kim jong un north korea dprk dprk's nuclear deterrent
Analysis North Korea United States

The DPRK’s Nuclear Deterrent made Diplomacy Possible, not Trump

Pyongyang (GPA– Contrary to what the US media may be telling you; make no mistake, it is the DPRK’s nuclear deterrent that forced Washington to the negotiation tables.

Here is a fun hypothetical scenario: Suppose a country opposed by the US is accused of having weapons of mass destruction (WMDs) including nuclear weapons. Let’s say for the sake of this argument that the US media and a good portion of the population believe these accusations and insist a war is the best answer. During the buildup to this war, the media doesn’t issue any statements critical of the government’s accusations and none of the hostile nation’s leaders statements denying their supposed hostile intent are aired on US television.

kim jong un north korea dprk dprk's nuclear deterrent
(CC BY-SA 2.0) Flickr: driver Photographer

Now let’s say that once the war is launched, the US claims about WMDs are proven to be false and it turns out the war was based on imperial ambitions to ensure US hegemony over a region. Later, it also comes to light that the US also knew the WMD claims were bogus and were never really concerned about them and never factored into their invasion plans.

Surprise! Obviously, this isn’t hypothetical at all and is exactly what happened in the lead up to the 2003 US invasion of Iraq.

Now let’s look at the current state of relations between Washington and Pyongyang. What is the primary difference between The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea and Saddam Hussein’s Iraq?

If your answer is that The DPRK actually has a nuclear deterrent and Saddam Hussein didn’t, you’d be correct.

Much like Iraq in 2003, The DPRK is no stranger to US threats and propaganda. Whether it’s threats of destruction such as US President Donald Trump’s promise to bring “fire and fury” to the Korean Peninsula or the claims that Pyongyang is somehow a sponsor of global terrorists, The DPRK has held strong in the face of this blustering.

Related: DPRK: Trump’s Announcement Proves US is the Destroyer of World Peace

Unlike Iraq, this time even the UN has joined with Washington to apply pressure to Pyongyang. While the UN never got on board for Saddam’s WMDs, they’ve been more than happy to accuse Kim Jong Un of not just possessing chemical stockpiles but also selling equipment to make chemical weapons to Syria (in the form of gauges and acid resistant tiles) in violation of international sanctions (which basically demand the DPRK not sell anything to anyone).

The report also claimed The DPRK was selling ballistic missile technology to Myanmar, which was denied by their representative to the UN, Hau Do Suan, who said her government “has no ongoing arms relationship, whatsoever, with North Korea.”

Whether this denial was believed by any other UN members is unclear, but at the same time, it should be clear that these accusations were clearly intended not just as an attack on Pyongyang but also as a way for the UN to criticize US-ally Myanmar for their recent ethnic cleansing of Rohingya Muslims. Prior to this UN report, the west had been fairly silent on Myanmar but now seems emboldened by the chance to possibly blame a country like the global outsider DPRK for the crimes of Myanmar President Aung San Suu Kyi while still being able to ignore arms sales to Naypyidaw during the ethnic cleansing by Western-allied countries like Israel.

Yet despite all of these narratives, The DPRK is still standing and now it looks as if the foundation is being laid for historic diplomacy between Washington and Pyongyang. So how did The DPRK withstand these threats on par with those made on Iraq in 2003, or Libya in 2011? The answer is simple, Kim Jong Un learned from the examples of Saddam Hussein and Muammar Gaddafi, viewing their downfalls as evidence that the only thing that protects a country from this level of western aggression is the ability for a nation to defend itself.

Related: Why the DPRK Needs a Nuclear Deterrent

The Role of The DPRK’s Nuclear Deterrent

Saddam and Gaddafi never appeared on national television to issue their own threats to US presidents George W. Bush or Barack Obama. Iraq and Libya never had a chance to meet with any high-level officials of any country, let alone directly with the President of the US.

Iraq and Libya were targeted, slandered, and finally destroyed but this isn’t the case for the DPRK. Instead, Pyongyang has offered to freeze their nuclear tests in order to placate the west and pursue a meeting between Donald Trump and Kim Jong Un after over a year of threats of a US strike and calls by military leaders to invade of The DPRK.

These threats were thankfully never acted on but by no means should this be viewed as a sign of US restraint, lack of desire to see The DPRK fall or some grand strategy by Donald Trump.

Trump’s plan may have been to continue to threaten Pyongyang until something happened, and while it may now be the case that something is happening, this outcome would’ve most likely been impossible without The DPRK’s defensive capabilities.

You may see western media and US regime officials such as Vice-President Mike Pence touting this latest development as a surprise achievement of Donald Trump, yet even his top advisers are trying to impede any possibility of direct meetings between Kim and the US President.

The interconnected media and military may be unable to do anything about The DPRK but this should make it clear that they don’t want to. US leaders and western ‘journalists’ don’t want peace in Korea, they want the supposed nuclear threat from a country that has pledged to only use their weapons in defense. In fact, many outlets are already painting any talks between the US and Korea as a likely waste of time doomed to failure.

Related: North, South Korea to Hold Talks Next Week, Trump Takes Credit

Trump has an endless list of flaws and his strategy for Korea is one of them, yet despite all of this, if the man is willing to use diplomacy over war with a sovereign nation that hasn’t attacked another nation in over 50 years this should be applauded. That said, very little of this is a result of actions by Donald Trump and it should be remembered that we can support these latest developments without taking away from the achievements and resolve of The DPRK.