YAKIMA, Wash., March 17, 2013 – Don’t know about you good folks, but I’m uneasy about all the threats North Korea is making. They’ve unilaterally cancelled the armistice agreement with South Korea and have threatened a preemptive nuclear strike on the United States.
I’m not sure these guys are playing with a full deck of cards. This country is a single-party state that has had the same ruling family since December, 1972. Leadership has passed from father to son since 1972. We are now dealing with the son of Kim Jong-II who adopted Songun, or “military-first” policy.
What’s amazing is the general population of North Korea has allowed a father/son oligarchy to dominate the country. Surely the North Koreans can see the great strides South Korea has made in the last forty years. Why do they allow a small group subjugate an entire nation and keep it living in poverty?
The Soviet Union had a major influence over North Korea both as a major trading partner and political partner. When the Soviet Union disintegrated, North Korea lost its one major trading partner and strategic ally.
Between 1994 and 1998 the North Korean famine took place and killed an estimated 1,000,000 people. Yet, the policy of Songun prevailed under the leadership of Kim Jong-II, who was the son of the country’s first President, Kim II-sung.
The first President followed the Juche ideology of self-reliance. Between Kim II-sung’s self-reliance policy and Kim Jong II’s military-first declaration, the United States and the world have got their hands full.
Now we have the son of Kim Jong-II, Kim Jong-un who is well-educated but not averse to rattling the saber. He actually threatened to nuke the United States.
The U.S. response has been to declare it will spend a billion dollars on upgrading missile defenses on its West coast. Here’s a question; how will that play in the Paul Ryan budget?
The real dilemma for the U.S. is trying to secure its border along Mexico and, now, it needs to secure its West Coast from a missile attack. These are budget breakers, yet, necessary moves.
North Korea is one of the most isolated countries in the world. The U.N. has placed sanctions that have caused untold hardships on the people of North Korea. But to no avail. The fact is economic sanctions fail to work when the leadership of the sanctioned country doesn’t care what happens to their people.
We can only hope that all this nuclear saber rattling by North Korea is just posturing.
The real question for the U.S. and its allies is can they get control of the North Korean situation before Iran has a nuclear capability? In the meantime, being a curmudgeon, I’m going to look for land in Kansas.
(Larry Momo writes columns for the Washington Times Community Section and the San Pedro News Pilot.)
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