by Tony Halsteindal
Last week North Korea’s state-run news agency, KCNA, announced that North Korea has finally been able to conduct a successful test of an underground nuclear explosive device. Usually, any announcement from a government bursting with as much propaganda as North Korea should be received with a great deal of skepticism. But this time the claim is supported by a detection of unusual seismic activity around Punggye-ri, which happens to the location of their underground nuclear test facility. And if we take into account the recently released propaganda video from North Korean government, which include scenes showing New York City in flames, it gives these recent developments a very ominous outlook.
The questions now is how the international community should react to these obvious threats towards the peace, and does North Korea make these threats with a violent intent or are they just flexing their muscles?
What the US is contemplating now is how to respond to these direct threats. The propaganda video wasn’t the first threats the North Koreans have made against the US. North Korea has on several occasions appointed the US as their arch-nemesis, besides South Korea. But given the continuing military presence of the US in South Korea they are practically the same adversary. And a threat to the US is also a threat towards the international community, because of its position as a super power and globalization have caused us to be quit entangled with each other. The US has made several statements on the subjects which have lead them into a paradox. They recognize that North Korea is an issue that has to be dealt with in the near future, but they are giving the impression that military intervention is out of the question. Understandably the US is reluctant to start talks of war, since they spent the last decade heavily invested in two pretty unpopular major wars. Also Afghanistan has to some extent been deemed a failure, so announcing wars isn’t likely to be a popular move right now. But what other choice is there? The UN has for years now attempted to halt the North Koreans nuclear program by throwing economic sanctions at them, but with little success. The North Koreans have been persistent in their pursuit for a nuclear missile and now it looks like their hard work might pay off soon. How soon is very unclear as they are being very secretive. All we really know is that in this new test the explosion was twice as big as the last one. What remains to be seen is whether they managed to make the device small enough to arm a missile, which they are giving the impression that they have. But that as I stated before, when it comes to North Korea you can’t simply just take their word for it.
North Korea isn’t going to last however this current situation might turn out. Their economy is a disaster and because of this and their hostile behavior they don’t have many friends. Basically, China is the only ally they have, and even they are finding it difficult to deal with their incompatible economy and their self-destructive tendencies. Both North and South Korea seek a reunification, but on severely different terms. The best outcome would be if the people of North Korea would find the courage to overthrow their own government and then reunite, but if they ever will it doesn’t look like it is going to happen soon enough. How the Kim dynasty has managed to keep the people in line for even this long as they have continue to puzzle me, since in later years it’s been revealed that North Korea even gone through a quit sever starvation crisis. Right now the question regarding North Korea future seems to be the option between one of two things. Are they going to suffocate themselves with their own economy? Or are they going to go out with a bang? With recent events into account it is looking more and more like they are aiming for the bang option.