North Korea says it wants South Korea. It might just get it.

There is a certain view, popular mostly among the soft-liners who did so much to get us into this crisis and now seek to reassure themselves, that North Korea only wants nukes to protect itself from us. They aren’t wrong; it’s just that they’re less than half right. Pyongyang says it wants nukes as a defensive deterrent, and of course, it does:

Pyongyang, April 29 (KCNA) — The Korean People’s Army is providing strong support for the nuclear power in the East, the invincible military power as it reliably protects peace and security of the Korean peninsula, resolutely smashing the reckless moves of the U.S. imperialists and their vassal forces for a nuclear war against the DPRK, Rodong Sinmun Saturday says in an article.

The DPRK’s nuclear deterrence for self-defence is the powerful guarantee for defusing the danger of a nuclear war and ensuring durable peace on the Korean peninsula and a common treasure of the nation for reunification and prosperity of the country, the article notes, and goes on:

The U.S. is the arch criminal increasing the tension and escalating the danger of nuclear war on the Korean peninsula.

Peace cannot be protected by submission and begging. It is the nature of the imperialists to become more violent when someone begs for peace. And it is the bitter lesson taught by history and reality that submission and concession to imperialism will result in wreck of peace and stability and ruin of a country and nation.

The DPRK has bolstered up its nuclear deterrence despite all sorts of ordeals to foil the U.S. brigandish moves for a nuclear war and defend the destiny of the entire nation.

But the soft-liners willfully ignore the greater part of Pyongyang’s stated intentions. If you want to know what those intentions are — and some of us are trying very hard not to — the best-educated speculation is worth less than Pyongyang’s own declarations. All you have to do is read them:

The era for independent reunification advancing under the banner of By Our Nation Itself was ushered to end the history of national division spanning more than half a century and the inter-Korean relations achieved epochal development. This would have been unthinkable without the invincible military strength of the DPRK provided by the Songun politics.

But surely, you say, it’s still unthinkable — the idea of a backward, impoverished state imposing “independent reunification” on its own terms over one of the world’s most prosperous states. Surely the days when Sparta could conquer Athens are centuries behind us. Surely the North’s conscripts would be agog and disillusioned at the first sign of the South’s prosperity (or whatever remained of it). But as I’ve argued, the North has no intention of occupying the South for the foreseeable future, until it subdues the South politically, ideologically, and economically. And as I’ve also argued, it’s closer to achieving this than most of us know, or dare to admit.

All Koreans are benefiting from the Songun politics and living under the protection of the nuclear power in the East. The DPRK’s strong nuclear deterrence for self-defence provided by the great Songun politics is the symbol of the national dignity and precious treasure common to the nation.

If the U.S. and the south Korean puppet group persist in escalating the moves to stifle the DPRK, the latter will further strengthen its nuclear deterrence. -0-

As if they weren’t going to do that anyway.

It would have required no geopolitical genius to predict in 1933 that Hitler’s rule would inevitably end in war and suffering. One would only have had to read an honest translation of “Mein Kampf” to see it. So it is today; Pyongyang’s intentions are on full display to those who are willing to read them. It has a clear and plausible strategy for winning the same goal it has repeated for decades. What’s more, it knows that it cannot long survive as the poorer, failed Korea as the flow of information slowly undermines its legitimacy in the eyes of its own people. It knows very well that within the next decade, and perhaps much less, one Korea or the other must dominate and absorb the other. Are we willing to listen to the protagonist in this escalating crisis?

Korean War II began in earnest with the attacks of 2010. Pyongyang’s war is no longer a conventional invasion, but a war of skirmishes that supports a strategy that is primarily political. It will premeditate a series of escalating provocations, each of them calculated to end with certain concessions that will pave its way to one-country, two-systems hegemony over the South. I would argue that Pyongyang came close to achieving many of its political objectives during Roh Moo-hyun’s presidency. Pyongyang will soon add to this strategy the leverage of an effective nuclear arsenal and the capacity to strike the United States. Given the political instability and mercurial public sentiment in South Korea, and the rising risk of a breach in the U.S.-Korea alliance, our question will soon be, “Who will stop them?”


  1. The “smart cookie” in Pyongyang probably feels better now that Tillerson has opened a door for negotiation. While Trump continues to threaten possible military response, Kim knows it ain’t going to happen and all he has to do is to wait until 5/9 when he will have another admirer in Moon Jae In who will make his plans for a complete domination of Korea one huge step closer.


  2. Many different outcomes could unfold from the present moment, and most of them look grim.

    May I share one that hadn’t occurred to me before reading your article?

    1) Moon wins and revives, indeed accelerates, subsidies to the North.

    2) US announces it is ending the alliance.

    3) US withdraws all troops.

    4) US deals with threat to its own security by attacking nuclear sites in North.

    The biggest concern about taking military action against the North has been, quite properly, the risk of carnage in Seoul. This scenario reduces that risk (since in the South there would no longer be US troops or a “puppet regime” for the North to attack) and it therefore makes military action more likely. Unfortunately the US, lacking any support from or basing in the South, would probably need to use nuclear weapons. The level of alarm and fear here would have to be very high indeed for that step to be taken, but it is not inconceivable.

    After Step 2, moreover, the new ROK authorities might try to prevent Step 4 by impeding Step 3. USFK could go from being a tripwire to being a hostage.

    I am not predicting this outcome, but it is worth pondering. My only prediction is that some strange and unfortunate things are going to happen in the next three years.

  3. This piece aproaches my extended rant of April 17th

    but here, Mr. Stanton did not address “then what?” Well, King Little Fatso III has an operational, offensive nuclear force. Then, He will combine this with the hundreds of billions of dollars / euros / yen / renminbi / etc. of His southern satraps, all at His fat little fingertips. Based on the proven, verified history of the Norkish Empire, our friends in

    Kuala Lumpur
    New Delhi
    everywhere else, really

    must ask the logical next question:

    What could possibly go wrong?

  4. There is absolutely no doubt in my mind that byungjin will succeed and on this I am once again in painful agreement with The Swamp. Byungjin will succeed because Xi Jinping and Moon Jae-in will both want it to succeed. What is less often said is that Kim Jong-un sees the byungjin line not as John Delury sees it which is that Kim Jong-un will become a ‘developmental dictator.” (His words.) No, Kim Jong-un sees byungjin as his means to reunification. I count three “final victory” mentions and three “independent reunification,” or “reunification on a federal formula” mentions in the 7th Workers Party Congress documents. (Zero mentions of Saddam or Libya.)

    Further, I have no doubt Kim Jong-un will win because he’s fighting and we’re not. At the rate we’re going, we’ll still be yelling Libya, Iraq, and axis of evil into the abyss when they’re setting up the first Kim il-Sung statues in Seoul.

    Much has been made here and elsewhere about how North Koreans’ morale and enthusiasm for the personality cult has been waning. Well, achieving reunification on North Korean terms, something Kim il-Sung and Kim Jong-il could not do could potentially solve that problem overnight.

  5. 1. The connection to 1933 Germany is valid, but I suggest this more resembles Munich in 1938. Just as England and France were horrified by the carnage of World War 1, so America is still spooked by China as it was in 1950.

    2. I sense that King Kim the 3rd is taking lessons from “Unrestricted Warfare,” a study published by two Chinese strategists in 1999.

  6. Just as it is dangerous to underestimate our enemies, it can be just as dangerous to over estimate them as well. We should also not underestimate the strengths that the Republic of Korea has. This is hardly 1950 when they were just a bunch of poor dumb farmers(not to disparage farmers or southern) with no army. Besides, Moon Jae In might be getting more then he ever could have bargained for being President.

  7. When Kim Jong Un came to power 5 years ago, many predicted imminent collapse of DPRK. He is still in charge. He has outlasted Obama, Park Geun Hye and most likely will be standing after Trump and Moon Jae In’s days are over.

    Everyday that goes by without a regime change in North, Kim continues to cement his position as the one and only eventual leader of the unified Korea down the road.


  8. I don’t disagree with the notion that their desire for nuclear capacity is not exclusively defensive in nature.

    However, in their current circumstances, speaking both from an economic, military, and diplomatic standpoint, they do not have the incentives, nor the likelihood of successfully attacking and occupying parts, or even less likely, the majority of ROK.

    What is it that leads you to believe that it is in their intent to start a conflict that will inevitably end in their own destruction? I posture that if DPRK were to start a war within the next few years, they would face invasion not just by the ROK/allies, but also the Chinese as well as they would attempt to secure some measure of a buffer zone before the US has a chance to fully occupy DPRK land.

    If you are suggesting that with the inevitable nuclear capacity in its current trajectory, with the possibility of a more favorable circumstance in the decades to come might eventually result in an attempt by the DPRK to unify the peninsula, I agree that the possibility is certainly there (though I don’t think anyone can say with any degree of certainty how things will really play out in the decades to come).

  9. Reread what I’m saying. Their goal is to intimidate the ROK into slow-motion capitulation without war. My argument is that with Pyongyang now a de facto nuclear state that will soon be able to threaten the U.S. directly, that’s not so far-fetched anymore.

  10. All you have to do is look at the past.. When given the opportunity, DPRK will try to completely control ROK in every standpoint.

    If Kim is willing to kill his lame half-brother in an attempt to completely eliminate whatever insecurities he felt in that regard, he won’t hesitate to place himself in that position of having complete domination of Korean peninsula in ideology, economy, military, diplomacy, and the legacy of Kim family dynasty in history..

    Kim could potentially rule DPRK for a long time and the fight against that possibility is becoming weaker and weirder with Trump’s recent moves followed by Moon Jae In’s impending entry in to the next chapter.

  11. I’m still struggling to understand what is meant by slow capitulation. Kim faces his own issues with regime legitimacy and the US would never accept that outcome anyways.

    Kim had a score of palaces, pleasure squads and many decades of the good life to look forward to so I struggle to see why he would risk actions that would jeopardize his life as god over 20 million

  12. The Sunshine 2.0 policy, after Moon takes power on 5/9 will have a disastrous consequences for Seoul. As US tighten the screws on Kim Jong Un, Moon will give DPRK just enough relief to survive the onslaught and revive anti-America movements in ROK to end the alliance.

    When that (end of the ROK-US alliance) happens, we will have no choice but to militarize Japan to protect our position near China, Russia and DPRK controlled Korea…

    Do you think Moon has actually thought about what happens “if I fail?” I think not.

  13. Thanks, great read. One question. supposing North Korea can force South Korea to further curb criticism and provide even more monetary concessions to give the elite a better life, how does Kim handle his regime losing legitimacy amongst the masses? The people are becoming more and more aware of their situation and their poverty compared to South Korea. To me Kim’s greatest threat is internal dissent and that threat will grow over time as technology becomes more pervasive.

  14. Q: [H]ow does Kim handle his regime losing legitimacy amongst the masses?

    A: More / larger concentration camps.

  15. Certainly those camps worked for decades but the contemporary reports out of North Korea show a dramatically changing landscape.

    As the playing field changes so quickly through the infusion of information from the outside via technology I don’t think you can just assume a continuation of old practices will work.

  16. Well, maybe I can’t assume all that. However, I can assume that everyone inside North Korean borders and outside those concentration camps very much wants to stay outside those concentration camps. I also assume that those inside the concentration camps themselves want out. This second category would include the at last count four American hostages . . .

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