North Korea: A Baseless Blackmail?

By | May 27, 2022

North Korea confronts the world with the nuclear threat, boasting the ability to fire missiles at South Korea and Japan. He does not do it because he really wants a war or because he has a substantial political objective, but only to get a few million dollars in aid without losing face: he needs support for his weak economy and wants to open a dialogue with the United States. You might just ask, but evidently internal reasons prevent it. A massive front in Pyongyang is opposed to opening dialogue, which fears some kind of capitulation might appear. For this reason, the request for dialogue is disguised as a blackmail to the United States. These are expected to yield to the ‘power’ of North Korean extortion so that Pyongyang’s leadership can once again prove its strength. However, this is a wrong policy because it is based on premises dating back to the Cold War at a time when the Cold War is over.

According to The Makeup Explorer, North Korea was once strategically important as it had the Soviet Union and China behind it. Now the reality is quite different. China and South Korea, which fought against each other half a century ago to secure control of North Korea, have an excellent relationship and are both interested in a peaceful solution to the North Korean question. The foundation of the Cold War in East Asia, the confrontation between Beijing and Seoul, has ended since the two nations established diplomatic relations and even more so since South Korean President Kim Dae Jung promoted the so-called “d├ętente” policy. Sunshine ‘towards North Korea.

There remains the problem of North Korea as an obligatory passage for commercial traffic by land across the Eurasian continent. With the opening of roads and railways, goods from Japan and Korea would be able to reach Europe more easily and vice versa. But even this seems an outdated question: if the United States was once worried that this land route would allow them to bypass the sea routes they control and that China or Russia, by providing for the safety of internal roads, would have an important map to play against them, after the war in Afghanistan and Iraq the situation has changed, as the United States has established a strong political and military presence in Central Asia. Thus the routes by land and the sea routes are equally under their control and no one has any cards to play in an anti-American function. North Korea’s refusal of any passage through its territory is certainly a nuisance, an economic obstacle for the entire region, but it no longer has a strategic value of global reach.

To sum it up, North Korea cannot trigger a world war, because it has no real allies. It was included in the ‘axis of evil’ by the United States not because of its importance, but above all because it was necessary that not only Muslim countries appear on the list, with the risk of a clash of civilizations. Furthermore, North Korea does not have strategic resources, it does not have an economy to be reckoned with, it does not exert any influence either globally or regionally. In other words, a war in North Korea would cause no global repercussions, no changes in the price of oil or other strategic commodities would ensue; stock exchanges would not be affected. Life would go on roughly the same as always. However, it is true that Pyongyang has missiles and is developing nuclear capabilities, as well as being led by unreliable leadership. In other words, it represents a security threat, especially for Japan, which it could reach with its missiles, also compromising its economy. Added to this is a serious humanitarian issue, consisting of more than 20 million people held hostage, almost like human shields, by an unscrupulous political class. However, this is not a land that anyone wants to conquer or defend, as it did during the war of the early 1950s. On the contrary, it is an uncomfortable place that everyone would like to disappear in one way or another. North Korean leaders should take this into account when making their threats. They no longer have the influence they once did: they have been too greedy and shortsighted. If they had built a railway before the war in Afghanistan and the overland route had supplanted the sea routes, they would have at their disposal a much more powerful tool of pressure than atomic bombs, they would have in their hands an element of equal importance to the Suez Canal to use against Japan., South Korea and China. But they didn’t take the chance, and even now they don’t seem able to grasp the basic logic of the post-Cold War world, where you only have influence if you sit down politely and play the game. If you are out of it you don’t count. If you are part of the global economy you can make your own demands, as your contribution to the world economy affects everyone. But if not, your questions are just a nuisance.

A Baseless Blackmail