Understanding The Motivation Of North Korea
North Korea has a storied history of threats towards the United States. While many of these threats express harsh rhetoric and hostile terms towards the U.S., it is important to keep in mind that North Korea’s motives behind these threats are typically centered around one common thread: economic insecurity.
The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK), more commonly known as North Korea, is the most isolated country in the world. As a result, North Korea relies heavily on its relationship with other countries to maintain its economic stability. North Korea is not a self-sufficient country and an estimated 70 percent of its gross domestic product (GDP) comes from abroad.
This reliance on other countries leaves North Korea in a vulnerable position and increases it’s motivation to strengthen ties with other nations as a way to reduce domestic economic insecurity. Thus, North Korea’s threats to the United States serve as a way to obtain diplomatic recognition and economic aid, including food and energy resources.
North Korea’s Nuclear Program
Most of North Korea’s threats towards the United States stem from the nuclear weapons program it has developed in recent years. The DPRK began developing its nuclear program in the 1980s and officially tested its first nuclear weapon in 2006. Since then, the program has advanced rapidly, with the country successfully testing a second nuclear device in 2009 and, most recently, a powerful hydrogen bomb in 2017.
Although North Korea has developed this advanced nuclear program and has made various threats towards the United States, U.S. intelligence agencies believe that the country is still a few years away from developing a missile capable of delivering nuclear weapons to the United States.
Assessing The Risk
The question of whether North Korea would actually launch a nuclear attack on the United States cannot be answered definitively. It is difficult to predict North Korean leader Kim Jong Un’s actions, as he is known to be unpredictable and erratic.
However, experts suggest that it is unlikely North Korea will actually launch a nuclear attack on the United States. While North Korea threatens the U.S. with nuclear attacks, doing so would invite immediate retaliation from the U.S., resulting in mass destruction in North Korea.
The Possibility Of Reaching A Diplomatic Agreement
Given the high risk associated with attacking the United States, experts believe that North Korea is more likely to pursue a diplomatic agreement. The DPRK has stated that it is willing to negotiate with the United States and has expressed its openness to discuss denuclearization.
Although the United States is skeptical about North Korea’s willingness to denuclearize, the Trump administration has expressed its willingness to engage in negotiations. President Trump has also met with Kim Jong Un on two occasions and discussed various topics related to the denuclearization of the Korean peninsula.
Social And Political Implications
The potential of a U.S.-North Korea diplomatic agreement carries with it significant political implications. For North Korea, such an agreement would mark a historic shift in its relationship with the United States and could potentially lead to greater diplomatic recognition and economic aid.
For the United States, such an agreement could potentially ease tensions in a region that has long been considered one of the most volatile areas of the world. Additionally, a U.S.-North Korea diplomatic agreement would have positive implications in terms of international security and non-proliferation, ultimately leading to greater stability in the region.
Sanctions Impact on North Korea
North Korea’s economy has been heavily impacted by international sanctions. Since 2006, the United Nations (U.N.) has implemented a series of economic sanctions against North Korea, in an effort to pressure the country to abandon its nuclear weapons program.
These sanctions have had a crippling effect on the country, especially on its trade and commerce. The dilapidated state of North Korea’s economy has often been cited as one of the primary motivations for its aggressive rhetoric towards the United States.
U.S. Led Efforts Towards Denuclearization
In addition to economic sanctions, the United States has led a number of diplomatic initiatives to push North Korea closer to denuclearization.
The Trump administration has consistently pressured the DPRK to abandon its nuclear weapons program and has cited a number of benefits that North Korea could receive if it were to comply. So far, these efforts have been unsuccessful but have softened North Korea’s stance towards negotiating with the U.S.
North Korean Military And Their Infamous Cyberattacks
Despite North Korea’s continued rhetoric towards the United States, the country has yet to launch a serious attack. This does not, however, mean that North Korea is totally immune to attacks from the United States.
In recent years, North Korea’s military has used its advanced cyber capabilities to launch cyber-attacks against the United states. Popular targets of these attacks have been news organizations, financial institutions and even the U.S. government.
These cyber-attacks have caused significant damage to their victims, yet North Korea has consistently denied any role in the attacks and has yet to face significant repercussions for their actions.
Is North Korea A Real Threat ?
The question of whether North Korea is capable and willing to launch a devastating nuclear attack on the United States is a difficult one to answer. On one hand, it is undeniable that the DPRK has the capability to launch a nuclear attack on the United States and its aggressive rhetoric has caused alarm in the international community.
On the other hand, it is difficult to predict whether or not the Kim Jong Un regime would be willing to risk the total destruction of their own country for the sake of attacking the United States.
Given the high risk associated with attacking the United States and the numerous benefits North Korea could receive if it were to denuclearize, it would appear that North Korea’s threats to the United States are centered more around obtaining a diplomatic agreement than they are around launching a nuclear attack.