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How to Deal with North Korea

I've been off the grid for the past week or so, camping with my family and friends but while I was gone, my iPhone somehow was able to get through the trees and wildlife to keep me in touch with what was happening in the world.

I WAS NOT surprised when I read that The Supreme Knucklehead, Kim Jong Ding-Dong had conducted even more nuclear tests, was readying a missile launch and telling anyone who would listen not to mess with him.

The dance with this idiot has been going on for years and years; it's the SOS – Same Old Story – everytime.

He does something crazy – like detonate and underground nuclear weapon larger than the one dropped on Hiroshima – then Japan, China, South Korea and the U.S. all stand up, shake their fingers and say the diplomatic version of, "Shame on you…bad North Korea" in the same tone reserved for when your puppy takes a whizz on your new carpet.

Then, they do something REALLY scary – they refer to the Ultimate Pit Bull with No Teeth in a Pink Tutu, also known as the United Nations – and say how they are going to pass really mean and strict rules to put North Korea in a diplomatic "Time Out".

Please…you are killing me over here.

As much as he was villified for his personality and less-than-flattering comments he made about the United Nations, former ambassador to the U.N. John Bolton called this one correctly several years back when the U.S. and other Six Party countries brokered a deal to bribe North Korea into shutting down its nuclear reactor.

The original plan at the time was that North Korea was a part of the infamous "Axis of Evil" and the only way to deal with it was to play hardball; no talks, bonuses, bribes or gifts until North Korea made the first move and shut down their reactor.

For whatever reason – we blinked.  We gave in and made a deal.

Bolton said back then that this was a mistake, that North Korea would see it as a sign of weakness and would fail to hold up their end of the bargain.  

Looks like was right.

I saw an "expert" on one of the morning news shows this weekend who was presenting North Korea's point of view and if what he said is true, it helps shed more light on this situation and how to deal with it.

He said that part of the problem is that the Six Party countries haven't lived up to their end of the bargain that was made.  He further explained that North Korea felt lied to, manipulated and had "lost face" in the international community.

In Asian communities, "Face" refers to how you have made someone look or, if you have showed or treated them with respect.  By reniging on the deal – even though it was a bribe and a mistake – the Six Party countries had disrespected North Korea…and they were not going to tolerate it.

So…what do you do?  How would you deal with North Korea if YOU had to deal with it?

Before we go further, let me say a couple things:

I am not a diplomat.  I have no government experience except for serving my country as a U.S. Marine.  I have no ties politically to any parties refered to in this story.

What I DO have is personal experience with dealing with bullies, both professionally as an adult and personally as both a child and an adult.

I have seventeen years experience in helping children and adults from all backgrounds and ethnicities that were in all kinds of situations, from bad marriages or relationships, abusive bosses or spouses, even business owners getting pushed around by their customers, suppliers or partners.

Through all of those experiences, ONE thing always remained constant and NEVER ONCE was this rule proven not to be true…

A bully is a bully – no matter if you are talking about Bobby down the street with a Chihuahua or The Supreme Ding-Dong with Nuclear Weapons.  The scale is larger, but the fundamentals of how to deal with them is the same.

Bullies only understand one thing – power.  The Hammer.  The Azz Whuppin'.  The Punch in the Nose. What makes this more important for everyone to understand is that IT DOES NOT HAVE TO BE THE ACTUAL PHYSICAL ACT.

The bully just has to believe that YOU ARE WILLING to do it.

Every time a bully takes your power away and you do nothing, you give the bully more power.

You can cry, scream, stomp your feet or wag your finger and say, "shame on you", but the bottom line is that if you don't "take your power back" and transmit the unmistakable signal that acting and treating you in such a manner is no longer acceptable and has consequences, the bully will not stop.

Much more importantly, when you say you are going to do something – you have to DO IT.

This is the problem with the North Korea situation.  If it is true that the Six Party countries did not follow through on their promises, then why should North Korea believe anything they say they are going to do?

Forget about the Six Party angle for a minute; going into the latest deal was a mistake from the beginning.  Giving in to the bully North Korea just empowered them more.

So what's the answer?

Politicians, diplomats, psychiatrists, school counselors and more will all tell you that talking is the best strategy.  Walk away, ignore the bully, maybe "engage" them in "meaningful dialogue" to find out the "source of their pain" and maybe "love them through it."

They may say that this sort of situation and negotiation is "complex" and "multi-layered"; that you can't threaten or intimidate other countries, tell them what to do or play hardball.

Well – acting like a puppy, rolling over on your back, putting your legs in the air and telling them to rub your tummy won't cut it, either.

I'm a combat veteran.  I have close friends that have served in Iraq and almost died.  War and military action is a terrible and violent thing.  I am a firm believer that no country – especially the U.S. – is responsible for running around, righting every wrong in the world or imposing our ideals and beliefs on others…

But – bullies don't respond to speaking softly…they respond to big sticks.

To defeat bullies, you must take your power back.  Know and believe that you are worth it.  Find the strength deep down in your heart to stand up for yourself no matter who or what may be trying to take your power away.

Then, make sure you are ready to do what you have to do, if and when the time comes.  The bully has to believe that you are serious.  Then – and only then – will you have taken back your power.

To your best,

Sensei Huff

P.S. – I go into much more detail and stories that speak to this very topic in the course "Bully Proof Kids" at http://www.bullyproofkids.com



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