Sadly, North Korea’s Pursuit of Nukes and ICBMs Makes Sense

Kim Jong-un
Kim Jong-un brandishes a nuclear shield. Photo credit: DonkeyHotey / WhoWhatWhy (CC BY-SA 2.0) See complete attribution below.

Here is a bit of North Korean realpolitik that nobody is talking about: Regrettably, Kim Jong-un’s regime is absolutely right to develop nuclear weapons and a delivery system that reaches the United States.

That’s neither an endorsement of North Korea’s policies nor of other countries’ arming themselves with nukes. Far from it. It’s simply an acknowledgement that the only way a small country can protect itself from American aggression is by amassing enough firepower to force even the mighty US military to suffer heavy losses.

Hopefully, it’s not a model that other countries will follow. If President Donald Trump withdraws from the Iran nuclear agreement, however, there is a good chance that the Islamic Republic will be next.

After all, when its neighbor Iraq was attacked, Iran had a front row seat to what happens when a country ends up on a list of US targets, such as the “axis of evil,” and is unable to defend itself.

In order to understand why North Korea is defying the international community, circumventing sanctions, and developing a nuclear weapon and long-range intercontinental missiles, one has to look no further than to Saddam Hussein’s regime.

Leading up to the 2003 invasion of Iraq, I was fairly sure that Iraq had no weapons of mass destruction (WMD). The evidence presented by UN weapons inspector Hans Blix, whose team visited hundreds of sites in Iraq and had found nothing, was much more compelling than the circumstantial case for war the Bush administration was putting together.

Still, there was a tiny sliver of doubt. Maybe the regime of Saddam Hussein had successfully deceived the world and managed to put together a stockpile of chemical or biological weapons.

That evaporated when, after only one day of airstrikes on Baghdad, ground troops started advancing on the Iraqi capital at high speed — and embedded journalists were covering the invasion live.

I thought to myself back then that it was highly unlikely that US war planners would send in American soldiers if there was even a remote chance that Saddam Hussein could launch a chemical or biological strike and harm a great number of them. And I absolutely knew that there was no way that military commanders would risk having a journalist killed.

It was the final bit of proof not only that there were no WMDs but also that the administration was dead certain Saddam Hussein’s military posed no significant threat to US forces.

North Korea is in a different league. Sure, its armed forces could not defeat the US’s in a prolonged war, but such a conflict would leave so many Americans dead that no sane leader — an important caveat — would order such an attack.

And Kim Jong-un’s regime could counter a campaign of airstrikes by launching a nuclear weapon — at either the US or South Korea. In effect, the nukes serve as a sort of “anti-attack insurance.”

That’s a terrible lesson for other countries to learn: You can protect yourself from US aggression — and let’s be honest, the US has been the aggressor more often than not in recent history — if you have weapons of mass destruction.

And it is yet another example that such aggression does nothing to stabilize the world. If North Korea did not feel the need to arm itself to the teeth, both its population and the entire region would be better off. The arms buildup could also trigger a domino effect. Other countries in the region could feel compelled to begin developing their own nuclear weapons as a deterrent to North Korea’s potential aggression.

The same logic applies in the Middle East. If Iran does develop nuclear weapons, Saudi Arabia would feel compelled to follow suit. And while some people argue that nuclear weapons provide stability, I would like to find anybody who believes that nuclear weapons in Iran and Saudi Arabia would make the Middle East safer.


The cartoon above was created by DonkeyHotey for WhoWhatWhy from these images: Kim Jong-un caricature (DonkeyHotey / Flickr – CC BY 2.0), Guam (NASA / Wikimedia), nuclear symbol (Rettinghaus / Wikimedia) and Missile (DoD).

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30 responses to “Sadly, North Korea’s Pursuit of Nukes and ICBMs Makes Sense”

  1. Skip Robinson says:

    This is a video everyone must watch. For those old enough to have seen all the propaganda and lies over the decades, this guy is spot on. I’ve fact checked him just to make sure as well in addition to what I already knew.

  2. Chrmngblly says:

    We need to reconsider building Reagan’s “Star Wars.”

    • FJ DUBYA says:

      I think we did, but we’re not supposed to know it. The U.S. govt has proposed amazing plethora of things which they eventually supposedly pulled out of…but I think they continued these things in secret. Much of this is about eminent domain ndn the claiming of land for special projects which are apparently abandoned later. I think the land often has a totally different purpose than is claimed….such as for subterraean facilities and bases.

    • Skip Robinson says:

      None of the cr*p worked and that’s why it was scrapped. A bunch of insiders blew the whistle. Now everyone is afraid after seeing what they have done to others during the Obama Admin.

    • Chrmngblly says:

      Only now is some of that stuff possible.

      What does Obama have to do with anything? Aside from being one of our greatest Presidents, Obama didn’t get us into any fresh wars—like GW did.

    • Skip Robinson says:

      Laser technology is still in its infancy.

      Obama one of the great liars. He just continued them as his bosses required. Transparency, end the wars, allow public debates before he signed bills, protect whistleblowers? LMFAO.

    • Chrmngblly says:

      And now we have the great liar-in-chief, DJ Trump.

    • Harry Skip Robinson says:

      Yep, There were only two Presidents in my life time John Kennedy and Jimmy Carter who had integrity, the rest were just politicians.

    • Chrmngblly says:

      Jimmy Carter, yes. Nobody else until Obama, and the situation and the legislature made him a liar all too often. Too bad.

      Carter was a reaction to what a crook Nixon was. Still, I take your point.

    • Skip Robinson says:

      Yea, does transparency and private servers mean anything to you? Does Seth Rich’s murder mean anything to you? Does the unauthorized attacks on Syrian soil, mean anything to you?

    • Chrmngblly says:

      No. What does it mean to you?

    • Harry Skip Robinson says:

      I didn’t think so. Do the research.

    • Harry Skip Robinson says:

      Not my job to educate you.
      Read: Because of an ill informed society we have a system that is so corrupt things like the below article is and has happened. Social democracies suck and people like you are blind to what is going on and why. You are part of the problem and don’t know it.

  3. Chrmngblly says:

    This makes no sense at all. In the case of nuclear war it’s “go big or go home.” Whatever else Rocket Man does, one false move will sign his death warrant. He is right to fear his regime being wiped from the map.

    The Chinese have really acted like weaklings in not policing their own backyard. They do not deserve the deference we have shown them in the South China Sea.

    If the Chinese really fear a bunch of NK refugees, then they should start planning now. God knows everybody else has taken in immigrants and refugees—except the US. They should have soldiers standing on the border handing out dome tents.

  4. Donald L. Anderson says:

    He makes sense to me.

    Most dangerous?
    I nominate Trump as THE most dangerous person on the planet.
    He has access to that little red button.

    That SCARES me.

  5. Skip Robinson says:

    Really, you think someone is really that stupid to be willing to annoy the U.S., So. Korea, China and Japan? The N. Korea issue is faux news. Military propaganda. Now that makes sense. Everyone must learn that war is a racket.

    • Chrmngblly says:

      Therefore?

    • Skip Robinson says:

      It’s war propaganda. Ignore it.

    • Chrmngblly says:

      Quit absolving yourself of the obligation to THINK. That H-bomb was real. Those missile overflights of Japan were real.

    • Skip Robinson says:

      Sure the are. Stop Believing The military-industrial complex and the intelligence complex who are raping the citizens of this world not just this country. Are you one of them?

    • Chrmngblly says:

      Shut up.

    • Chrmngblly says:

      Yes, I am one of them. And I enjoy raping citizens of the world in my spare time. I would also call your attention to big money invested in the military industrial complex and health insurance and Big Pharma and banking, etc. The people are being raped by the plutocrats. You sound like you have been raped. Am I right?

    • Skip Robinson says:

      The majority are all being raped, they just may not know it yet and perhaps a small percentage may even be well off. However, without a monopolistic bureaucracy, it appears to me, if would be much less easy for those you call plutocrats, to both have the taxation enforced but also make sure a substantial amount of the redistribution of wealth gets to themselves. If this is true, as many claim and it appears, those involved should not be proud of their participation in this arena of such schemes and at least acknowledge the contraindications being created, especially when there are so many currently in force. I don’t think you should necessarily quit your job within the bureaucracy, because I wouldn’t in these tough times, but if ever one does come available to you in the private sector that is not involved in such schemes, I hope you will consider taking it, to benefit our society. I would rather see you as a producer of something valuable to society, than a participant in the rape and pillaging of the private sector workers who appear to have been hardest hit by the results of most of the social democracies around the world, to provide profits to those especially in the military industrial complexes and police state apparatus.

    • Chrmngblly says:

      Nothing changes: the rich run their monopolies roughshod over the poor. I am surprised that this is such news to you.

      As far as fixes, maybe the first step would be to eliminate dark money all over. Sunlight.

      These Repuglicans have no hearts: Trump and the war widows, the Congress and their preposterous health care proposals, budget proposals and treatment of the poor and middle classes everywhere.

      Now that the 1% have proved that they can buy the government they want, here and abroad, I can’t see why they wouldn’t continue to do just that. It is a sad situation.

    • Skip Robinson says:

      Is it better to tax the majority and provide them with healthcare or is it better to allow them to not tax them and let them buy their own healthcare based on their needs? The former worked for thousands of years and the later we are still trying to get it to work and even with the massive advancements in technologies our overall healthcare levels are not so great especially if you factor in mental health .

      it is only government granted monopolies controlled by the wealthy that are sustained by restrictive legislations. Or it is governments who try to break down those companies which are providing the best products at the best prices like microsoft and Standard Oil who were not monopolies but only had high market shares because they were more efficiently run than their competitors. The fact that they had competitors rules out them being a monopoly. In both cases it was their competitors that joined forces with the Government via the politicians, to attack the more efficiently run companies. The history of those companies involved in the erroneous attacks is well documented by some historians.

    • Chrmngblly says:

      Historically health care was provided to the tribe by the village shaman. Today, the advanced social democracies where the citizens have banded together to provide universal health care are the happiest according to longitudinal surveys. I don’t care if we replicate the German healthcare system or not, “the market” is not the answer for everything; we have a blended economy. The sooner the less-alert among us recognize this and quit demonizing words, ideas and people, the sooner we can join every other advanced democracy in the world and provide healthcare for all, as the village shaman did in the beginning.

      The surprise is that we could provide healthcare for all for half of what we are paying now for the insurance monopolies to milk us dry. Surely you see this.

      I like to think I am a pragmatist; things don’t actually work like they seemed to in Econ 101. The poor do game the system and the rich rig the game—as you ably point out. No theory of human behaviour adequately explains everything. I hope you are not some ideologue that’s totally stuck in your theories.

      But if you are, I will hold the door to hell open for you when you pass by. :-)

    • Skip Robinson says:

      Yet when we point out the eventual failure of every single democracy or democratic republic in world history, you look at us as if we’re crazy. If they fail and they always eventual do, how do you fix such a system. I should reply on you as my intellectual savior to come up with a plan.

      You must learn that theories and principles are two different things and we have a plethora of economists that have logically explained and provided the historical facts that disagree with the ability of the public/private partnership, i.e. social democracy to work.

      Whereas, if they could work and people knew how to actually make it work, would they have not saved a country like Venezuela from going into total chaos?

      You have not yet figured out that you young man, do not have the intellectually ability to socially engineer a society because if you could you would become the greatest thinker in world history.

      You might want to consider some of the great thinkers that have attempted and failed at coming up with the solutions.

      So stop trying to mislead people with all your theoretical opinions.

    • Chrmngblly says:

      Can you be a little more specific, Mr. Theoretical? Do you work on a Russian troll farm or what?

    • Harry Skip Robinson says:

      The study of the history of nation states is not theoretical.

      And no, not a Russian hacker. Trying to be on the truth farm, but it’s difficult with all the faux history, news, propaganda and mindless pushback.

    • Chrmngblly says:

      The study of the history of nation states…Lord God…you set yourself up on a high perch, my little song-bird. That’s like 12,000 years of history and of which only 225 years had any democracies at all.

      The big error of American democracy is that we didn’t exterminate or geld every adult Southern male over 12 years old when we had the chance after the civil war. Some say we got a good start on gelding the basterds, but nothing is perfect. Were your progenitors caught up in this? It sounds like it.

  6. postjosh says:

    Two words: Muammar Gaddafi.