By John Eppich
August 28 of this year, North Korea shot a missile over the northern regions of Japan that landed the Pacific Ocean. North Korea has stated that its next missile will be targeted at Guam, a U.S. Territory. This has caused much worry for not only the Japanese people, but the U.S. military and populous as well. U.S. President Donald Trump and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe have been in discussions about what actions should be taken as North Korea continues to bolster its nuclear and missile tests. Trump has even stated that all options are on the table when it comes to intimidating the ‘hermit kingdom.’ This included bombing Pyongyang. Though in the short term it may sound great to bomb the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, it gets a bit more complicated than that. The U.S. needs to wait until the North Koreans fire the first shot in order to take action as to not potentially start another war.
North Korea was born after World War II when the Japanese had to relinquish its power over any colonies and territories it laid claim to during the war. This included the entire Korean peninsula. Due to the fact that Korea could not govern itself after breaking free from Japanese rule, the U.S. and the U.S.S.R. split the peninsula into the Republic of Korea, led by Syngman Rhee, and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, led by Kim Il-sung. In June of 1950, at the height of the Cold War, North Korea attempted to capture South Korea with the help of the Soviets. It was only then that the U.S. swooped in to save South Korea from Kim’s communist regime. For a while, it seemed that the whole of Korea was going to be liberated, but just as the American troops neared the Chinese border, the now Communist People’s Republic of China jumped in to push back the American and South Korean forces. Since then, the border between the two Koreas has been the Demilitarized Zone, or the DMZ, on the 38th parallel, where the original border was drawn. Tensions between the two nations since have been extremely heated as no treaty has been signed and ratified by the two Koreas. While South Korea has been an economic beacon in the region due to its strong ties to the United States, North Korea shut itself off from the rest of the world leading to many of its people being horrifically malnourished and unable to leave the regime.
Fast forwarding to 2017, North Korea now possibly has nuclear weapons and has been conducting missile test launches near the Sea of Japan. This has lead to many people in East Asia, particularly South Korea and Japan, to become nervous. It all came to a head when the aforementioned missile was shot over Japan’s Tohoku and Hokkaido regions leading to emergency sirens telling people to hide in bunkers and stay indoors early in the morning.
The main question now is if America should attack North Korea. The short answer is no, and the long answer is much more intricate. America absolutely should not be afraid of North Korea, as they have very few, if any, allies in the world. The country itself is barely able to keep the lights on in its capital city of Pyongyang. That being said, however, does not mean we should just jump in and reignite the Korean war.
Attacking North Korea means attacking the unstable and unpredictable Kim regime. Kim Jong Un, grandson of the original dictator, Kim Il-sung, is a dangerous man who could at any moment launch an attack on South Korea, Japan or even Guam. Since all three places have very important American military bases, it may not be wise to attack without provocation. Also, there are many people living in not only South Korea, Guam and Japan, but even in North Korea. Starting up the Korean war puts all these people — some of whom are far too young to even have witnessed the events of the original conflict — in danger.
Some may argue that North Korea has threatened to fire a missile towards Guam next, which would thusly give the right to the American people to attack. While I do agree something should be done about this horrific regime, not only for its threat of using nuclear weapons and missiles but the deplorable human rights atrocities the Kim family has caused for decades, I do not wish to see innocent people’s lives hurt. My view is to only attack out of defense. As of right now, North Korea has yet to start a full blown attack mission on the U.S. and its allies in East Asia. If that ever were to happen, I would forsee a short war where the U.S. and its allies would take down the Kim regime once and for all.
I personally agree with America shooting off warning shots like they did in the Sea of Japan after the missile launched. This is a good way to show Kim Jong Un that America is not a country you want to mess with. Making use of intimidation tactics is completely okay as long as no one gets hurt and we show that we are not afraid of the DPRK. I find it’s a perfect compromise for the pacifist in me and the part of me that wishes to see an end to North Korea’s nonsense.
Although North Korea has threated violence, I feel they should only be attacked out of defense for ourselves or our allies. I hope that, eventually, the regime crumbles in on itself so that there would be no war, but as it’s looking now, that may be a bit of wishful thinking. I hope that diplomacy will come before any blood needs to be spilled, and I hope that everyone in the regions near North Korea eventually never have to fear another missile launch.