Australian Foreign Policy/ Foreign Affairs · North Korea · The Donald Trump Presidency

The case against war with North Korea


Recent reports have suggested that should North Korea conduct another nuclear weapons test, the United States may respond by attacking their country in a preemptive strike.

Whether or not these reports are correct, such a move against North Korea–the desolate, archaic, pariah state–appears foolish.

While Kim Jong- un seems mentally unhinged, and may indeed be seeking to escalate tensions with the West, we must keep sight of the vast weakness of North Korea in comparison to the American juggernaut.

North Korea has maintained its 1950’s era submarines, with such capabilities older than Barrack Obama, the Ford Mustang, and even Elvis Presley’s army career.

Meanwhile, there are 28 000 US troops in South Korea, and 49 000 in nearby Japan.

And as the United States surrounds Kim Jong un and his communist paradise, even China now seems to be turning its back on North Korea.

Following what has been regarded as a positive meeting between President Trump and President Xi Jinping, China has turned back a North Korean boatload of coal, in an act of a protest against the rogue nation.

Presently, North Korea is potentially weaker than it has ever been in the country’s history, facing total diplomatic and economic isolation on the world stage.

And yet with North Korea at its lowest ebb, should the US be aiming to launch a new conflict?

In historically comparable situations to North Korea, hot headed, brash military responses did not solve similar problems.

Consider Germany, the country who wonderfully unified East Germany and West Germany following the Cold War, and developed magnificently right up until Angelo Merkel’s cataclysmic error in judging the European migrant crisis.

Evidence suggests that Germany’s past 2 decades of success were not realized through forcefully annexing the communist East. Instead, West Germany appealed to East Germans during the 1950’s, 60’s, 70’s, and 80’s, in such a way as to overwhelm the East through the pure popularity of capitalism and democratic norms.

The Berlin wall, censorship, communism or even the Soviet army could not quell the passions of the masses seeking living standards enjoyed by those in West Germany and subsequently, these pressures culminated in the collapse of East Germany.

Similarly, the United States won its Cold War against the Soviet Union not through endless military conquest, but by presenting itself as a model for emulation so desirable that the struggling citizens of the USSR lost belief in their own country, and instead sought to more closely reproduce the nature of their once sworn enemy.

This is what made Ronald Reagan one of the greatest American Presidents, in that he correctly judged that the US would by nature transcend communism, and that his country’s nature would inevitably lead to the demise of America’s natural and ideological foes.

The situation with North Korea bears substantive similarities, with their citizens experiencing atrocious living standards, being deprived of civil liberties, and are brainwashed as according to Marxist Leninist ways.

But while censorship remains rampant, there is only so much the North Korean government can do to prevent their people from learning more about their country’s backward, callous ways.

Modern technologies are continuing to expand and along with this, so too will freedom of information.

For North Korea can continue on its unpredictable path, but inevitably civilian unrest will only heighten, as will its isolation from the world.

North Korea has a simple choice: either deal with the international community, and come to the tables in regards to its nuclear programs, or it shall continue down the same path which repeatedly destroyed its global image.

So from the perspective of the United States and the West, why wouldn’t we let North Korea play out its little tantrum, and allow the country to further damage its own cause?

For the alternative is far less desirable.

Say for argument’s sake the United States, accompanied by Japan, South Korea and others, do move to launch preemptive strikes on North Korea and aim to take out their regime.

And then what?

Another unlimited period of nation building in the ashes of a broken country, while inheriting a brainwashed, likely unsophisticated population. How will North Korean people take to American, Japanese or South Korean occupation, after they have been told by their leaders for decades that such forces epitomize pure evil? Moreover, China will hardly warm to the idea of further Western forces/ influence in their region.

The baskets these circumstances could unlock are concerning.

Importantly, American airspace will be able to identify precisely if/when North Korea is launching missiles or weapons against its surrounding neighbours, and if such a situation emerges, the US will be left with no other option than to use military force.

But while increasing US troop readiness and missile capabilities would be sensible, attacking and eventually seeking to overthrow North Korea as it presently stands has all the ingredients of an Asian Iraq war, which would be destined to fail from the outset.

8 thoughts on “The case against war with North Korea

  1. Eric Margolis says the first thing to happen if NK is attacked is Seoul will be leveled. If they manage to launch a nuke that works Japan will likely take a hit. Not to mention the radiation. With a multimillion man military NK may indeed sacrifice a few to make sure Seoul gets it. War with NK will not turn out well.

    1. True, but this is why I would like to see cool heads closely monitoring the situation, as opposed to launching reckless preemptive strikes when the timing is wrong. But that’s just me!

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