The Significance of North Korea (and Their Recent Nuclear Tests)

On two separate days last week, North Korea apparently test-detonated a nuclear device of some kind as the latest step in their pursuit to develop weapons of mass destruction.  How significant is this?

Let’s consider some context / background… 

Point 1: This nation is run by a madman

Kim Jung-Ilrules North Korea with an iron fist behind an extremely dense wall of secrecy and seclusion.  This wall keeps everyone on the outside in the dark about what he’s doing inside and keeps everyone on the inside both from leaving and from realizing that he’s lying about how their poverty and oppression is the fault of Western civilization.  North Korea is your somewhat-typical modern military state run by a tyrannical madman.  Jung-il absorbs all the nation’s resources (even aid sent in the form of food and medical supplies from outside nations) into his own personal power center / war-chest.  Pretty much the only thing on his mind is dominating his people and feeding his own megalomania.

If the people of North Korea ever saw their leaders for who they really are, their reign of terror would be over.  They could never be who they are without the loyalty of the people.  (It’s a whole different ball game to suppress people with an iron fist while they continually rebel vs. using them to increase their power base.)  So, let the brainwashing begin.  North Korea is totally and completely cut off from the outside world.  Without televisions or newspapers or the Internet or carrier pigeons from anywhere but government-controlled sources, the average North Korean from the age of zero can be programmed to believe that their stark poverty and oppressive circumstances are all to blame on the evil west.  “The great white satan in America and Europe (yada yada yada) are responsible for all your problems, not me.  Not your benevolent leader.”  Of course, the spin is that Jung-Il presents himself as their savior, the great champion of their cause, the one around which they must rally in order to ever change their circumstances … when in truth, he’s a greedy, megalomaniacal, murderous thug.

And the people flock to him.  They join the army in droves, because that’s how they can fight the great western oppressor — under the banner of their great and benevolent leader.  They’ll make any sacrifice.  They practically worship the monster who’s kicking them in the teeth and laughing both behind closed doors and at the UN.  You think “The Man” is “keeping you down” here in America?  “The Man” in North Korea would eat “The Man” in America for lunch in the who-can-keep-who-down game.  Five minutes of study of a place like North Korea should make it apparent that I don’t have one single problem.

Lisa Ling, a reporter for National Geographic, recently under-cover’d her way in to North Korea under the false pretenses of being a medical coordinator.  She believes she was the *only* American in the country at the time, and was followed everywhere she went (even to her hotel at night) by 6 armed men from the government.  She has been telling her story to everyone, so it’s easy to find out more.  Here’s a link to her video interview with Oprah, as well as an interesting perspective from another blog called “Seb’s Random Thoughts“.  He would totally disagree with me, I think (having read his entry), but he has a YouTube video of an interview with Ms Ling posted (including video from her trip), so I thought I’d link.

If you doubt that North Korea is what I’m claiming, even after having listened to Lisa Ling’s personal up-close experience, check out the Voice of the Martyr’s perspective.

Point 2: They don’t just want nukes, but a delivery system.

For years, North Korea has been working on improving their missile technology.  Up until this year, their threat level has been high only to the Japan’s and China’s of the world, who are their next door neighbors.  However, in July of this year, they graduated to “world class” with their test firing of the Taepodong-2 intercontinental ballistic missile, theoretically capable of reaching almost any target in the United States.  Although these tests were miserable failures, they obviously got the attention of the entire civilized world.

Point 3: He’d sell to anybody.

Kim Jung-Il hates the United States, and I believe that if he perfects nuclear weapons technology (or even long-range missile technology), that he would sell it all day long to anyone who wanted to hurt the US or the West in general. 

So, if Hezbollah or Hamas or Al-Qaeda want it, no problem. 
What about Hugo Chavez?  Rock on! 
Or, Iran or Syria?  The only question is, “Do you want fries with that?”

Setting aside that he’s working on his own intercontinental delivery system, the idea that every thug in the world could suddenly have access to nukes on the black market — paid for by our oil dollars, no doubt — is just too scary to comprehend.  Just how long in this environment would it take for us to see Philadelphia turned into a pile of radio-active rubble?


The question on the table is whether or not a nuclear test by this country is significant.  Given the context that the country is run by a psychopathic power monger, that they are making progress toward a delivery system, and that they’d be willing to share deadly technology with anyone who wants it (especially those who hate us), I’d say the answer is a resounding yes. 

The good news is that their tests have been flops.  Their ICBM is a piece of crap — not even close to working.  And their nuke tests reportedly didn’t go that much better.  So, it’s not like he’s armed to the teeth tomorrow.  But if we don’t do something, this already-scary scenario could go from bad to worse.

So the natural next question (the one on everyone’s mind) is, “What do we do about it?”  Now that we’ve established some framework, we’ll come back to that.

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About Jeff Block

Lover and follower of Jesus, the long awaited King. Husband and father. Writer and seminary student. On a long, difficult, joyful adventure, learning to swim with the current of God's sovereign love and walk with Him in the garden in the cool of the day.
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3 Responses to The Significance of North Korea (and Their Recent Nuclear Tests)

  1. Brad Bull says:

    We have a lot to lose, but I don’t think we have the most to lose. Japan, South Korea, and most importantly China, have far more to lose by an Asian arms race. China alone has the most influence on North Korea and will hopefully begin exercising that influence.

    I also have a suspicion that the large military number is largely due to the promise of food to the military. In N. Korea the military is fed first, civillians fed last. They are at a delicate balance and could easily topple like a house of cards. The best thing Kim Jung Il has going for him is the lack of education in North Korea.

    Iran, on the other hand, has a highly educated and young population. I would be very surprised if they are still a threat in 10-20 years when most of the power has switched to a new generation.

    My hope is that China will push to open up N. Korea, as the people see the rest of the world as it truly is the lynching can begin.


  2. Brad Bull says:

    I am a little surprised. The slightest of arm twisting by China and N. Korea 180’s. Noy only are they cancelling any further weapons testing and apologizing, it looks like they will agree to multi-party talks like the U.S. wanted.

    See story from Yahoo News


  3. Jeff Block says:

    Another way to look at this is that they once again have said what they feel they need to say to get the world off their backs. I’ll believe them when we go for at least a month or two with no evidence of further testing. After all the times they’ve violated their word, I’m not sure I’ll be believing what they *say* at face value any time soon.


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