While the media attention is currently being focused on North Korea you have to wonder “What on earth is going on?”. The media are essentially saying that “No end in sight for North Korean tensions“, but is that really the whole truth? Well, in someways it is, because if we look at the past and up until now we can indeed say that it has been like a perpetual or never ending problem. We can take the examples of the sinking of the ROKS Cheonan, and you would have thought that the US would have started sending in the B-52s, B-2s and F-22s, but they didn’t. Or, the shelling of Yeonpyeong Island – these are all significant events which far outpace what North Korea is doing now and while North Korea are threatening nuclear warfare – I doubt that they are able to follow up with those types of threats.
Firstly, North Korea threw out the Korean Armistice Agreement, but they have done this a total of 6 times in the following years – 1994, 1996, 2003, 2006, 2009, and 2013. Could this possibly be a ploy for more aid? I would say, yes, it is. Why? Because the North have further threatened to develop their nuclear program. In the past North Korea has stopped work on their nuclear program and in-return they have received aid. In my opinion this is their way of asking for aid without having to say to the international community, “give us aid”. It’s happened before and I believe it’s happening again.
Secondly, the reason why the North is responding with nuclear threats is because the United States sent nuclear-capable aircraft to South Korea and what other reason, other than for North Korea, are those aircraft doing in South Korea, if not to intimidate North Korea. While I’m not supporting North Korea at-all you can really see how one situation has leapfrogged from another. We also have to remember that the North Koreans have always disliked the fact that South Korea holds a yearly military exercise with the United States. For them, this has been their on-going gripe with the South. However, seeing as South Korea is an independent country — well, it goes without saying that they have the right to perform military drills with whoever they want, but that goes without saying that there will be countries that won’t like these drills taking place i.e. North Korea. And you really do have to take into account that these military drills are directed toward North Korea.
Is war inevitable?
With the information that we have now, it’s clear that North Korea want to launch a ballistic missile (Suspected: Musudan; 4,000km). Could it be a test launch? Or could it be an equipped nuclear armed missile? The question is, who knows? That’s why the US has put in-place anti-ballistic missile defense systems, with Japan and South Korea following the same path.
However, the question remains as to whether this incident is high enough on the scale to provoke war in the Asia-pacific region; perhaps, between North Korea, China, Japan, South Korea and the United States. But, if the regime in the North is not overthrown, I see war an inevitability in the future.
How about China?
There are some rumors going around that China is “angry” at North Korea, as a war would not fair well for the Chinese, who would likely have to get involved if war were to be declared by any nation against North Korea.
Could this possibly be an opportunity for the United States to attack at a time where even China might be fed-up of North Korea acting this way? The United States would certainly like to avoid a situation where North Korea could potentially be armed with nuclear weapons that could reach into the heart of US mainland, perhaps, 10 years down the line. Is it an opportunity to strike? Or would the cost of lives be too high and would President Barack Obama see the US getting involved in, yet, another war.
Finally, my prediction:
If and when the United States and South Korea stop their military exercises then I believe the situation would return to a “status quo of no war”. If you look at history and how these military exercises have been criticized by North Korea before then you’d come to the conclusion that this is no different. The only difference is that nuclear weapons have been thrown into the mix, at which point the United States have taken NK seriously when in comparison to past threats calling South Korea a puppet state or one of many of its slurs against the US and SK. The nuclear weapons are the only difference in this situation. In my opinion, North Korea is all bark, but no action. If they do indeed fire a ballistic missile, and it turns out to be a dud, or it lands in the ocean then we will see tensions slowly go back down into the status quo. But I really don’t see them doing anything. If they did try anything with their missiles they’d have China barking at them and they would risk further world trade decline for a longer period of time. All talk — and no action.