“The oppressed peoples can liberate themselves only through struggle. This is a simple and clear truth confirmed by history.” – Kim Il Sung
Tensions have been mounting on the Korean peninsula of late. Shortly after having bombed the Assad regime in Syria, the Trump administration is sending U.S. warships to the Korea in a show of strength ahead of the DPRK’s celebration of the birth of Kim Il Sung. Sung’s grandson, Kim Jong Un – the despot who now leads the worlds most oppressive regime – has been making noise about ballistic missile tests, nuclear warhead tests, and actually attacking the United States. (And, as we saw in the remake of Red Dawn … it could happen … OK, not really.)
A show of strength by either side (or both sides) is nothing new. This is typical, pro forma muscle flexing to show that everybody is ready and willing to go to war. What makes this interesting is the recent and unexpected U.S. actions in Syria. Is Trump trigger happy enough to take a shot at the crippled and failing oppressive state that serves as a buffer between China and South Korea? I think perhaps folks aren’t so sure.
Now, chances are that nothing will come of this. The missile test has already failed. The natural response of the DPRK will be to try to pull off a nuclear warhead test next. If that fails, who knows? Losing face is a big deal in world politics.
I’ve often wondered just what it would take to topple the regime. The entire system has become so decrepit, that one has to imagine the military strength is highly overstated. I suspect half of the equipment won’t work when called on. The other half could be taken out with rather simple precision strikes. The only two real worries are the spring-loaded artillery assault on Seoul (cannons can typically be counted on) and any possible nuclear tipped ballistic missile launch. After that, if things do go hot, Kim has nothing left and his regime would be over.
Freedom for the oppressed people of North Korea, wouldn’t that be something?
People who now me know that I lean heavily Libertarian. Indeed, I hold that maximum freedom (with the defense of personal rights, such as life, liberty, and property) is the only political philosophy that is consistent with the Golden Rule for Christians living in a democracy. That last caveat is important, I think. We, as Christians, find ourselves living in a democracy – and we should apply the Golden Rule to how we use that power of government to force our neighbors to do this or that.
Given those Libertarian leanings, one might wonder why I would even offer feint praise for prospect of U.S. involvement in toppling the DPRK. After all, Libertarians tend to be the more isolationist party – the party that demands that the use of American military might must at some point draw back to defending the rights of Americans (not just “American interests”). Fair enough. But I can tell you that I wouldn’t shed a tear if the regime did fall and the oppressed people were made free … and if a little U.S. involvement pushes it over the edge, well, maybe I wouldn’t do too much hand-wringing.
Not to worry though. The situation isn’t serious yet. When it is, we can expect that former president Jimmy Carter will come out of the woodwork in a desperate attempt to save the DPRK, just like he did in 1994.
But these are interesting times …