The first (and last) two atomic weapons actually used in war were named “Fat Man” and “Little Boy”. It is deeply ironic that the person now bringing the world to the brink of nuclear war is both a Fat Man and a Little Boy. Of course I am speaking of Kim Jong-Un, third hereditary dictator of North Korea.
North Korea has had nuclear weapons since about 2003, and proved it with a detonation in 2006. They developed missiles with longer and longer range, and are at the threshold of having both a nuclear weapon and the means of attacking the United States with it. The current situation is the result of the unresolved nature of the Korean war of 1950-53, our leadership’s lack of courage in dealing with outright acts of war, and the overall failure of dealing with nuclear escalation.
North Korea has always been a puppet of Russia and China. It acted on Stalin’s orders to invade South Korea in 1950. When that failed and North Korea was almost completely occupied, China attacked US and UN Forces. The US decided to limit the war with China to just the area of Korea, and the war was fought to a negotiated stalemate not long after, leaving North Korea with roughly its original territory.
During and since the Korean War, our leaders failed to deal with outright acts of war by Russia (previously the Soviet Union), China and North Korea in the Korean peninsula. The world generally recognizes “Acts of War” to include the following:
- Making a declaration of war upon another State.
- Invading the territory of another State (an Embassy is part of a State’s territory).
- Attack on the territory, vessels or aircraft of another State.
- Naval blockade of the coasts or ports of another State.
- Supporting armed bands in invading or attacking another State and/or refusing to deprive such bands of aid or protection.
- Using State means (or supported bands) in assassinating the leaders or citizens of another State.
Stalin broke rule #5, directing and supporting North Korea in invading South Korea. China broke rule #3 by attacking US and UN forces operating in North Korea. China then invaded South Korea itself, breaking rule #2. General MacArthur pointed out all of this along with the warning that failing to crush an aggressor has significant and serious long term consequences. Can you image what would have happened if Hitler had just been expelled from Poland in 1939 and was forced to just confine himself to Germany? That’s basically what we did with China and Korea in the 1950s because we didn’t want to deal with another war so soon after World War Two.
Since then, we and our ally South Korea have failed to deal with subsequent acts of war by North Korea. These included North Korea attacking the USS Pueblo and seizing its crew in 1968, North Korea shelling South Korean towns, North Korean commando attacks into South Korea, and, most recently, the North Koreans sinking a South Korean warship. Failing to deal with an aggressor only emboldens them.
Although used by Russia and China as a way of sticking their finger in the West’s eye, North Korea was never given nuclear weapons by its sponsors. North Korea therefore built its own. In the late 1980’s it constructed nuclear facilities and by 1992 it was working on weapons. At this time it still didn’t have nukes, but it soon would. Then was the best chance to end this by attacking the nuclear sites. At the time North Korea could have only responded with conventional weapons. More importantly, the Soviet Union had just collapsed and China still had a relatively obsolete military. We were too afraid of North Korean shelling of Seoul in response. As a result, North Korea now has nukes, and we have to worry about North Korea nuking a major city like Seoul in response. This was the predictable result of allowing North Korea to have nuclear weapons. Now the North Koreans are well on their way to having long range missiles that can reach the continental United States.
The Kim dynasty’s objective in building such weapons is self preservation. They want to retain complete control over their little kingdom. They will use nuclear weapons as deterrence against our taking action in response to their next act of war, and to blackmail us into providing them with money and food to keep themselves in power. In this endeavor, they receive support and assistance from both China and Russia. For example, the North Koreans aren’t building those huge missile transport trucks you see in the news. The Chinese and Russians give them those, among other things.
The big problem is that like a lot of family businesses, the North Koreans are now in Generation 3. The first generation builds the business. The second generation keeps it up and running. But the third generation typically has no experience with building or running the business in difficult times, and typically make huge mistakes that result in bankruptcy.
Our problem is that the Fat Man/Little Boy doesn’t really know what he is doing. He is going to make a big mistake. And because we have let this go on so long, by both allowing the situation to become astronomically worse, and emboldening the continual aggressor, his mistake is going to lead to something far worse than the Korean war of 1950. Far, far worse.
What to Do
There is little that you or I can do about this situation other than prepare for the potential effects on our lives and families.
As a nation, we have to deal with Acts of War. We should have dealt with them in the past, but we didn’t. Each time we fail to do so it will just get worse, meaning that what we will have to endure to fix the problem gets worse. I would prefer that not to be a nuclear detonation in the United States, or anywhere else people live for that matter.