You know what makes North Korea’s president for life Kim Jong Un so dangerous?
It’s not the weapons that he possesses. Nor is it the knowledge he surely must have that if he does something stupid that he’ll face the world’s remaining superpower’s extreme anger.
He is dangerous because he doesn’t seem to care what happens to his country.
I am not a student of Korean geopolitical history. I’ve just watched a succession of crazy men come and go in the North Korean regime during virtually my entire lifetime. And they all seem to have one thing in common – apart from being of the same bloodline. It is that they act irrationally. And irrational behavior can produce some very difficult results.
When the Korean Peninsula was divided after World War II, with the communists running the northern half and the our allies running the southern half, the North decided it wanted all of it, so it invaded the South. It precipitated the Korean War that was joined by the U.S.-led force of United Nations troops; China eventually entered on the other side and about 50,000 U.S. servicemen were killed in the three years of warfare.
The shooting stopped with an armistice. North and South Korea never signed a peace treaty. The United States has retained a force of some 40,000 troops there, ready for anything.
North Korea now claims to have nuclear weapons. They also think they have missiles to deliver them. Maybe they do, or they don’t. But the U.S. understanding all along has been that any attack on our allies from North Korea would be seen as an attack on the United States.
Is there any question, then, about why the U.S. flew B-2 Stealth bombers near the 38th parallel recently just to give Kim Jong Un a tiny sample of what he would face if he launched an attack?
Kim’s regime may be secretive. He seems more than a little loopy. Kim, though, knows what awaits him if he does something he surely must know he’ll regret.
Our concern ought to be that he doesn’t care.