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COLUMN: Do not attack North Korea



During a speech at the United Nations, President Trump threatened the mass murder of millions of North Koreans, vowing to “totally destroy” the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea should its government continue its missile tests. 

The DPRK shot back, calling Trump a “mentally deranged person full of megalomania” trying to “to turn the UN arena into a gangsters' nest where money is respected and bloodshed is the order of the day.” There are now threats that North Korea will detonate a hydrogen bomb in the Pacific Ocean.

Only in this country could our blathering president make such a threat of violence against a weaker nation, and it go so unacknowledged. 

This sort of language seems likely to bring war to the Korean peninsula. With North Korea being such a longstanding enemy in our culture and the horrors of the first Korean War virtually unknown, I fear how easily Trump would be able to march the nation to a war that would certainly kill millions. 

U.S. bombers were attacking the DPRK on Saturday amidst the possibility of an H-bomb detonation, an event that could easily trigger a retaliation from the Pentagon, igniting war. 

In continuance with the deranged rhetoric of her boss, Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley said in a bloodthirsty statement that North Korea “will be destroyed” should it continue its “reckless” actions. 

Never in the dump of media coverage about North Korea does anyone ever explain why the DPRK pursues these “reckless” actions. Kim Jong Un is universally portrayed as a “madman” or insane, blurring the ability to see that North Korea follows a rational approach in its development of nuclear weapons. It is acting in self interest.

Anyone would know why North Korea wants nuclear weapons if they read what the government says. In his statement to the UN, Ri Yong Ho, foreign minister of the DPRK, said quite plainly that, “Our national nuclear force is, to all intents and purposes, a war deterrent for putting an end to nuclear threat of the U.S. and for preventing its military invasion; and our ultimate goal is to establish the balance of power with the U.S.” 

I would further wager that North Korea has learned a valuable lesson from other nuclear-capable states the U.S. has aimed to destroy. In Iraq, nuclear disarmament began in 1991, followed by horrendous U.S.-imposed sanctions that weakened the country to a point where the U.S. could easily invade. 

In Libya, Moammar Gaddafi gave up his nuclear program in response to the Iraq War to avoid going the way of Saddam Hussein. Once disarmament was complete, the U.S. invaded in 2011. One could argue the Iran nuclear deal is motivated by a similar process. It’s clear the DPRK knows parting with its nuclear program would mean certain regime change directed by Washington. 

Avoiding an attack on North Korea by the U.S. is in the best interest of the planet. Untold amounts of suffering would befall millions of innocent Koreans, a place destroyed only 70 years ago by war. 

I can imagine now how enthusiastically our media will churn out jingoism should President Trump decide to strike the DPRK. We will slide easily into conflict should no one try to explain that North Korea is trying to protect itself from our country.

luwrobin@indiana.edu

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