If America and its allies believe Kim Jong-un will give up his nuclear arsenal, they are deluded.
John Power says Pyongyang under the Kim family sees its weapons as a security guarantee and powerful negotiating tool, and the only way it will disarm is through a change of leadership.
John Power writes: Much is made of the extraordinary lengths that North Korea goes to, to control the minds of its people – propagandised into the worship of the Kim family from almost their moment of birth.
Many of us see North Koreans as pitiful victims of state-level brainwashing. Less often do we reflect on how such a decrepit regime can so easily foment delusion among the supposedly free-thinking ranks of those concerned with North Korea policy.
“Delusion” is the only word to describe the fantastical yet persistent idea that North Korea will ever voluntarily give up its nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles. Expecting as much from the regime is as realistic as coaxing a tiger into giving up its prey. Pyongyang has been on the path to nuclear armament since the 1950s and it isn’t about to change course now.
Its reasons are simple and entirely logical in terms of its self-interest. For a creaking dictatorship almost universally reviled and mocked abroad, the nuclear deterrent is the ultimate guarantee of security, all but ensuring against intervention by the US or any other foreign power. A nuclear arsenal is also a powerful tool to extort concessions from the US and South Korea, ranging from aid to the eventual withdrawal of US troops from the southern half of the Korean peninsula.
As repeatedly argued by North Korean propaganda expert B. R. Myers, this latter goal is the key to the regime’s ultimate prize: the reunification of the Koreas on its terms. In the state propaganda narrative, the Kim family fulfil their destiny as custodians of the Korean race after the Americans have been banished and their South Korean lackeys pacified.
But it doesn’t take scholarly insight to grasp that North Korea has no intention of disarming. One need only listen to what it has told the world over and over again. Just this month, following the North’s first successful intercontinental missile test, leader Kim Jong-un boasted that he wouldn’t “put its nukes and ballistic rockets on the table of negotiations” as long as the US maintained its “hostile policy” – code for its security alliance with South Korea … (read more)