Where we stand with North Korea

A few years ago, a really good analysis of the North Korea situation was floating around, explaining why the North Korea situation is not what we think it is.

Rather than try to hunt down the article and pick out the points that still remain relevant, let us just go through them:

  •  step 1: in North Korea, America is depicted as a corrupt state that intends to destroy North Korea

  • step 2: when America is depicted as a corrupt state that intends to destroy North Korea, North Korea's leader can marginalize communism's failures in North Korea

  • step 3: when America is depicted as  a corrupt state that intends to destroy North Korea, North Korea's leader demonstrates a need for investment in military and weapons development

  • step 4: investment in military and weapons development allows for displays of power that generate patriotic feeling and increase state power that protects North Korea's leader against enemies

  • step 5: investment in military and weapons development allows for displays of power that generate conflict between North Korea and America, allowing North Korea's leader to appear before his people as a bold, steadfast leader who is determined to defend his people

  • step 6: repeat

This is, of course, dangerous because any attempt to display power and generate tension using nuclear weapons creates a risk that something could go wrong.

It is a well-known fact that an erroneous message concerning events between the Soviet Union and the United States almost triggered a nuclear war. Only the temperament of the men behind the controls, and a little luck, spared the world's destruction.

By contrast, North Korea's leader is (at least depicted as) a ill-tempered rogue, and nobody can say whether luck will continue to prevail. Part of luck, inevitably, is when the mental condition of those behind the controls, if currently stable, remains so throughout the duration of time that they have the power to initiate a nuclear strike.

For the record, at this time, North Korea does not have the capacity to strike anything east of Guam.





This is good news for anyone east of Guam.

But any retaliation on the part of the United States against North Korea could affect North Korea's neighbors, namely China. And that is a path the United States does not want to go down:


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