North Korea: Ego As Protection

Kowshik Iyer

Authoritarianism runs ego in its veins and the leaders of the hermit kingdom know this well, Gaddafis fall had a tremendous impact on Kim Jong IL, The North Korean dictator has taken a very different nuclear path. No doubt understanding that his regime and his own survival are under constant threat, Kim has been quite unwilling to disarm. Kim Jong Un has long been aware that “a dictator who wants to hold on to power should also hold onto his nuclear weapons.” Conventional weapons, which North Korea has in spades, have time and again shown themselves to be unreliable deterrents when state's survival is in question.

The likability of war in Korean Peninsula is at high stakes. It’s not something which will not turn into a global conflict but can be assured of total destruction in the region. The current face-off is triggered by egoistic leaders who both see thermo-nuclear weapons as a strength and power. Donald Trump faces the biggest foreign policy puzzle since he is in power. It also may be the most dangerous: A misstep could lead to open conflict with a nuclear-armed dictatorship run by one of the most unpredictable leaders on earth. Truth be said, there is no way Kim Jong Un would stop exploring nuclear capabilities, that is the only lure if he has to remain in power. This is more than just protecting North Korea: this is the answer to the question “How do I remain THE KING?”

What would you do being the chief of global policing to disarm a nuclear threat? Donald trump wishes North Korea was as easy as Iran, Yes, Iran deal was one of Obama’s great foreign policy victory. Followed by crippling economic sanctionsObama administration convinced Iranians to come to the negotiating table and was able to stop Iran's nuclear development. Foreign affairs policy is more just than threatening a country with military superiority; you make unusual friendships sometimes with enemies. You accomplish national interests through and for peaceful cooperation with other nations. See, how China fits in all well with this.

Now think about North Korea,

Is China really the option or the only option?

What does UN do when diplomacy has such less value in resolving conflicts?

Do secondary sanctions have an impact?

Does Trump want to develop another variant of Stuxnet with South Korea?

Is Cyber War an option? Stuck in the shadows of modern laws and loopholes, Cyberwar has proven to be destructive.

Would Kim Jong Un really think he can defeat the US by escalating this with a preemptive strike?

Kim Jong Un really believes at this point that only way to get out of sanctions is to conduct more nuclear tests. It kind of works in his favor, or does he think it’s his final option?

Why North Korea hates the U.S?

The North Korean regime hates the United States and it teaches its citizens to hate it too, but why? It all began post-WW II, as a result of an agreement with the United States, In 1945 Soviet union declared war against Imperial Japan and liberated Korea north of the 38th Parallel. U.S. forces subsequently moved to the south. By 1948, as a product of the Cold War between the Soviet Union and the United States, Korea was split into two regions, with separate governments.

Kim II Sung was installed as the North's communist leader. In 1950 he tried to unify the Koreas by force. The highly trained and well equipped North Korean army swarmed across the 38th Parallel capturing Seoul. Responding to this the United Nations Security Council authorized the formation and dispatch of UN forces to Korea to repel what was recognized as a North Korean invasion. Twenty-one countries of the United Nations eventually contributed to the UN force, with the United States providing 88% of the UN's military personnel. This successful intervention from the American-led UN forces forced the North Koreans to retreat and the UN forces moved deep into North capturing Pyongyang. And Chinese Communist troops intervened and it all came back to where it started, The 38th Parallel.

For the next two and half years, the war was stalemated. It has been referred to in the English-speaking world as"The Forgotten War" or "The Unknown War".  The Korean War was a brutal one, it devastated the peninsula. North, in particular, got the worst of it. Over the next three years, it is estimated around one million North Koreans died in the fighting including an estimated 600,000 civilians. According to a Washington Post Video  "The United Stated dropped 635,000 tons of bombs in Korea, compared with the 503,000 tons dropped in entire Pacific theater during WW II. US bombers decimated the North. After bombing targets, the U.S hit dams, flooding farmland."

In 1953, active hostility was ended by signing an armistice but the war is technically still going because no peace treaty was ever signed.

This narrative has helped the Korean regime to stay in power for almost 7 decades creating a propaganda designed to keep the North Koreans in fear. This is referred as the patriotic war fought against the American imperialists. All the leaders of the regime have dialed up this anti-US rhetoric blaming the US for sanctions and causing economic distresses. Showcasing America as an ever growing threat has helped the regime unify the nation against any external threats.

Nuclear capabilities

On 4 July 2017, North Korea said it had carried out its first successful test of inter-continental ballistic missile (ICBM). It said Hwasong-14 can reach the mainland of US but experts analyzed the range would be shorter than that but could potentially reach Alaska.

On 28 July 2017, North Korea carried out its second ICBM test, with the missile reaching an altitude of about 3,000km and landing in the sea off Japan.

KN-08 and KN-14, two other variants of ICBM's were displayed during the "Day of the Sun" parade.

2017 has been a rapid progress in the North Korean missile program, The country has fired 18 missiles during 12 tests since February, further perfecting its technology with each launch according to a CNN report.

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