by Daniel Carter
A lot has been said this year about North Korea and their highly eccentric leader. In the western world, government officials and mainstream media talking heads portray Kim Jong-un as a maniac who is one snap decision away from starting a nuclear war. However, the official narrative leaves out a few crucial details.
Kim Jong-un is described as things like “crazy” or “unstable.” This creates the illusion that he is unstable enough to put his country in harm’s way with an unprovoked attack on the US. Kim is not as crazy as the media makes him appear, however. He learned not to give up his nuclear arms from the US’s disarmament of Libya in 2003. Once Libya gave up all its sophisticated weaponry, the US led a coup to kill Gaddafi and overthrow his government. Kim knows that the best way to preserve his country is with a powerful deterrent like nuclear weapons.
Mainstream media will also paint a picture of North Korean incompetence. Missile failures, a shoddy economy and their highly secluded society are all things the media points at to show North Korea’s incompetence. This creates the illusion that the US could easily deal with North Korea in an armed conflict. North Korea has a standing army only slightly less in size than the United States. They also have incredibly rough terrain that would make an invasion very difficult and an entire population that has been trained since birth to hate the US.
What truly makes North Korea a dangerous opponent for the US is their close relationship with China. This is probably the most important detail that the mainstream media ignores. China has been seen getting tough on North Korea from time to time. But that in no way means that China would support a regime change or war against North Korea.
North Korea has been a buffer against the western-backed South Korea ever since the 1950’s Korean War. They stopped influence from spreading up through the Korean Peninsula and into China and Russia. To maintain that buffer, China has let North Korea amass one of the largest militaries in the world. China could have easily put a stop to North Korea’s militarization as they hold North Korea’s economic life in their hands. China is by far North Korea’s largest trading partner and could put an end to their country entirely if they stopped trading.
China is such an economic and military powerhouse that they most likely influence North Korea’s foreign policy decisions. If they are not putting pressure on North Korea to stop its nuclear arms program, they want North Korea to build nuclear arms. If they are not putting pressure on North Korea to stop antagonizing the US, they want North Korea to antagonize the US. The question is: “why?”
China could be using a strategy similar to the one al Qaeda used against the Soviet Union in the 1980’s. Osama Bin Laden described the strategy in a transcript released to Al-Jazeera in 2004. In the transcript, Bin Laden says:
“We, alongside the Mujahedeen, bled Russia for 10 years until it went bankrupt and was forced to withdraw in defeat.”
US debt levels are astronomical, which means China’s plan could be to draw the US into a war that would eventually cause them to go bankrupt. China also knows that the US has a geographical advantage with large amounts of coastline and a massive navy. A Chinese invasion of the US would be nearly impossible. So, if China was truly intent on dethroning the US hegemony through military action, they could lure the them into an unwinnable war in the Korean Peninsula.
So far, China has not revealed much of its strategy on how to deal with the growing US-North Korea tension. One thing is for sure, however: China is not a friend of the US. China is much closer to North Korea and will likely back them over the US if war breaks out. This makes North Korea a much more formidable opponent than western media lets on. If the US and North Korea tensions rise to armed conflict, be prepared for a devastating war; a war between the world’s largest powers.
by Daniel Carter