Even if they wanted to, North Korea wouldn’t be able to go to war with any one of its neighbours.
Although it has been flexing its nuclear weapons, releasing propaganda videos which shows the bombing of fake USA cities, an attack by Pyongyang on South Korea, Japan or the US would be suicidal, explains Quartz.
You see, when critically looking at the country, it’s important to realise it’s “often misunderstood as an unpredictable rogue state” and we should instead see it, as analysts such as Narushige Michishita explain, as consistent and strategic:
When trying to understand the regime’s behavior [sic], it’s crucial to distinguish between strategy and tactics. Yes, North Korea frequently uses surprise as a tactic, and it is well-practiced at striking fear into the hearts of Western populations. But these aren’t spasms of demented rage; they are part of a very consistent national strategy to keep the regime going.
The north has at least three goals: to keep the world’s attention in the hope of one day securing a peace treaty with the US and its allies; to demonstrate the credibility of its military deterrent; and to deflect attention away from critical domestic problems that could lead to social unrest or even revolution.
But beyond tactic, there’s reality.
Despite having one of the world’s largest standing armies, the country lacks any funds to sustain an actual military campaign.
Sure, a foreign ally could bankroll its mission, but countries like China or Russia no longer share “the powerful ideological interests that drew them into the Korean War on Pyongyang’s side”:
China in particular has been seeking to reduce tensions, not escalate them—not least for its own commercial reasons, which include the economic colonization of North Korea’s north-eastern ports and other parts of its industrial economy.
And when it comes to Donald Trump’s explosive confrontation with North Korea?
Well, the truth of the matter is that we can be rest assured that until “US citizens or their allied counterparts are actually killed with North Korean weapons, the US is highly unlikely to risk military action on the Korean Peninsula”.
And there you have it.
But while we don’t necessarily have North Korea to worry about, there are definitely other conflicts around the world which need some serious consideration.
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