Student Talking Point: What do you think about the current situation in North Korea

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North Korea has caused more nervousness than usual in the international community recently.  American pundits and political figures have a serious case of the jitters.  There is talk by some people that the United States needs to put the country and its hotheaded leader in place.

But more rational thinking needs to prevail, in order to maintain peace in the country.  We should recognize North Korea for what it actually is: a beggar state that lacks the ability to launch a nuclear attack against the United States.

When Pyongyang followed its ballistic missile launch in December of last year in February, the United States predictably led the charge to impose tighter sanctions in response, and an increasingly annoyed China did not block that effort.  Kim Jong-Un’s regime has since aimed a barrage of threats at the U.S. and South Korea.

These threats can cause reasonable concern, but we shouldn’t blow them out of proportion.  The same news media outlets that solemnly intoned that the sequester would strangle the federal government and suggested that going over the fiscal cliff would wreck havoc on the entire U.S. economy are now warning about a dire North Korean threat to American security.  The usual politicians in Congress are also demanding action.

However, there is little evidence to suggest that North Korea poses a legitimate threat to the United States.  It is unclear whether Pyongyang’s embryonic nuclear program has produced even one deployable weapon.  It certainly has not produced sophisticated, compact, “cutting edge” warheads that can be paired with ICBMs.

Furthermore, the country’s missile program should not be mistaken for those of first-rate military powers.  The successful December launch followed several spectacular failures over nearly a decade, and a single successful test is a long way from creating a fleet of reliable missiles.

North Korea’s ability to conduct attacks against targets in South Korea and Japan using conventional weapons is way more serious.  It is highly likely that an attack facilitated by Kim Jong-Un would do a lot of damage, given the potency of the North Korean army.

It is especially important to note that these threats, however extreme and radical, are most plausibly empty threats.  In fact, it seems to be an excellent example of a leader trying to prevent a rebellion.  Kim Jong-Un is still young, and needs to prove himself to his people and, more importantly, his military.  Often times, leaders will use a specific strategy to lead their country.  Said strategy is convincing the citizens that they NEED you in a position of power, in order to fight a dangerous enemy.  In this situation, the enemy is the United States.

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official position of the Parkway School District.

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