Volatile, dangerous and . . . unstoppable?
By Wilson Alexander | Contributor
North Korea is one of most well-known but least understood countries in the world. Everyone is familiar with this stretch of land on the Korean peninsula and its dictator, Kim Jong-un, but no one knows exactly what goes on inside those borders.
However, the international community needs to find out quickly, because the North Korean regime continues to make headlines for all the wrong reasons. On February 12, North Korea declared it had tested a nuclear missile with the ability to strike North America , according to an article from The Guardian. The following day, Kim Jong-nam, the half-brother of the current leader and ex-heir of the country’s dictatorship, was killed in Malaysia. According to the South Korean government, he was killed on orders by the North Korean authorities, as reported by The Independent. According to Reuters, North Korea tested another missile on March 6.
Because of its nuclear weapons, their human rights violations and their hostility to virtually every other country in the world, North Korea obviously poses a threat to world peace. It is less clear how the international community should respond. The world must take certain political realities into account.
The first obstacle to action against North Korea is the North Korean nuclear program. No one knows the true intentions of Kim Jong-un or his advisors, and no one knows under what circumstances Jong-un would use his weapons. Other countries must be careful not to put North Korea in a situation where it thinks it must use its weapons to survive or defeat its enemies.
A second obstacle to action is the question of what or who would replace the current regime. Over the last decade, the problems in Iraq with ISIS and the division in the country since Saddam Hussein’s defeat in 2003 have shown that an attempt to oust a bad leader can create even more problems.
A third important factor is the interests of other Asian countries, mainly China. China has long been North Korea’s ally, providing them aid after the fall of the USSR. Although North Korea’s nuclear weapons are a threat to China, it is in China’s strategic interests to tie themselves to a country with a similar political regime on the Korean Peninsula. They benefit from having communist allies to strengthen them in that region.
Throughout modern history, the international community has been governed by the rule of non-interventionism: one country cannot invade or interfere in the affairs of another. North Korea is a danger to world peace, but there is no international agreement on how to deal with it. Without that agreement, it is difficult to justify any intervention.
In short, although North Korea is a dangerous country, and there are many people suffering there, overthrowing the dictatorship and replacing it with a new government would not be easy. I believe the leaders of the free world must propose a solution to this great problem, and soon, because the longer Kim Jong-un stays in power, the more dangerous he will become and the more people will suffer.