Propaganda or Smart Policy?: An Objective Look at North Korea’s Defense of Its Nuclear Program
Here is an objective look at why North Korea claims it needs nukes, and why the rest of the world cringes at the thought.
Unless you have been living in a cave or under a rock, you are probably already aware of the situation going on between North Korea and the United States. With the recent events that have taken place involving not only missile tests, but now the death of Otto Warmbier, tensions between the two countries are much higher than usual. We have already covered this situation, but today we are going to take a look at why North Korea wants nuclear weapons in the first place.
While the mainstream media consistently describes North Korea’s nuclear weapons as a threat to the United States and alludes to their desire to eventually use one of those weapons offensively against the U.S. mainland, this is not even close to the full story. The official reason North Korea has given in defense of its nuclear program is that nuclear weapons are necessary in order to prevent another invasion by the United States. This is widely considered to be propaganda by most Western media outlets, but is that really the case? When you step back from the rhetoric and look at the situation things become much more complicated.
To begin, let’s take a brief look at the history of the relationship between North Korea and the United States. As most of you probably already know, the United States and North Korea have been at war before. The Korean War began in 1950 when Communist-backed North Korea launched an invasion across the 38th parallel into U.S. backed South Korea. This marked the first military action of the Cold War. The war lasted for three years and was brutal for all parties involved. By the time the war ended in 1953 around 5 million people had been killed, yet neither side had gained anything. To this day, North Korea and South Korea are still divided by the 38th parallel, which remains one of the tensest, militarized borders in the world. During the war, the United States’ primary role was conducting air raids on North Korean cities. Although the casualties were tremendous on both sides, North Korea received the brunt of it. In total, the U.S. dropped 635,000 tons of bombs on North Korea, which resulted in the near total annihilation of North Korea’s infrastructure. To this day, North Korea is still recovering from the damage done during the war.
In recent times, North Korea argues that it needs nuclear capabilities to prevent another U.S. led invasion of their country. As support for this argument North Korean officials have pointed out that the U.S. is very quick to intervene in other countries (such as the plethora of Middle-Eastern countries the U.S. is currently in some form of war with) unless those countries happen to be armed with nukes.
Now that we have briefly covered the history of North Korea’s relationship with the United States we can begin analyzing the current situation. As previously mentioned, North Korea claims it needs a nuclear arsenal to deter aggression from the United States. However, it also consistently makes blatant threats and produces non-stop propaganda about using nuclear weapons to destroy the U.S., such as the video posted below:
This provocative propaganda pumped out by North Korea is a large part of why the United States is extremely uneasy when it comes to any advances in North Korea’s weapons programs.
To sum this all up, the relationship between the United States and North Korea is tense, complicated and has a long history behind it. While North Korea does have a valid argument for arming itself, their provocative rhetoric and violent actions undermine their claim that their only motivation is self-preservation, while also making it impossible for the United States and others to view North Korean nuclearization as anything but a major threat.