Like a spork, North Korea (Nork) has more than one function on the world stage. But is it a tined spoon, or a bowled fork? Either way, it’s not the steak knife everybody is portraying it to be.
Ever since the Clinton presidency, NorK has been getting more than its fair share of the news cycle. The reasons given for this are not the same as the reality of the situation would indicate. Some introductory points to consider about the nation:
- NorK poses no threat to the USA.
- NorK nuclear capabilities are greatly exaggerated.
- Nork missile technology is unreliable.
- NorK is a successful socialist state as was Libya under Gadaffi.
- NorK does not have a central bank in the western tradition.
- Nork lies between Russia and China and trades mostly with China.
- Nork has up to 10x the mineral wealth of Afghanistan, up to $10T USD worth.
- Most of this wealth is in minerals which China now holds a near monopoly over.
- War with NorK could do wonders for Trump’s image.
- NorK is still technically at war with South Korea (SKor.)
- SKor holds veto power over any military actions by its allies against NorK
NorK’s nuclear capabilities are near zero. This article goes into more detail on the subject. Even if they did choose to divert their limited resources to bomb-making, it would result in so few warheads that the threat they possess would not be worth having. The bluff achieved by setting off nuclear tests (comperable to 1940’s technology) has a far greater impact. If they do have an arsenal of nuclear tipped short-range missiles, it would only be a handful of stategic type nukes, enough to devastate small neighbouring countries or a group of ships, but easily shot out of the sky by allied defenses.
NorK’s record as far as missile tests go is abysmal. Their tests almost always fail, and their targeting is equally shoddy. Many industry analysts doubt they could hit a ship off their own coastline. This article summarizes the situation nicely. The missiles they regularly display in parades are not functional. The ones which are functional crash. NorK has never once put a functional warhead on a functioning missile.
If it weren’t for the USA, NorK would not even have nuclear technology. Much like the Iran deal, the US has created a problem which they now choose to deal with. But why is the US worried about NorK’s nukes when Russia and China, NorK’s immediate neighbours, are not? It isn’t so much worry as it is strategy.
As in Afghanistan, when mineralogical surveys showed a tremendous amount of wealth under the ground, the US suddenly showed great interest in waging war in order to introduce American interests to the region. As well as being geo-strategically important, NorK has been found to possess an enormous wealth of rare-earth minerals which China currently holds a near-monopoly over. Inserting American (SKor) companies would turn an enormous profit, but would also prevent Eurasian competitors from gaining access. Now that the middle-east is lost for the US, and the petro-dollar is teetering on the brink, America needs new sources of income and influence in Asia.
“If the U.S. and South Korea carry out strikes and try to overthrow the North Korean regime and change the political pattern of the Korean Peninsula, China will prevent them from doing so,” it said. -Global Times
“China should also make clear that if North Korea launches missiles that threaten U.S. soil first and the U.S. retaliates, China will stay neutral,” the Global Times, which is widely read but does not represent government policy, said in an editorial.
“Only the Republic of Korea can make the decision for military action on the Korean Peninsula,”[President Moon Jae-in] said, using the country’s formal name.
The story of North Korea, to paraphrase Skaespeare, is in many ways a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.
The US will either find an excuse or fabricate an excuse to take over the country; the question is not about Kim Jong-un’s response, but rather the world’s.