Between A Rock And A Hard Place
I have decided to look at NKorea through a different lens; one where the current leaders’ behavior is imposed upon him by virtue of inheritance. I was curious where this would lead and to my surprise, it explains much about NKorean behavior in 2017. Let’s pick up the history in the 1950’s when the Korean War was raging.
So the Korean War reaches a truce, the shooting stops. NKorea has been beaten back to the 38th parallel but refuses to sign a peace treaty; they are still at war with the US. We have only a cease fire agreement. It’s almost sixty years later and they are still at war with us.
After the truce it is necessary for the authoritarian Communist government to maintain control. A cardinal rule of NKorean politics is not to lose face and by refusing to sign a peace treaty “face” is preserved.
So, they focus their people on a hate campaign directed at the U.S. and swear revenge. They refuse unification with SKorea least they lose their authority and their own class comforts. The NKorean generals control a powerful army and are using an iron fist to control the populace. If you are of military age you are drafted and you get clothing, food, and shelter. By sharing these with your family some semblance of life is possible.d
NKorea now maintains it’s Communist China alliance. Both are Communist nations and both fear revolution. Both nations have landlocked Armies and watch the U.S. and SKorea become a Capitalist Mecca.
NKorean generals see what is going on down South; especially visible is the material success of the SKorean residents. So, they focus on building a military industry for the North and focusing limited resources on that effort.
Meantime, Communism collapses and converts to Capitalism in Russia. China has watched Hong Kong, SKorea, and Taiwan, prosper and rethinks the role of Communism. China decides to run a grand experiment by having a Capitalist economy controlled by Communist central planning. Thus China surges forward leaving NKorea alone and broke vin the role of a Communist nation.
However face is not to be lost and the generals double down on militarism. They argue they need the A-Bomb and a delivery system and must use it to coerce the U.S. This buys them time but they must show progress. In the meantime the UN is nervous about nuclear proliferation and moves to control it in India, Pakistan, Communist China, and most recently Iran. The NKorean generals are having none of this. To keep control they refuse to permit nuclear disarmament.
About now the NKorean Glorious Leader dies and his son Kim Il Jong becomes the new authoritarian ruler by inheritance. The son was educated in Switzerland and suddenly inherits this mess and the UN demands NKorea give up its nuclear ambitions but the NKorean leadership isn’t buying it. They say ‘No’ and the generals demand an intensified effort. The new leader has only one choice: play along or get killed. He likes living and becomes the militant voice of NKorea.
Meanwhile China sees a destitute population of sick, hungry, poor, illiterate people living next door and realizes there is a steady flow of refugees from NKorea are entering their Northern territory and so they extend aid to NKorea. The alliance is reaffirmed.
Soon NKorea develops an A-Bomb and the rhetoric intensifies. A worried UN levies economic sanctions on NKorea but by prevailing on China the suffering is slightly reduced. Then they develop an ICBM and ramp up the threats against America who they are still technically at war with.
So the UN smacks them with more sanctions and manages to get Russia and China to condem the increasing threats to launch against the U.S. That is how we have started this week.
Now we have pointed out that NKorea would be vaporized if they struck the U.S. We have shown they are broke, and land-locked with their Army and could not occupy the U.S. We have argued that the only value of the bomb and ICBM is propaganda. Yet, they persist, the victims of their own need to “save face.”
Now the UN must develop a face-saving solution for NKorea and sell it to them. Today NKorea is threatening physical damage to U.S. Interests.
NKorea is playing a dangerous game that could get out of hand.