CNN’s Fareed Zakaria rationalized North Korea’s efforts to harness nuclear weapons as a sort of an insurance against their enemies. Zakaria justified the expanse of North Korea’s nuclear program, in reference to their unique geopolitical perspective, begging the question “What if North Korea is not Crazy?”
— CNN (@CNN) July 9, 2017
The argument being made is that the right way to look at North Korea is as a “smart, rational, calculating government” instead of the dangerous, bankrupt, powder keg it really is. “Regime survival” via fear tactics and empty threats is hardly a grand calculated agenda.
Mr. Zakaria’s words from the Washington Post:
Look at the world from North Korea’s perspective. The regime saw the collapse of the Soviet empire and an even more unsettling transformation in China, which went from being a fiery ideological soul mate to a pragmatic trading state that has eagerly integrated into world markets. These days, Beijing seems to view Pyongyang as a nuisance, and China now oftenvotes to condemn and place sanctions against North Korea at the United Nations.
And the world’s most powerful country has made clear that North Korea is destined for the ash heap of history. After 9/11, when the United States was attacked by Islamist terrorists emanating from the Middle East, President George W. Bush announced that the United States would no longer tolerate an “axis of evil” comprising Iraq, Iran — and North Korea. It invaded Iraq. Current U.S. policy toward Iran, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson recently said, is to “work toward support of those elements inside of Iran that would lead to a peaceful transition of that government.” And regarding North Korea, President Trump wants China to “end this nonsense once and for all,” which again can only mean getting rid of the Kim government in some way.
So, the North Korean regime has tried to buy insurance. And in the realm of international affairs, the best insurance is having a nuclear capacity. Pyongyang knows that it has a large-enough army and the Korean theater of war is so small and dense that a conventional war would be unthinkable, producing hundreds of thousands of casualties and millions of refugees pouring into China and South Korea. North Korea has accurately calculated that China and South Korea are more terrified of the chaos that would follow its collapse than of its nuclear arsenal.
Perhaps the right way to look at North Korea is as a smart, rational, calculating government that is functioning shrewdly given its priority of regime survival. More pressure only strengthens its resolve to buy even more insurance. How to handle it under these circumstances?”