North Korea is not the mysterious enigma many think it to be. It simply acts in a world where the DPRK regime is itself more aware of its limits than the countries around it are. North Korea can threaten, shoot missiles, and then ask for rewards for stopping those actions, simply because the states around them are constrained by governments, rules, and norms that usually prevent real military action being taken over a war of words.
During the Olympics, Kim Jong Un’s sister made an overture for South Korean officials to visit the North for talks, and in a meeting this week, Kim has apparently conceded the possibility of denuclearization, in exchange for promises of American non-interference on the Korean peninsula.
On its surface, this appears promising. But, denuclearization is the apparent crux of the Trump administration’s set of preconditions for talks. This is a preposterous notion because paradoxically, denuclearization would be the focal point and primary demand of any talks with the United States in the first place.
There is no question that the DPRK is an evil, totalitarian regime that exploits and politically suppresses the rights of all of its people, and denies them justice. That is not in and of itself sufficient reason for their perception of an imminent invasion. This puts them on par with dozens of other countries, and some of these traits accurately describe close US military partners. The only reason that the US has, for the last two decades, insisted on denuclearization for the Korean peninsula is its history of explicitly bellicose threats and rhetoric, including promising the nuclear annihilation of the US and Japan in its speeches and propaganda, not to mention its unprovoked invasion of the South, a close US ally. If they were to reconcile with their neighbors, and denuclearize, then in effect, the United States would have no reason to invade in the first place.
Considering this, one has to realize that since the 1990s, North Korea went from being an internally and externally stable state, not actively threatened by any enemy state, and actively developed a nuclear program ostensibly to ward off the international threats that never existed in the first place. In doing so, they have ironically made themselves a target for international sanctions, and now possible military invasion.
After decades of effort under two successive leaders, logically why would they go through this development process, drawing the world’s ire, only to give it up for some further rhetorical “promise,” from the state they continue to believe as their primary global enemy?
What do they want, then? Likely, deep monetary concessions. There are more questions than answers, but the nonsensical nature of these paradoxes, and the foundational violent Juche ideology of the regime make their surrender of these weapons utterly unlikely, almost as unlikely as any strike carried out by the very administration that claimed that the North would “never” be allowed to develop weapons capable of hitting the United States. He has utterly failed to contain them. This also applies to his trust in Xi Jin Ping, a manipulator who has conned the feeble minded president of the United States, when he should have also been applying diplomatic pressure on China, conditional on their cessation of support of the regime.
While of course peace and stability should be maintained, and this author does not suggest any military action should be taken, this regime should not be accepted as legitimate, or given any concessions for the disarmament of the weapons that they themselves developed. The fact is that this regime faces no real future in the modern would, and will eventually collapse. The DPRK’s leader should be aware of this, and wants to stave off the inevitable by reducing international pressure. The pressure should be kept on at full intensity, until a real, and not simply rhetorical improvement in relations has occurred.
Staff Writer: Ari B