By RALPH Z. HALLOW
God bless Vice President Mike Pence for politely but firmly giving Kim Jong Un the silent equivalent of a two-word greeting.
Itâ€™s the same greeting many of us long to tell North Koreaâ€™s bloody dictator audibly in person.
We first got the unwelcome news three weeks ago that the vice president would be heading to South Korea for the Olympics opening ceremonies.
It was unwelcome because, by then, Kim, by playing the reasonable, cooperative, misunderstood strongman, had already hoodwinked Moon Jae-in, South Koreaâ€™s hopelessly naĂŻve, foolish and liberal president.
The Trump White House explained the Pence mission by saying he will attend bearing â€śgrave concerns that Kim will hijack the messaging around the Olympics.â€ť
The White House was signaling it understood what North Koreaâ€™s Kim was up to in agreeing to send his athletes to march with South Koreaâ€™s Olympians under a flag of â€śunification.â€ť
Oh boy. The day before the games begin, thereâ€™s Moon smiling happily in the firm belief Kim, who would just as soon blow Moonâ€™s head off as look at him, is not only out to â€śease tensionsâ€ť but to voluntarily give up his control of the last Stalinist-style communist police state on earth.
They may make them sappier than Moon, but not on this planet.
Assuming Pence intended to speak truth to â€” and about â€” Kim, I wrote three weeks ago: â€śPence can save the day by bearing a message from (President Donald) Trump to Kim. Two words will suffice.â€ť
On Friday in South Korea, Pence and wife Karen in effect did the silent equivalent of that.
With tens of millions around the world watching as the opening ceremonies began, Moon, doubtlessly tickled pink with his own deal-making prowess, seated the Pences a few chairs away from Kim Yo Jong, the sister of the Northâ€™s dictator.
She was there to con the perpetually dazed among us into thinking her brother would under any circumstances allow the two Koreas to be united under the democratic, prosperous, capitalist South.
Not offering a nod, let alone a handshake, the Pences ignore the sister. They know full well she is the most feared and influential member of the ruling Politburo. She is a rising red star and sister of the man who starves his people and spends the food money on nukes and missiles.
The Pencesâ€™ silent two-word greeting doesnâ€™t stop there. They stand for the U.S. athletes but remain seated when the other dignitaries rise as the Koreaâ€™s combined North-South contingent passes arm-in-arm before them.
Using the old â€śsorry, running lateâ€ť dodge, Pence manages to avoid a reception with dignitaries from both Koreas and instead dines with U.S. Olympians.
Does Pence pretend he wasnâ€™t in effect giving the middle digit to all involved in spreading the Kim-Moon toro feces?
Not on your life. The vice president â€śdoes not applaudâ€ť North Korea or exchange pleasantries with â€śthe most oppressive regime on earth,â€ť a Pence aide tweeted Saturday, adding his boss â€śstands and cheers for U.S. athletesâ€ť and â€śhangs out with U.S. athletes instead of dining with Kim regime.â€ť
Trump and his vice president know weâ€™re not playing games in South Korea, for whose defense U.S. taxpayers shell out $1.5 billion a year, even though Seoul can afford that much and more to defend itself.
So you might conclude the liberal Moon administration has slapped the U.S. across the face. How? By sucking up to â€” and legitimizing â€” a North Korean dictatorship who for 67 years has been trying to turn the whole Korean Peninsula into one oppressive economic basket case.
But youâ€™ve got to hand it to the North, where the latest in the three generations of Kims has U.S. taxpayers spending billions to keep 37,000 U.S. military in South Korea.
This is bat-doodoo crazy.
In the 1950-53 Korean war to save the South from a Kim-imposed communist dictatorship, the U.S. spent $36 billion and 36,574 American lives and suffered another 103,284 wounded.
Unless youâ€™re a Kim relative or crony, eating and staying warm are iffy at best in North Korea, where the average individual income is $1,340 a year â€” the one-night cost of a Manhattan luxury-hotel room.
With an average annual income of $29,480 â€” 22 times more than North Koreaâ€™s â€” South Korea ranks as the worldâ€™s 11th wealthiest country. The North wallows down in the poverty pit at 113th.
Seoul sells us $17 billion more a year than we sell South Korea, whose president makes nice with the Kim mob while pulling that seating thing on our vice president?
Hallow wrote this for the Washington Times.