No one underestimates what Kim Jong-Un says anymore. Almost everything he threatened of happened. The North Korean regime’s most recent move was the nuclear test which angered the US. A ballistic missile had also frightened Japan after it fell in its waters. North Korea’s young leader Kim Jong-Un can destroy the neighboring city of Seoul in one day or kill a million or more Japanese people or fire a destructive nuclear head on an American base.
The world confronts a real nuclear threat for the first time since the Cold War. American President Donald Trump warned that all options are on the table – which usually signifies threats to resort to military power. However, a war with this mad man will not be a walk in the park. The difference between Kim Jong-Un and other leaders who possess nuclear weapons is that he’s mad enough to commit any crime without blinking. He killed his paternal aunt’s husband then went to eat dinner at her house. He also assassinated the ministers of defense and education.
It’s because of him that Japan decided to end its policy of not attaining offensive weapons – a policy that Japan has adopted since its defeat and surrender in World War II. The Japanese are finally convinced that the world is no longer safe and that they must bear the responsibility of protecting themselves.
Washington has viewed North Korea as an enemy that has threatened its allies in that part of the world since the days of Kim II-sung. The US only settled with adopting a blockade policy against it. However, this policy did not prevent Pyongyang from developing its military capabilities which now threaten the US itself as well as the entire international community that is confused about how to confront Kim Jong-Un and whether it should confront him or please him. Submitting to the mad Korean leader’s demands will encourage other mad men across the world to adopt the same approach. For instance, there are similar leaders in Iran. Meanwhile, a military confrontation may cost millions of lives.
The world is thus anticipating developments especially that Washington has excessively made threats and said that it will not allow Pyongyang to possess nuclear weapons. The latter though has carried out six nuclear tests and developed its capabilities to transfer its nuclear weapons. It proved this in the test which flew beyond Japan, and it’s saying it’s about to finish developing a nuclear bomb.
We cannot separate North Korea’s crisis from the problem of dealing with our neighbor Iran which has good relations, including military and nuclear cooperation, with Kim Jong-Un’s regime.
The Iranian command aspires to be in a situation similar to North Korea’s. It aspires to be capable of developing its nuclear offensive capabilities in order to solidify its power inside Iran and subjugate the region. Iran expanded and it cannot continue to do so without a nuclear weapon that strengthens its gains. The verbal confrontation between Trump and Kim Jong-Un without decisively ending the problem may cause a bigger rebellion in which countries like Iran, and that are not possible to deter or besiege, are involved.
This article is also available in Arabic.
Abdulrahman al-Rashed is the former General Manager of Al Arabiya News Channel. A veteran and internationally acclaimed journalist, he is a former editor-in-chief of the London-based leading Arab daily Asharq al-Awsat, where he still regularly writes a political column. He has also served as the editor of Asharq al-Awsat’s sister publication, al-Majalla. Throughout his career, Rashed has interviewed several world leaders, with his articles garnering worldwide recognition, and he has successfully led Al Arabiya to the highly regarded, thriving and influential position it is in today. He tweets @aalrashed.