In the early morning hours of July 4, 2017, US military and intelligence personnel watched as North Korean’s leader, Kim Jong Un, walked around the launch site of a ICBM missile – and they watched him for more than an hour. Why not take the shot and end the drama?
First, we need to know what fuels Kim Jong Un’s hatred of the US. It is a deep-seated and deeply-ingrained belief that everything evil — is the US. Let’s take a look back.
At the end of WWII, US Col. Dean Rusk drew a line across Korea at the 38th parallel – a division across a disputed region that Russia agreed upon. The Russians backed the North and installed Kim Il Sung to govern it, while the US backed the South. In 1950, Sung invaded the South in an effort to “unify” Korea, only to eventually be pushed back by the arrival of Gen. Douglas MacArthur. The Chinese became involved and pushed MacArthur back to roughly the 38th parallel. It was a conflict that lasted three years, 1 month and 2 days during which time the US Air Force dropped 635,000 tons of explosives and 32,000 tons of napalm on North Korea. When military targets waned, the military targeted hydroelectric plants and irrigation dams, flooding fields and ruining crops. In the end, North Korea had 1.3 million civilian and military casualties; South Korea had a combined total of 3 million casualties; China lost 600,000 men; and the US lost 33,000 military personnel. An armistice was signed on July 27, 1953 – signaling a truce between the North and the South.
North Korea never forgot that attempt of annihilation and vowed to begin a struggle against US Imperialism that starts as early as 5 years of age for North Korean children who are taught that above all else, they should grow to prevail over the clear certainty of an invasion from US forces. This mandate is even more effective today because of Kim Jong Un’s tight control on outside forces. There is no access to the Internet; communications are measured to reinforce the principles of self-reliance – to the extent that even today, many North Koreans have never seen an American, let alone be witness to the discrepancies between their teachings and reality.
While he attended Kim Il Sung Military University, it is likely that Kim Jong Un was made aware of other failed nuclear stands such as that of Muammar Gaddafi (former Prime Minister of Libya) who surrendered his nuclear weapons program in response to Western demands in 2003, only to be beaten to death 8 years later.
It appears that Kim Jong Un has a different vision for North Korea – one that will continue his country’s philosophy of “juche” – self-reliance and independence. And the quickest and most effective way to communicate that to the world is through a display of nuclear prowess. He has the fuel (the long-standing indoctrination against Western beliefs) and the weapon (ICBMs).
So, here we are – not willing to take a shot that could be heard around the world.
Frustrated, the Trump administration has turned to other methods of disarming Jong Un such as asking China to put trade sanctions in place for North Korea. China (as I mentioned in an earlier blog) has absolutely no motivation to do so.
First of all, its sights and priorities lie elsewhere – in the South China Sea where rich deposits of oil and gas are reputed to be. And strategically, the South China Sea can be seen as a military stronghold with its arms tightly around $3 trillion in shipping annually. Currently, China has managed to reach agreements with the Philippines (after Duterte reversed his hard-lined stance against China in favor of better relations with Beijing), Indonesia and Malaysia – all who are regionally affected by activities in the South China Sea.
The administration has also asked China to put in place trade embargos that would freeze out Jong Un, when in reality, good trade relations with North Korea ensure regional stability for China.
In addition to that, any intervention that would result in a US victory would also put the US squarely at the front door of China and may also lead to throngs of immigrants from North Korean into China – something they do not want to see happen.
In short, America will have to find another solution to the growing concerns surrounding Kim Jong Un and the people of North Korea because as I see it, the sign says …
Chinese Laundry – Closed.