Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

4/9/2013 (2 years ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

The world can sleep at night knowing despite the bluster, there's no war on the horizon.

Much has been made of North Korea and its ability to destabilize the region with its powerful military and fanatically devoted populace. Although most of the world dismisses Kim Jong Un's bluster as just that, there are a few who remain concerned that a miscalculation could cause the new leader to blunder into war. In such an event, despite the fact North Korea is a technological backwater, the North Korean juggernaut remains feared.

Nobody knows what this contraption does, and that's scary in an absurd way.

Nobody knows what this contraption does, and that's scary in an absurd way.

Highlights

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

4/9/2013 (2 years ago)

Published in Asia Pacific

Keywords: Kim Jong Un, antics, North Korea, war, assets, liabilities


While plenty reason exists to fear North Korean might, there's also a lot of reason to discount it. Here are four of that country's greatest supposed strengths and why they are really liabilities in the event of war.

Army of 1.2 million. North Korea is legendary for its large military. With approximately 1.2 million soldiers in its army, it can easily overwhelm the South Korean military with an advantage of more than 2 to 1.
However, this isn't such a strength, particularly following any initial thrust.

One million troops consume a lot of food and during combat they consume fuel and ammunition among other supplies. While North Korea can lay in plenty of ammunition, food is perishable and it will be difficult to feed a moving, fighting army that is subject to interdiction by superior enemy airpower.

A more likely outcome will be mass defections and the surrender of large numbers of troops when they are faced with starvation and a lack of supplies.

North Korea is already dependent on international food aid to feed its starving population and most food aid is diverted to the army. However, in the event of war, all food shipments would likely cease and the only food many soldiers would get is that foraged from the countryside. That's not enough to ensure the success of a military campaign. Undoubtedly, this weighs heavily on the minds of North Korea's military planners and leaders and serves as a brake on Kim Jong Un's imperialist ambition.
 
The fanatic devotion of the people. North Korea runs much like a religious cult. Even the news reporters and media personalities are bombastic, emotional, and show more public devotion to "Dear Leader" than many westerners show God in their churches. People are commonly photographed and taped bowing before portraits of their "Dear Leaders" which are regarded as shrines.

Such fanatical devotion could prove dangerous as the populace is apparently ready to fight to the death for their dear leader.

Certainly, there are true devotees. There were good Nazis, and even Japan had to turn away volunteers for kamikaze service. Many Branch Davidians died because they refused to flee their compound as it burned. However, most people are not fools.

North Korea is a nation governed by fear. Not only is the individual who infracts the rules subject to severe punishment, including death, but their families are as well. Many people who would otherwise break away and speak out against the North Korean regime would probably do so if not for fear their family, including children, would spend the rest of their lives in a forced labor camp.

Much of the North Korean economy depends on forced labor and it is widely exploited to prop up the national economy. As a result even minor infractions can land an entire family behind barbed wire.

For this reason, many people will harbor secret resentment against their Dear Leader and hope for a day when they no longer have to feign selfless devotion. A war could provide such an opportunity, especially if it went badly. This is not to suggest that North Koreans would also willingly accept foreign occupation of their country, but they aren't likely to be as quick to die for Dear Leader as one might assume. In fact, the country could be filled with people who would like to see Kim Jong Un fall from power.

This could be the very purpose of the current manufactured crisis. Many speculate that the crisis is being manufactured by Kim Jong Un as a means of consolidating his domestic power. The people are ruled by fear, which works, but also breeds resentment. If the people find an opportunity to throw off the chains of oppression, they may be quick to turn against their own leaders. So far, despite the tough talk, it appears to be a risk Kim Jong Un is unwilling to take.

The bomb. Some of the greatest concern over North Korea is related to its nuclear capability. Kim Jong Un has threatened to deploy nuclear weapons against any nation that threatens North Korea, and has made a public spectacle of threatening South Korea and the United States. The world knows North Korea has the bomb. This will give many pause when it comes to fighting with the state rather than negotiating. 

While the bomb can deter aggression, it can also inspire it. North Korea has both the bomb and a crazed dictator in control of it. This is an unstable combination and that can inspire other states to intervene powerfully before something unpredictable happens.

Indeed, if conflict does occur, the allied nations will probably strike that much harder and with greater intensity in a bid to neutralize the country's nuclear capability. That would include striking command and control facilities and any other infrastructure seen as essential to deployment of a bomb.

So rather than discouraging intervention, the bomb could encourage swift and powerful intervention of the most aggressive sort at the first sign of perceived danger.

Nothing. Perhaps North Korea's greatest wartime asset is quite literally nothing. The country is wracked with poverty, disease, and hardship. What is left for the country to lose when its people already live in a primitive state compared to the rest of the world?

Actually, quite a lot. Anyone who lives in privilege from Kim Jong Un himself to his generals, to his supporters, and to his bureaucrats, all enjoy a fair standard of living compared to the rest of the people. That means anyone who enjoys power of any sort also enjoys privilege and can lose it at the moment of conflict. This is a powerful disincentive to war, especially one the country is likely to lose.

Far from being fearful of North Korean conflict, the world should recognize that there's little to worry about from North Korea. What we are most afraid of is also that which keeps them restrained. In reality, they must fear war as much as we do. For that reason we can go back to sleep at night.

---


Pope Francis: end world hunger through 'Prayer and Action'


Copywriter 2015 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for July 2015
Universal:
That political responsibility may be lived at all levels as a high form of charity.
Evangelization: That, amid social inequalities, Latin American Christians may bear witness to love for the poor and contribute to a more fraternal society.



Comments


More Asia Pacific

Conspiracy theorists try to solve the mystery behind the disappearance of Malaysian Air Flight MH370 - Did terrorists plant the discovered plane debris as a distraction? Watch

Image of

By Nikky Andres (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Since the recent discovery of plane wreckage on an Indian Ocean island, conspiracy theorists have formulated several attempts to provide an answer to the mysterious disappearing of Malaysian Air Flight MH370. Some even claim the discovered debris was planted there by ... continue reading


Dancing lights in Japanese sky spark concern over alien life Watch

Image of

By Atarah Haely (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Ten bright lights spotted above the sky in Osaka City, Japan, were recorded and posted online. Within the two-minute clip, the lights appeared to be dancing, puzzling those who viewed the video as to whether alien life is visiting us or the recording is merely a hoax. ... continue reading


Piece of Flight MH370? Mysterious plane debris washes up on Indian Ocean island that could be missing Malaysian MH370 Watch

Image of A sand sculpture urging all to pray for MH370.

By Abigail James (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Photos of what could be a piece of the missing Malaysian Air Flight MH370 have surfaced over the internet. The photo, posted on Twitter, appear to "a plane flap or wing that had washed up on a remote Indian Ocean island," according to Fox News. LOS ANGELES, CA ... continue reading


HOUSE OF HORRORS: 97 bodies of children, adults found stacked inside ancient Chinese house Watch

Image of In trying to determine the sudden influx of dead bodies, researchers came to one conclusion. The dead came in faster than they could be buried in a village that contained dozens of small, one-room houses.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Researchers are baffled in a recent grisly discovery in northeast China. A small, 210 square-foot home in a prehistoric village has yielded 97 skeletons of men, women, and children. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The 5,000-year-old home housed the skeletal remains ... continue reading


Chinese Christians protest 'evil Communist campaign' to destroy crosses Watch

Image of

By Nikky Andres (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Christian leaders have set up demonstrations in eastern China to take a stand against the "evil" campaign to eliminate crosses; a plan many see as a coordinated Communist party attack on their religion. MUNTINLUPA, PHILIPPINES (Catholic Online) - No less than 1,200 ... continue reading


Military combats return to Japan after seven decades of strict restrictions Watch

Image of

By Linky C. (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

For the first time in 70 years, Japan's military will now have limited powers to participate in military activities concerning conflicts, as Prime Minister Shinzo Abe triumphed over public demonstrations and oppositions against the new legislation. The Prime Minister ... continue reading


Tibetan Monk Delek Rinpoche cremated in Chinese prison against family's wishes Watch

Image of Tenzin Delek Rinpoche died in prison and was then cremated against public wishes.

By Linky C. (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Tibetan Monk, Tenzin Delek Rinpoche's body has been cremated against the will of his family in a secret Chinese prison. Prior to the cremation, protests erupted after news that the Monk was killed while in prison. MUNTINLUPA CITY, PHILIPPINES (Catholic Online) - ... continue reading


Famous Siberian 60-meter deep crater mystery solved Watch

Image of Yamal crater B-1 not caused by meteor as previously thought.

By Hannah Marfil (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

A "never observed" process that has puzzled Russian scientists is now understood. Through an expedition last week, researchers found out that the massively large holes, appearing in Siberia, are not actually caused by large meteorites but a former mound of land covered ... continue reading


Indonesia's rumbling volcano causes flight cancellations and panic for tourists Watch

Image of Mount Raung has been heating up over the last few weeks.

By Talia Ramos (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

An active volcano in Java, Indonesia has been rumbling and spewing ashes over the last week, causing flight cancellations to tourist hub Bali and other destinations. Transportation authorities decided to suspend flights because the amount of volcanic ash could be ... continue reading


Inspiring story of a homeless nine-year-old Filipino boy who does his homework on the streets Watch

Image of Daniel Cabrera went viral over social media for his intense motivation to do well in school.

By Nikky Andres (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Nine-year-old Daniel Cabrera has inspired people around the world with one heart-warming photo. In the viral photo, the child is shown doing his school work on the street, using an improvised bench as his study desk and a dim light from a McDonald's restaurant.  ... continue reading


All Asia Pacific News

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Leviticus 25:1, 8-17
1 Yahweh spoke to Moses on Mount Sinai and ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 67:2-3, 5, 7-8
2 Then the earth will acknowledge your ways, and all ... Read More

Gospel, Matthew 14:1-12
1 At that time Herod the tetrarch heard about the ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for August 1st, 2015 Image

St. Alphonsus Marie Liguori
August 1: Bishop, Doctor of the Church, and the founder of the ... Read More

Inform, Inspire & Ignite Logo

Find Catholic Online on Facebook and get updates right in your live feed.

Become a fan of Catholic Online on Facebook


Follow Catholic Online on Twitter and get News and Product updates.

Follow us on Twitter