North Korea can never be a threat to USA. It does not share a border with the latter. Not by a long shot is it a possibility that Pyongyang will send its arm forces or launch missiles to conquer USA. Neither does North Korea possess long range bombers. North Korea also does not possess an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) to deliver nuclear warheads upon USA.
Washington’s threatening North Korea is decades old. During the cold war, both South and North Korea held great importance for USA. Had US not interfered, Kim Il-Sung’s would have taken over Korea. Washington had posted armored units and infantry on North Korea’s borders, a Sword of Damocles’ hanging on their head for possible invasion which did take place during the Korean War. Washington had also positioned naval vessels for being used against North Korea. During the Korean War these were duly used as well.
However, North Korea lost most of her allies in post-cold war era. Once Russia broke up, both Russia and China initiated good diplomatic relationship with South Korea, the new block having no intentions of taking on USA had USA wanted to go war with North Korea.
Washington has got used to playing the role of the Global Policeman far too long with Russia out of the picture and China still at an economic low key point. It has bull dozed countries, bringing regime changes where it wanted. Iraq, Somalia, Afghanistan, Haiti, Grenada and Panama being some of its victims. With Saudi Arab, Washington tried to play the same role in Yemen.
South Korea has out distanced herself from North in every sphere of economic activity. In June 2017, South Korean President Moon Jae-in had declared the new nuclear policy for his country; scrapping all plans to set up new nuclear power plants along with cancelling lifetime extensions for aged reactors. South Korea has the sixth largest range of nuclear reactors in the world; a fact that does not seem to have bothered Washington at all. As a matter of fact, Washington has got the world down in two groups. One is composed of those whom Washington may not necessarily like but they would probably not bomb like India, Germany, Pakistan and others having a bomb too. And not the water ones please. Then there are those who can be shooed aside and bombed when trying to be not an ally with Washington like North Korea. It makes imminent sense for North Korea to have a non-water bomb. It is a good deterrent. There is a history here. A history of North Korea being knocked around by Washington enough for her to decide to do something about it. Going nuclear and coming from a position of strength to not be treated like an underdog is the option North Korea has chosen. It seems unlikely that Trump’s threats are going to deter them at this point in time. So what does Trump do? Attack North Korea?
Watching Trump and Kim Jong-un exchange hot words is like watching two boys wrestling with each other in dirt. Trump’s over exaggerated comment warning North Korea of “fire and fury” with Pyongyang gleefully stating it was “carefully examining” a plan to attack an American military base in the western Pacific are hot air words.
Washington has already opened too many military fronts around the world, without succeeding in wrapping up a single one, only a mad man will open yet another. But wait, was it not Greg Milam who said, “Mr Trump said he would be an unconventional president. On matters of war and national security, in fact, he said he would be unpredictable. Are we seeing Mr Trump’s own version of the Madman Theory?”
It was actually Nixon who developed the Mad Man Theory. The idea was to keep Washington’s opponents guessing what the Global Policeman would do next. Let them feel, a point has come where the President of USA may do anything to resolve a situation.
It is extremely unlikely that North Korea, even if it becomes nuclear would use it upon other nations, even South Korea. However not only is a deterrent for bullies to stay off their home turf, it can also be used as a bargaining chip.
North’s threat to rain hell and death on Seoul is a repeat telecast after every few years. To be taken as rhetoric. What is serious is North’s desire to make them the nuclear weapon. Trump’s threats will not work. World powers are not interested in another war. Threatening is not the way out. Talking is. That too, only if you treat the other as an equal. Unequal partnerships and talks do not work. Not in the long run.
Guardian is bull’s eye when it writes, “The North Koreans are worried about what happened to Gaddafi and Saddam Hussein, they’re worried about the Americans leveraging change and they know that nuclear weapons are guaranteed to prevent that from happening. That’s what this is really all about. North Koreans are not going to back down. They’ll continue with the missile testing and make sure that the warhead has been miniaturised. They also need to make sure that the vehicles don’t break up when they re-enter the atmosphere. In the meantime, they’ll respond to American bluster with their own bluster.” (August 9, 2017)
Washington needs to sit down with Pyongyang and talk. North Korea proposal of a Peace Treaty to replace 1953 armistice can be a good starting point. Or, North can go ahead with a nuclear programme and then Washington can talk about a freeze.
In the meanwhile blubbering from White House is not working.
Yasmeen Aftab Ali – The writer is a lawyer, academic and political analyst. She has authored a book titled ‘A Comparative Analysis of Media & Media Laws in Pakistan.’ She can be contacted at: email@example.com and tweets at @yasmeen_9
Originally Published at Pakistan Today