While it’s understandable why so many people are concerned over nuclear action from North Korea, in reality, neither North Korea or the US would achieve what they want by going to war.
For very obvious reasons, tensions have been high in regards to North Korea’s nuclear weapons program. As North Korea continues to make bombastic (no pun intended) claims of their missile program now being able to reach the US, President Trump hasn’t been much help in easing tensions however.
While there are many reasons why people are worried over an armed conflict between the US and North Korea, in reality, the outcome of war is less likely. For both the US and North Korea, there is nothing that either would gain from inciting a war.
Reason #1: North Korea Achieves Nothing Attacking the US
To understanding what North Korea’s goals are in all of this, we first have to understand where North Korea is currently at right now. The fact is North Korea has never been the most stable. The overall financial instability of North Korea is believed to be real, compound that with the crippling poverty that is believed to have debilitated the general populace and you soon realize that North Korea, on its current trajectory, is going head first into a failed nation state. Over the years, many countries surrounding North Korea have created contingency plans in the event that there is a regime collapse in that country, and rightfully so!
Based on the information that we know, North Korea only has one goal at this point; self-preservation. If the current regime in North Korea wants to stay in power, the international community has to start lifting some of the more stringent sanctions that has been put on them. In that sense, North Korea gaining a nuclear program could be used as a powerful bargaining chip for negotiating with the US and the international community. However, this gambit only works if there’s a lingering threat of an attack, not an actual attack.
Now to be perfectly clear – NO SANE PERSON IN THIS WORLD WANTS THERE TO BE A CONFLICT BETWEEN TWO NUCLEAR NATIONS!!!! – however with that said, if there were to be military engagement between the US and North Korea; with the full support of the international community, the US would crush North Korea. It wouldn’t even be a contest! In other words, there is nothing to gain for North Korea, if an armed conflict between them and the US were to ever occur.
Of course this is all an assumption, because only North Korea knows what their true motivations are. With that said, if North Korea does care about their own self-preservation; engaging the US directly in military action – like launching missiles around the US-territory of Guam – would be a costly move!
Reason #2: Based on Policy Actions (Not Rhetoric), America is Still Trying to Get North Korea to the Negotiating Table
Over the last week, President Donald Trump had greatly intensified the situation between US and North Korea with statements like these:
While that definitely sounds like the President of the United States gearing up for an armed conflict with North Korea, in reality, individuals within his administration – particularly his Secretary of State Rex Tillerson – have been working behind the scenes, trying to come up with a more diplomatic solution. Tillerson’s various tools for enticing North Korea to come to the negotiation table include introducing new sanctions in UN’s General Counsel to keeping communications open with North Korea. Also the US had made it very clear that they were not interested in a regime change in North Korea, which is a crucial factor in all of this. If North Korea cares about self-preservation above anything else, as we stated earlier, then the US willing to still negotiate is a good sign.
In this particular situation, North Korea’s various hyperbolic declarations of war are actually pretty routine for them, the difference here is the US’ response to those threats. In the past, the type of rhetoric that North Korea would spout would have been ignored in the larger context, and even though President Trump has matched that language, in actuality, they’re still hoping for a peaceful situation.
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