Tommy, you’ve been though a similar situation in the 80’s and as much you were against Reagan’s position you can’t argue w the results.
Sanctions? Who on earth still dreaming it's all caused by sanctions? And China? Do you think you can influence how a regional power treat its ally if not for the fact that the country already changed the altitude?
Unfortunately, a lot of people in the US look through all of contemporary history with a US as if the US were a sheriff and if we were only 'tough' the 'bad guys' would back down. Obviously the US is the most powerful nation so can throw its weight around, but any and every country has its own domestic calculation. Also a big event like the fall of the Soviet Union rarely has one neat cause. If you were to really assess what led to the downfall of the Soviet union you'd have to say Old people + Afghanistan + oil glut+ Chernobyl + US military build up + Matthias Rust.
Old people = Brezhnev, then Andropov, then Chernenko, all old tired senile coots. Until Gorbachov there was little dynamism in the leadership. Reagan once supposedly quipped, 'How can I get anywhere with the Russians if they keep dying on me?' which even a lib like me has to admit is pretty funny. They didn't call him the great communicator for nothing.
Afghanistan: Qagmire, Soviet Union's Vietnam. Led to disconent disillusionment with the Soviet regime and since a lot of conscripts were from the 'stans (then part of the Soviet Union), instead of exporting socialism to their co-religionists in Afghanistan, Afghanistan exported radicalism to the 'stans, as well as a lot of soldiers addicted to opium. But the US and Saudi were on the same page about kicking the Soviets out of Afghanistan and one way to do it was...
oil glut = Remember how wonderfully cheap oil was in the 80s? You wonder why? Saudi and their gulf allies deliberately forfieited their fourth gold plated 747 in order to wreck the Soviet economy which was heavily dependent on oil exports (as it is now). Cheap oil screwed Soviet Union. The fact that it screwed a lot of countries from Venezuela to Nigeria to Iraq was collateral damage.
Chernobyl = Do I really have to get into it? That was a disaster of such proportions that even an unfree society like the Soviet Union couldn't sweep it uner the rug. They almost evacuated Kiev! That would be like a disaster forcing the evacuation of Chicago in the US. Coupled with Afghanistan and it gave a lot of cover for Gorbachov to end the rot that was permeating the Soviet Union. He finally got enough power to begin tentative moves to glastnost and perestroika. There was no getting around the fact that the Soviet Union needed change. one reason was to counter....
US military build up = OK here you might "credit" Reagan, but again, it is tangential. Especially after Chernobyl Gorbachov was able to basically say, "You see, USA gonna kick our ass unless we do something!" It wasn't that Reagan was tough rather that the Soviet Union finally realized it had to open up if it was to compete. But still the military was steadfast against reform until...
Matthias Rust = All A.netters should know who he is but for those who don't he basically flew a Cessna from Finland and landed on Red Square and the Soviet Union's defenses didn't do squat. How the eff did that happen? Incompetence which allowed Gorbachov to *finally* sack the old guard of the military so he could reform. I actually think there could have been the Soviet version of LIHOP, as in the young guard in the military Let It Happen On Purpose to give a reason to oust their old fart bosses.
Gorbachov thought he could ride the reform while keeping the Soviet Union and socialism intact but the reform rode him and the Soviet Union collapsed.
Relevance of this history lesson to NK? Well, NK meaning Kim Jong Un has his own internal calculation and nukes is one element of it. After seeing what happened to Gaddhafi after he gave up nukes Kim ain't giving them up too easily. He'll extract maximum concessions from the US,and he's already won because meeting with Trump, getting Trump to parrot the NK line about the provocative war games with SK gives NK a stronger hand. Pretty amazingly stupid for a supposed dealmaker like Trump.
I may be ugly. I may be an American. But don't call me an ugly American.