North Korea: What If?

While all eyes are on Iran, trouble continues to brew on the Korean peninsula. The regime in Pyongyang has ratcheted up their rhetoric significantly in the last few weeks. The latest threat comes in the form of a missile pointed toward Hawaii. Allegedly, Kim Jong Il has plans to fire a Taepodong-2 with a range of 4,000 miles on July 4th in the direction of the 50th state. What do we make of all this and why should we worry?

We should worry about North Korea because Kim Jong Il isn’t a reasonable man. In fact, he’s a lunatic with a suicide wish.

Kim Jong Il has proven over the years that he worries about one thing and one thing only. He worries about Kim Jong Il. He doesn’t care about Korea. He doesn’t care about it surviving one day more than he survives. He’s crazy enough to make sure the country goes up in flames just before he breathes his last breath. So, if this is the case, why doesn’t he do it now? Why doesn’t he just blow the place up? He doesn’t because he believes he’s still got time left, and he wants to remain in power.

The threats coming from North Korea today are not necessarily aimed at inflicting their own annihilation. They are an attempt to obtain more allowances and concessions from the U.S., China and Russia. A quick look in the rear view mirror shows that they’ve been successful at this in the past. Their playbook is well known. Hike up the threats, act belligerent, flex a muscle, get a few U.N. sanctions and then back down, shut a few nuclear reactors, say some nice words and throw some love toward Seoul. It’s a method that guarantees they’ll get what they want from the big three. Food, mostly, and other necessities. Then, the government can parcel out just enough to keep the North Korean people from revolting.  After all, this worked with the Clinton and Bush administrations. It’s got to work with the Obama administration. Heck, Obama has even said he’s willing for direct negotiations between the U.S. and the communist regime. It’s got to work.

And it just might, but what if it doesn’t?

Back to the sanity of Kim Jong Il. What does he have to live for? Although some in the media have said that Jong Il has already chosen his successor, there’s no guarantee there will ever be a need for one. What I mean to say is, Kim Jong Il is crazy enough that he might just want to light up the sky on his way off this planet. Again, he has nothing to lose, and obliterating Seoul and lobbing a dozen missiles into Tokyo would certainly put his name in the history books forever. He doesn’t care about the North Korean people, so why not take them out at the same time?

He could do it, and he just might.

Are we prepared to deal with this scenario? Or more to the point, is Obama prepared to deal with this? I think the 44th president believes if you’re human you must be able to reason at some level. I’d suggest he’s arrogant enough to believe that if HE had a chance to sit across the table with even a nutcase like Jong Il, he could say something that would make sense to the man. Unfortunately, that’s a fallacy. Terrorists hate Americans so much that they would want to die themselves to kill as many as possible. How do you reason with a person like that? Kim Jong Il has been trying to garner attention ever since he took over for the great leader. He can’t bear to die without making a name for himself.  So far he hasn’t succeeded. He’s been reportedly ill for years now after suffering a stroke. He has to know his time is running out. If he fails at this latest negotiation ploy, and he fails to prove his mettle to North Koreans, what does he have to live for?

If the Korean peninsula becomes a burning ball of sulfur, and millions of Chinese and Japanese die as a result, will China sit idly by? Won’t they want to pin blame on someone either than Kim Jong Il? Won’t that someone be the United States?

It just might happen.

Are we prepared for this possibility? Do we have the right leadership in place to handle a crisis of this scale? Or are we whistling in the dark?


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