Scandinavia and the World
Scandinavia and the World

Comments #9706140:

Long distance relationship 3 12, 3:14am

The North Korean regime doesn't need nuclear weapons to defend itself like some claim - that's simply wrong.

North Korea haven't been under threat of invasion since the armistice in 1953 for two simple reasons:

1.) The regime enjoys the protection of China who wishes to preserve North Korea as a buffer state between it's border and South Korea - a US strong ally.
China don't want to see North Korea collapse, because they know it would end with the two Korea's being unified under South Korean control.
They don't care if the North Korea people slowly starve to death, they don't care what the North Korean regime does in it's own country - they only care it continues to exist as a buffer state.
When North Korea looked like it was going to be defeated completely in the Korean War - but only then - China entered into the war on the North's side, just to save it from being swallowed completely by South Korea and it's US ally.
They didn't do that to win the war for North Korea - they did it only to save them from being destroyed all together.
Thus the war ended in the armistice with basically no border changes at all.
Which was the solution that suited both China and the US.

2.) Since the war the South Korean capitol of Seoul has grown into a megalopolis. The city itself has almost 10 millions citizens and the larger metropolitan area hold over 25 million people. Unfortunately it's incredibly stupidly situated right next to the mountainous border with North Korea, where the North Korean now for over 50 years have built thousands of conventional artillery positions that can rain down conventional artillery shells on the city.

There is absolutely no way of stopping these small shells once they're fired and there are simply too many artillery pieces to knock them all out at once.
US military assessments calculate that they could - if war broke out - reduce the North Korean artillery positions within days, but we're still talking about many thousands of civilian casualties and massive destruction to Seoul before they can do so.

These are the two reasons that North Korea have never been under serious threat of an invasion since the armistice in 1953, and these two reasons exist today just as before - and there is no reason to think this will change in the foreseeable future either.

Thus the North Korean regime certainly don't need nuclear weapons to survive. They do nothing to reduce a threat from abroad as no such threat is there any way, because of the other two guarantees North Korea has, and the regime can't use nuclear weapons to defend itself against a popular uprising domestically.
So they're completely pointless as a defensive weapon.

But they are effective as a bargaining chip - and that's how previous North Korean leaders used them - to extract other concession from South Korea and the US in return for halting the program.

Unfortunately North Korea now has a young leader that for one reason or another really want to actually develop a nuclear capability, and not only that - but also be able to launch these weapons via ICBM's all over the world.

Thus this has gone from any measure of defense into a decidedly offensive stance.

There is no clear explanation as to why Kim Jong-Un so clearly want to upset the power balance like this. The regime he inherited seems to be perfectly secure to foreign observers - this high risk gamble is only putting it in danger.

Theories range from him simply being mad, to having succumb to his own propaganda and actually believing he could win a war, to him still wanting to do some sort of trade eventually - but it's hard to know for sure.

The problem is still that the weapons are real and thus the world - and especially the neighboring countries and the US, that the North Korean rhetoric have always pointed to as their major enemy - now have to deal with the fact that North Korea seems determined to develop a capability that could threaten them seriously.

So we have one leader acting irrationally and playing a high risk game which makes no real sense to the rest of the world and which ultimate goals are unclear - all of which increases tensions and heightens the risks of unintended consequences.

This problem is then made much, much worse by the fact that the US is currently lead by it's most incompetent leader in history.

Trump is - like his own secretary of state has said privately - a "f*king moron". He knows literally nothing about diplomacy or statecraft and he has absolutely no intention of ever learning either.
He inherited billions and have never done any real work in his entire life, instead surrounding himself with "yes-men" who's salaries he's paid and who's job it's been to stroke his ego and agree to all his ignorant ideas.
He's completely unsuited for the responsibility he has and the risks are thus exponentially heightened that he - acting out of ignorance - will stumble into a war with North Korea without having a clue about what he's doing.

So these are the real challenges here.

North Korea has always been safe from invasion - no matter what the regime in the North tells it's people just to strengthen it's own position. But now, with the offensive threats of nuclear ICBM's under Kim Jong-Un, this is changing.
North Korea is becoming an offensive problem the world has to deal with in SOME way - and the problem is that the US president isn't a rational person, making rational decision, but an ignorant buffoon bumbling his way through life.

So the problem here isn't that another US president could have avoided this situation all together - president of both US parties have tried to deal with the North Korean nuclear weapons program for decades and not found a complete solution.

But the problem is that Trump is such a complete idiot that there is little hope he will stumble into a coherent strategy on North Korea. Simply firing of tweets in all directions, sometimes encouraging China, other times attacking them, backstabbing his own secretary of states diplomatic missions and blurting out military secrets is obviously not going to solve this.