On Sun, 30 Jul 2017 12:56:09 +0000
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Title: The Interpreter: North Korea’s Nuclear Arms Sustain Drive for ‘Final Victory’
Author: MAX FISHER
Date: Sat, 29 Jul 2017 13:52:34 -0400
Podcast Download URL: https://static01.nyt.com/images/2017/07/30/world/30int-nkorea3/30int-nkorea3-moth.jpg
The country, far from acting irrationally, is seen as pursuing an audacious,
calculated and long-term strategy modeled on China’s rise from a rogue state to
an accepted global power.
And the ability to finally be "great leader." viciously ambitious
personal ambitions at play here, starting with an attempt to unravel
the Asian alliance against Nork-Retardo-Land.
There is no evidence that Kim Jong-un, North Korea’s current leader, or
his father or grandfather, ever contemplated getting into a direct
nuclear exchange with the United States. Depending on whose estimates
one believes, North Korea has 20 to 60 nuclear weapons; the United
States has more than 1,500 currently deployed, and thousands more in
storage. It would be, as one senior American military strategist put it
a few weeks ago, a case of assisted suicide.
But that hardly means nuclear weapons are useless for a 33-year-old
leader, who has made clear he has ambitious goals for how he would make
use of the power conveyed by a global nuclear reach. If the previous
leaders of North Korea were interested mostly in a survival strategy —
and saw a small nuclear arsenal as the country’s best guarantee — Mr.
Kim appears to have far greater ambitions.
South Korea may have all the technology and the money, but the North
has a purity of purpose, in Mr. Kim’s mind, that will ultimately give
it control of the entire Korean Peninsula. And with it, Mr. Kim
believes, will come the respect of far larger powers that have been
waiting, for decades, for the North to be swept away by forces of
That goal only works if an American president — President Trump or his
successors — contemplates risking Chicago in order to save Seoul. Part
of Mr. Kim’s vision, some of those who have watched him most closely
speculate, is to sow doubt in Asia that the United States would really
come to their allies’ aid — and splinter the alliance that has teamed
up against North Korea for 70 years.
“Kim is determined to be a ‘Great Leader’ in his own right,” said Han
Sung-joo, a former South Korean foreign minister, who still walks
around carrying shrapnel he was hit with as a young boy, when his
family was escaping North Korean forces during the Korean War. “And to
do that,” Mr. Han said this month, “he needs to accomplish something
his grandfather and his father did not: building an intercontinental
missile that can strike anyplace in the United States.”
This summer, the Trump administration declared outright that if Mr. Kim
succeeded in reaching that goal, conventional deterrence would not be
enough. In a series of public statements, Mr. Trump’s national security
adviser, Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster, said that the methods that worked so
effectively in the Cold War would not apply in the case of North Korea.
“The North Koreans have shown, through their words and actions, their
intention to blackmail the United States into abandoning our South
Korean ally, potentially clearing the path for a second Korean War,”
General McMaster said, suggesting that the assumption that North Korea
wanted a nuclear weapon only to assure survival may be wrong. He
talked, on several occasions, about how a “preventive war” might be
necessary if diplomacy failed.