Yet again, North Korea is in the news stirring up trouble. The oftentimes incomprehensible actions of the nation is usually the butt of jokes here in the US, but the uncomfortable truth of the matter is that action needs to be taken, yet it never is.
What’s most ridiculous to me is how the global community regards North Korea. The entire invasion of Iraq was predicated upon weapons of mass destruction that haven’t actually been found. Iran’s nuclear power deal was hailed as – depending on what side you ask – an unmitigated act of cowardice wherein the world bowed down to a country that may use their generators to create nuclear weapons, or a deal that ensures the safety of the rest of the world. Meanwhile, on the other side of the planet there is a country who literally has a nuclear program with multiple confirmed tests of nuclear weapons.
I’m not sure what it’s like for the rest of the country, but I’m stunned. The US will spend billions upon billions of dollars, go to war, do all sorts of things in the middle east to prevent theoretical weapons of mass destruction, but when it comes to North Korea, who has weapons of mass destruction and are only too happy to show them off, there’s only negotiations. Talking around a table which half the time the North Korean government abandons.
It simply makes zero sense. The US is never afraid to meddle in other countries’ affairs, but seems to be content to let North Korea do its own thing, being one of the single most oppressive regimes on the entire planet.
The humanitarian crisis in North Korea is sobering, an absolutely heart wrenching situation. People are starving and dying, locked into one of the creepiest cults of personality to have ever existed. There’s no help, and the only time in recent memory that America did anything to help the North Korean citizens was in a movie with puppets.
The situation, however, is not cut and dried. While I would be overjoyed at the overthrowing of the North Korean regime and reunification of the peninsula, war is always a destructive, terrible thing. I have a great deal of family in Korea, and a fair amount of them are in Seoul. It’s hard to fathom what it’s like to live so close to an enemy nation, and frankly it’s a little terrifying.
I was visiting Korea when Kim Jong-il died and that was an experience. To see the moods of so many people completely change. The sense of fear and tension was palpable. Hearing stories from a relative in the military about being ready for an invasion at any moment, what they were feeling is something I can never come close to being able to truly understand.
What really drove the point home for me was taking a hike in the surrounding mountains, and seeing bullet holes in trees from when North Korea sent an assassination squad across the border to kill the South Korean president. In America, we have no organized enemy so close to our doorstep. We’re friendly with Canada and Mexico.
I don’t trust North Korea to abide by the rules of war and not engage in the wholesale slaughter of South Korean civilians. I have a vested personal interest against that happening but it’s patently absurd to let North Korea keep on keeping on because of the inherent risk in war.
The cost of war and dead civilians has never stopped America from stomping across the globe, making things the way we want them to be, so why should it stop America now?
One way or another, something needs to happen. There is suffering going on at an almost incomprehensible magnitude. The humanitarian crisis cannot be ignored, one cannot reason with a petulant child and expect to get anywhere. As hesitant as I am to call for military action, sometimes there just isn’t any other option.