It feels as if a week doesn’t go by without North Korea’s diminutive dictator, Kim Jong-un, threatening to nuke somebody… usually the United States. In fact, it happens so often that it’s barely worth reporting on it any longer. But following the recent productive meetings between Australian leaders and Vice President Pence, the chubby autocrat has decided to expand the exclusive club of North Korean nuclear targets to include the Land Down Under. (NBC News)
North Korea has launched into a war of words against Australia over the country’s alliance with the U.S., warning the country is within striking range of a nuclear weapon.
A spokesman for the North Korean foreign ministry accused Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop of spouting “a string of rubbish against the DPRK (Democratic People’s Republic of Korea)” over the country’s missile testing, adding “Australia is blindly and zealously toeing the U.S. line.”…
“If Australia persists in following the U.S. moves to isolate and stifle the DPRK and remains a shock brigade of the U.S. master, this will be a suicidal act of coming within the range of the nuclear strike of the strategic force of the DPRK. The Australian foreign minister had better think twice about the consequences to be entailed by her reckless tongue-lashing before flattering the U.S.”
To her credit, Aussie Foreign Minister Julie Bishop took the usual, reasoned approach of responding by saying that North Korea would do better figuring out a way to feed their starving population than figuring out ways to start a nuclear war. But the incident is yet another reminder of how North Korea seems to be wielding a lot more bluster than actual threat, at least for the time being. And at this point, what’s the benefit of continuing to entertain all of these childish rants?
Yes, it should be a serious matter when one national leader threatens another one in this fashion. But let’s face it… as I said above, he’s always threatening somebody. Just this weekend Kim said he might sink one of our aircraft carriers. That’s a very serious charge as well, but does anyone actually think he’s going to do it?
It’s not a stretch of the imagination to say that Kim Jong-un is “crazy.” And I’m not discounting the danger of having a crazy person in control of some nukes. But is he actually crazy enough to not be aware of (or not care about) the reality of what would happen if he made good on any of these threats? If Kim lights off a single nuke anywhere not even his long standing relationship with China is going to save him. North Korea will be obliterated. Yes, he’ll be able to unleash some awful forces for a short time and the most likely result is that Seoul will be devastated and we’ll have a bloody battle on our hands at the DMZ. But before very long at all, Kim’s military capabilities and his government would be completely shattered and expended and the Korean peninsula would be a wasteland.
Similarly, if North Korea attacks our carrier task force, we’re going to be at war. And in that event far more of the world will be on our side than will be against us. I seriously doubt even China would have Kim’s back at that point given all they have to lose in terms of economic ties with the United States. Either way, the final outcome for Kim Jong-un is obliteration.
So I would ask again, how worried are we that he would really pull the trigger? This is almost certainly all bluster to keep his people on alert against the west and supporting him in the face of the “common enemy.” That’s not to say that we shouldn’t continue international efforts to force North Korea into giving up their weapons program, but what Kim seems to crave more than anything else is attention. It’s getting to the point where I’d rather see other world leaders responding to these threats (if they bother to do so at all) with some dismissive remark about the petulant little fat dictator, indicating that we’re all bored with his rantings and including a reminder that if he’s actually stupid enough to attack anyone he will be utterly destroyed.
Kim Jong-un might enjoy less support at home if he didn’t constantly have these propaganda battles to display for his people. And without that common enemy, North Korea’s citizens might have more space to consider just how bad off they are. How many of his people are aware that their Dear Leader lives in a fabulous palace, replete with luxury and five star cuisine while shocking numbers of his own people are literally starving to death? (Apparently Dennis Rodman was a guest there and can tell you all about it.) Do most o them even know about Kim’s concentration camps and how many of their fellow citizens are dying there every day?
In the end it remains desirable to see Kim Jong-un removed. But the best option along those lines would be for his own people to take care of the job. I’m not sure what we’d get in terms of a replacement if there was a revolution in North Korea but it could hardly be much worse than what we’ve got now.