Saturday, August 12, 2017

Media Appearance: "US - North Korea Tensions: War of Words Escalates" on France 24

I was on television this past Thursday, to talk about the impending nuclear doom.

US - North Korea Tensions: War of Words Escalates [France 24]

I disagree strongly with Eric Schlosser that North Korea is being irrational. Irresponsible? Most definitely. But everyone seriously needs to disabuse themselves the notion that Kim Jong-un is some kind of a madman whose actions are beyond comprehension. Schlosser's idea that North Korea had made themselves a target of the United States by developing nuclear weapons is backwards; the North Korean regime has always been a target, which is why it developed nuclear weapons to ensure its survival. No serious North Korea analyst disagrees with the proposition that Kim Jong-un is acting rationally, although the analysts may disagree as to what Kim Jong-un's endgame is.

One under-appreciated point is how much China is hating the fact that North Korea is developing nuclear weapons. China wants nothing more than stability in Northeast Asia, and North Korea's nuclear weapons invite instability. In my earlier article on the Atlantic, I discussed how South Korea may be able to find an opening in this regard. Over the long term, I believe China will come to value South Korea more than North Korea.

For my part, I am betting that nothing significant is likely to happen. But it would be far more preferable if we were not in a situation in which we had to bet on the possibility of a nuclear war.

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