What does North Korea want? And should we be scared?

I haven’t yet decided whether I’m unnerved by North Korea’s saber rattling.  We’ve seen this before, starting in the 1990s, when the North Koreans figured out that, if they made the West sufficiently nervous, the West would bring offerings of food and money to the destitute totalitarian prison state, in hopes that feeding the beast would render it docile.  Things seem a little different this time, though, so maybe I’m getting more nervous.

First, North Korea has never been so open in its aggression.  If I remember past situations correctly, the North Koreans shot missiles here and there, made the usual threats against South Korea, and had the propaganda news station heighten the rhetoric a little bit, but that was it.  This time, however, North Korea has made public carefully posed photographs showing Kim Jong-un clustering with his generals as they blot nuclear missile attacks, not just at Seoul, but at specifically named American cities — Washington, D.C., Los Angeles, and Austin, Texas.  Specific threats tend to be more worrisome than generic Communist hate-speech.  (And I don’t mean to imply that the past threats against Seoul were meaningless.  Regardless of meaning, they were also part of North Korean ritual.)

North Korea plan to attack US mainland revealed in photographs - Telegraph - Mozilla Firefox 3292013 71051 AM.bmp North Korea plan to attack US mainland revealed in photographs - Telegraph - Mozilla Firefox 3292013 71003 AM.bmp

Second, North Korea is under new management.  Kim Jong-un is a totally unknown quantity.  Maybe he’s just using his youthful zeal to bring new optics into the stale ritual blackmail . . . but maybe not.  As ancient Rome showed, the tyrants tend to get crazier as time goes by. (Think:  Caligula.)  Maybe Jong-un, who has never known anything but the insane hot house of North Korean politics, actually thinks attacking South Korea and the United States will work to his country’s benefit.  Megalomania doesn’t breed rational thought.

Third, North Korea has the nuclear weapons this time, and they’ve given every indication that they’re crazy enough to use them.  No mutually assured destruction doctrine will hold them back.

Fourth, it’s peculiar that North Korea hasn’t made any demands yet, despite a month of threats.  And not just threats, but escalating threats.

Fifth — and this is the really scary one — this may all be a red herring as they ship nuclear arms to Iran.  I read today (and for the life of me I can’t remember where) that this may all be a shell game, with Iran keeping our focus on its ability to build nuclear weapons, while North Korea keeps our focus on its ability to use nuclear weapons.  In fact, Iran may not be building, and North Korea may not be using.  Instead, it’s quite possible that North Korea is building the weapons for Iran’s use.  And that’s a very scary thought indeed.

That’s my brain spill about North Korea and its escalating threats.  What do you guys think?


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  • Charles Martel

    The one thing I like about communists is that they don’t believe in an afterlife, which tends to make them wary about committing suicide. The meshugahs in Teheran? Not so much. So, Book, your take on what really might be happening, namely the Norks and Iranians playing a little shell game, seems plausible. The mullahs wouldn’t mind incineration by western nukes if its gets them faster to that Bordello in the Sky promised in the Qu’ran. North Korea keeps the money (and its nuclear technology) while Iran becomes the irradiated fall guy.
    Still, as you point out, North Korea has been a looney bin since 1945, and the echo chamber effect is probably embedded in everybody’s DNA there by now. But surely there are some influential outsiders—Chinese, extremely discreet U.S. liaisons, spies working in South Korea—who can get through to Kim by pointing out the difference between a crude North Korean atomic bomb that may or may not reach its intended target with any sort of accuracy, and an American hydrogen weapon that can be configured as multiple warheads, each designed to drop within 100 yards of its target. “Yo, Kim, this is your fleet of Mercedeses after it’s been thermonuked.”
    The real cipher here is Nancy Boy of the United States. We know the man is a ball-less wonder. But even he must quake at the thought that the wonderful St. Andrews-like golf course at Bandon on the Oregon coast now lies under an ominous North Korean shadow. The times cry out, “Don your mom jeans, Nanbotus!”


    In many ways the NORKs are a joke, except for two points.  Much like the days of Imperial Japan, they will fight to the death.  Also, as Stalin is reported to have said, “Quantity has a quality of its own.”  NK does have a lot of old, rusty military toys.  They can cause a lot of damage, briefly, and might manage to cause the conflict to spread.  The real question is does China think they are worth the trouble they can cause the West? 

  • Michael Adams

    First of all, Chuck, you da baddest!
    Secondly, I need to check American Thinker. That sort of over view, spot what’s really going on from miles over head, is pretty typical of them.
    Thirdly, anyone who survives the fallout from LA will be welcome on Monadale Trail, until you can get settled, especially if you have a spiritual gift for dishwashing.

  • http://ymarsakar.wordpress.com Ymarsakar

    The Left will make the world burn and make you pay for the privilege of watching. If Hell is not a metaphysical dimension, then humans would naturally create it on Earth.