For years, DECADES, North Korea has been seen by the West as a volatile state, struggling to obtain nuclear weapons with the long term plans of.. well, we never get to that point. It is clear that North Korea isn’t friendly to the United States or U.S. allies in Asia, but what has never been made clear is North Korea’s end goal.
Obtaining nuclear technology would not immediately mean a war with North Korea. In fact, there seems to be little reason why upon obtaining a nuclear weapon, the tiny country would have any reason to use it on Americans. The reason behind the country’s push for advanced fire power isn’t to start a war, it is to prevent one.
Mutually Assured Destruction
Mutually assured destruction (or MAD) is a national security doctrine held by the U.S. and other nuclear powers. It came to prominence following WWII and was advanced during the Cold War, and it continues to this day. It is the theory that because two countries are both equipped well enough to kill the other, the two remain peaceful. In an effort to preserve one’s self, one will keep peace.
This concept was first mentioned by writer Wilkie Collins, who wrote, “I begin to believe in only one civilizing influence—the discovery one of these days of a destructive agent so terrible that War shall mean annihilation and men’s fears will force them to keep the peace.” That “destructive agent” is nuclear weapons.
It has played out since the discovery of nuclear technology. In addition to the United States, seven nations have nukes – Russia, China, Great Britain, France, India, Pakistan, and Israel. NONE of these nations have engaged in war with each other since they acquired nuclear weapons! Why? Because they know they’d both be destroyed.
Contrary to popular belief, a world with MORE nuclear weapons has meant LESS war. A third world war has not broken out because the world’s greatest military powers all have nuclear weapons. The United States resisted going to war with Russia during the Cold War because Russia had nukes. India and Pakistan avoid a full blown war because they both have nukes. By and large, the only time nations with nuclear weapons engage with an enemy, it is either with a state that doesn’t have the same technology, or a tribal terrorist group.
Nuclear Strategy is Defensive. Not Offensive.
It shouldn’t be any surprise that the countries most eager to obtain nuclear technology are the same countries who face the highest level of intervention from countries who already do. Iran, for instance, has faced virtual nonstop intervention in its nation’s elections and economy for decades from the United States. Wouldn’t it make sense for a nation looking to assure its own sovereignty to seek out nuclear weapons?
In the same vein, North Korea has faced endless intervention in the form a sanctions since the end of the Korean War. The war was over, but that didn’t stop the sanctions, which many believe are an act of war in their own right. It is the use of these sanctions that has prevented greater communication and understanding with the North Korean government and people.
Without going full blown pussy – try to imagine the situation from North Korea’s perspective. The people there are poor and cut off from the rest of the world. The only media they have is state run. The only leadership they know is from the Kim dynasty. They are taught to hate, fear, and blame the U.S. for their own suffering. Why wouldn’t a move to obtain nuclear technology, which gains one immense leverage at the bargaining table, be completely understandable?
A Slice of the Pie
Unlike in economics, where the pie of wealth is unlimited and one’s gain does not mean another’s loss, in geopolitical relations, a gain of power for one means the loss of power for another. The most powerful country in the world is the United States, but all nations with nuclear weapons are considered very influential. Were North Korea or Iran to gain nuclear technology, the U.S., along with all other nuclear powers, would see an immediate loss of power.
This is why nations who are not necessarily aligned with America on other issues, do align when it comes to North Korea. Russian artillery are moving into place along it’s border with the country, and China is also cooperating in deterring North Korean nuclear aggression. You can count on British and French intervention in the area if things continue to spiral out of control.
All nuclear nations have a vested interest in keep nuclear weapons out of the hands of other nations. Their interest is purely self-motivated because as the pie of nuclear power is divided up further, they see a loss of power. Non-nuclear nations see a vested interest in gaining the technology, so that they too can have a seat at the “big boy table”. Being a nuclear power means you won’t be attacked. Being without nuclear weapons leaves you vulnerable.
North Korea’s Long Term Aspirations
The media would have us believe that upon gaining nuclear technology, North Korea is going to launch a strike agains South Korea, Japan, and the United States. This is utter nonsense. It would in no way serve North Korea to launch an offensive attack on an existing nuclear country or its allies. The ballsy statements made by Kim Jung Un are meant to rally his own people, and should not be taken as a serious threat to Americans.
It is increasingly hard to control an empire when those you rule over begin developing the same kinds of tools you used to keep them intimidated. Instead of fearing North Korea, Americans should examine the doctrine of mutually assured destruction, and realize that as power is more equally distributed, the world is more peaceful.