Every government loves to have an enemy to rally their people against. It’s especially useful for the consolidation power by an unpopular regime.
But here are some reasons your fear of the latest US bogeyman, North Korea, is misplaced.
- History is the best predictor of the future. How many countries has North Korea invaded in its history? Zero. Korean wars have all been on Korean soil. Recent history has several imperialist countries invading Korea, but Korea doesn’t go out of its way to invade others. In fact, North Korea has been around since 1945 – the result of the global puppetry of the United States and the Soviet Union. Since then, North Korea has invaded no one.
- Just for a little context, the United States has invaded at least 42 nations, more than half of which were attacked in the last 50 years. That number does not include the countless smaller military skirmishes and illegal covert operations we’ve been involved in. Many countries have been invaded by the United States four, five or six times. Take Cuba – we’ve sent our military or a proxy army there at least six times. Honduras? Eight military interventions. Panama? 11. It’s much harder to find countries the United States hasn’t invaded.
- They’ve got nukes! Many countries, some allies, some not, have nuclear weapons. The United States, for example, has by far the largest arsenal of nuclear weapons on the planet, enough to destroy all life on Earth many times over. North Korea has never dropped nuclear bombs on people; we have. Twice, in fact, killing hundreds of thousands of people. We even tested nuclear weapons on our own people. We displaced an entire civilization to blow up their island homeland with nuclear bombs. We tested a nuclear bomb near a Japanese fishing boat, killing a crew member. Radioactive fallout from our atomic bomb tests fell on the marshall Islands, Australia, India and Japan, the U.S. and Europe, and contaminated the Japanese food supply. More recently, the U.S. used depleted uranium missiles in the Gulf War, the war in Bosnia, the bombing of Serbia, and dropped between 1,000 and 2,000 tons of depleted uranium bombs on Iraq in 2003. So, who’s more scary? Our track record on nuclear bombs does not bode well for the planet.
- Kim Jun Un is a madman! He’s irrational, unpredictable…. There is nothing in North Korea’s behavior that indicates the country is run by a crazy person. Their development of nuclear weapons, reprehensible as it may be, is completely rational. In fact, it may be the only reason their regime still stands. In 2002, George W. Bush declared North Kore to be part of an “Axis of Evil.” One of the other two nations on that list, Iraq, which did not process a nuclear deterrent, was subsequently destroyed by the United States, its leaders executed in the aftermath of the obliteration of his country.
Every few years, the United States government declares some foreign leader to be an existential threat. If that person is labeled as “irrational,” then there’s no use trying diplomacy. What’s galling is that inevitably the US media and entertainment industry goes along with US propaganda. Commenters on the left buy and propagate the same lines – the guy is crazy, he’s irrational, he’s another Hitler. The truth is that national leaders act to preserve and increase their hold on power. Predictably, Kim Jun Un does it by belligerently standing up to the US and bragging about his country’s nascent nuclear capability. President Trump does it by threatening war through tweets. As Trump’s popularity continues to sink, the threat of war gains more immediate plausibility. But it’s not an attack from the tiny nation of North Korea that we should be fearing. We have met the enemy, and he is us.