little, if any, analysis of the causes behind any one particular failure. Yet it is foolhardy to apply any solution to an undefined problem.
(Continued at the link below)