Wednesday, July 12, 2017

The Lethal Puzzle That Is North Korea

Map showing estimates of North Korean missile ranges

In a world full of threats to peace and security from many sources, some of which can be handled, others which cannot, but do not threaten wholesale anarchic chaos touching on other geographic parts of the world, North Korea as a source of a very specific threat that could potentially unravel into a catastrophic death toll leading to a global conflict presents as a unique puzzle such that no identifiable source of possible solution is conceivable.

Still from video : Global News

This is a small nation which disproportionately to its size and its location threatens the entire world order. It is supported by a country whose own level of threat is not far from the Peoples' Republic. The Islamic Republic of Iran has a similar agenda, one which is somewhat less blatantly heralded by its provocative Supreme Leader choosing to overtly threaten a small regional nation, but with undertones affecting the far more inclusive geography of its region in the Middle East.

Iran's simmering hatred reflects the sectarian divide between the two main sects in Islam, Shiite and Sunni. That the vast majority of Muslims practise the Sunni version of Islam is no deterrent to Iran's ruling Ayatollahs in their Machiavellian manipulations of tribal, ethnic and sectarian manoeuvres geared to set the opposing forces into a defined clique of shared interests to secure the position of power and control by Shiite forces led by Iran in a conquest of Sunni defenders.

North Korea, on the other hand, holds contempt for its own divided ethnic group in whose embrace of democratic institutions South Korea has demonstrated a thriving economy and a free political will, while North Korea revels in threats deployed against its own citizens to ensure they remain complicit in their own deprived state, through a combination of fear and prideful ignorance of the outside world.

The Kim dynasty's delusion of demi-god status, power and influence, has convinced each of its leaders that it is a dreaded world power.

Their psychotic rage erupts whenever fresh eruptions of disavowals from the world's super power denying it the status that North Korea craves leads it to make the effort to convince the succession of U.S. governments that have attempted dealing with it, that Pyongyang plans to target their mainland for destruction. In service to that promise an ongoing and surprisingly successful program of nuclear weapons tests and upgraded and technically advanced ballistic missiles have been tested, to the point where a successful ICBM looms in the near future alongside a miniaturized nuclear warhead.

The current U.S. administration has inherited the failure of the U.S. to convince North Korea to stand down. Its initial efforts to persuade China that its North Korean client must be controlled have failed, not that they ever had a chance to succeed. China harbours its own ambitions to achieve superpower status linked to its hegemonic regional influence and the fear its ambitions instill in its neighbours, all of whom resent China's reach to absorb as its very own the South China Sea.

Graphic: NK missile ranges compared

Any move by the United States to surprise North Korea by persuasive attacks will result in uncountable casualties, even while a show of superior force may be the only theatre persuasive enough for North Korea to abandon its threats. More likely, it would seek to reciprocate any attacks by those of its own, since the loss of hundreds of thousands of its citizens to conflict would not ruffle it in any measure other than the usurpation of its sovereign space.

But to take that seemingly final step in an effort to contain North Korea's agenda is also to risk bringing China into a more vigorous and likely committed-to-respond in like kind reaction. Which would certainly develop into a regional conflagration impossible to keep in the region; it would certainly bring in a much broader coalition of support for the United States from its traditional allies.

All of which would unleash hell on earth for humanity.

So, back to the original conundrum. How to deal with a defiant, unstoppable, hubristic and violent North Korea?

ICBM flight track
Key parts of an ICBM

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