Understanding the madness of Kim Jong-Un, Supreme leader of North Korea

Kim Jong-Un seems like a leader who rules a castle of cards swaying side to side with each gust of wind, ready to topple at any moment, people think of Kim as a mad man but he everything but that. With the GDP being a tiny proportion of South Korea and a population which is starving and highly under nourished, the country should be in arms with a revolution, keeping aside internal conflicts Kim constantly keeps poking super powers like America despite having an army incomparable to the US. If Kim Jong-Un was just a mad man he would have been overthrown multiple times over by now, no one is that lucky. His people might be starving and diplomacies hostile but he constantly lives in a country which loves the Supreme leader. He is a master of politics who stays in power despite everyone working against him.

Even the most brutal dictator tries to fulfill the needs of its citizens knowing that a hungry or angry population is a ticking time bomb, but North Korea is a rare exception as hungry as they may be, they have been taught it’s no different anywhere else. No one will demand freedom of speech when they are barely able to feed themselves. Kim knows providing a better life for its citizens would create far too ambitious population seeking freedom and democracy. What would normally be incompetence is actually political strategy in the case for North Korea.

North Korea and its love for nukes

The most fundamentally important fact about North Korea’s nuclear program is that it was born out of fear — specifically, fear of the United States.

The Korean War began in 1950 when North Korea invaded the South and nearly conquered all of it. The only reason it didn’t was intervention by a US led-coalition, which in turn nearly conquered the entire North, stopped only by a Chinese counter-intervention. The war was horrifically bloody; casualties on both the North and South Korean sides exceeded 1 million.

Photo – Wong Maye-E
Military parade in Pyongyang, North Korea.

After the war ended in an armistice in 1953, the US pledged to defend South Korea against future attack and left tens of thousands of US troops deployed there — a constant reminder to Pyongyang that the world’s strongest military power was willing to literally go to war against it.

As a result, North Korea’s entire foreign policy and national identity has evolved around the threat of war with America. As a result, they’ve always been trying to improve their military capabilities in order to deter the US from invading.

The nuclear program, which began in the 1950s, was designed to be the ultimate answer to this problem. The thinking among three generations of Kims was that if North Korea had nuclear weapons, it could inflict unacceptable costs on the US if it were to invade the North. Nuclear weapons, in other words, would be the ultimate deterrent against regime change.

This explains why Kim has invested so many resources, and been willing to accept crushing international sanctions, in order to develop a nuclear bomb and intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) that could hit the US mainland. It also explains why Kim almost certainly wouldn’t just give up its nukes: The entire point of its nuclear program is that it worries the US will one day try to overthrow its government, and needs something that would deter Washington from even thinking about it.

Photo – REUTERS
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un

When Kim is unhappy he follow a cycle, first they manufacture a crisis or a threat and drive tensions as high as possible, when the tensions are at the highest Kim offers to open up negotiations offering to cool down which is quickly accepted with a sigh of relief, giving Kim the leverage to squeeze maximum concessions. In any particular moment Kim is either in total assault mode creating fear hence creating desperation for negotiations or total charm mode, convincing the world he is reformed, keeping the cycle going.

Kim is well aware of what happened in Libya — and to Iraq after Saddam Hussein shuttered his nuclear program which was their demise. Kim would never give up his nukes or his safety along with them.

The “Doomsday Clock”; 100 seconds to Armageddon

The Doomsday Clock is a symbol that represents the doom of mankind and how close we are to our demise. The clock is a reminder for the unchecked technological and scientific advancements, The clock represents man-made destruction of humankind. The clock is maintained by Atomic Scientist.

On 23 January 2020 after 75 years after the first issue of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists the hand of the clock was moved 20 seconds closer to midnight, the “END” closest it has ever been, past social issues or nuclear threats have not brought it this close to midnight, even the forever expectation of nuclear war in the era of Cold War or the threats made by North Korea still did not pose such threat as we face today.

 But now the team behind the clock says the threat is even more severe.

“Faced with this daunting threat landscape and a new willingness of political leaders to reject the negotiations and institutions that can protect civilization over the long term, the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists Science and Security Board today moves the Doomsday Clock 20 seconds closer to midnight—closer to apocalypse than ever.”

“It is 100 seconds to Midnight”

Asia was where the eyes were this time around, with the increasing tensions between five out of nine countries that have nuclear capabilities, Russia, China, Pakistan, India, and North Korea. All were at the verge of full-on war by one conflict, the world waits and sees which conflict would that be; The South China Sea as China expands its influence as well and economical prowess upon the area as well as the ongoing internal conflicts with Taiwan as well as Hong Kong.

India and Pakistan have their tensions rising as the issue of Kashmir has brought on the center plate for each of them, relations between the two countries have forever been sour since they got their independence, religious discrimination runs rampant and one of the crucial reason for separation. New Laws like CAA and NRC also bring forth internal conflict in India.

Prospects of nuclear war higher than it has ever been before.

North Korea and the Korean peninsula has been unstable since the end of World War 2 and it might be the reason for the Third one as well, the Korean peninsula was divided by the two superpowers after World War 2, i.e. USA and USSR with each controlling South Korea and North Korea respectively.

Robert Rosner, chair of the Bulletin’s science and security board, stated that the world right now is “profoundly unstable.” He added that threats are compounded by an increase in “cyber-enabled disinformation campaigns,” which is crippling “the public’s ability to sort out what’s true and what’s patently false.”

Climate change and the constant ignorance of the world leaders towards it is also an alarming sign which should not be taken lightly, the signs of climate change are here, it is undeniable. Extreme climate disasters are happening all across the world from the fires that burned Australia to the floods which drowned Africa.

Internet is now widespread and can be accessed with one click but with the increasingly pressing issue of disinformation and manipulation of the masses which undermines domestic and international efforts to promote peace and prosper the planet.

Influential leaders instead of working together and aiming for world peace and protecting the environment are instead taking actions towards narrow short term personal interest while at the same time undermining scientific as well as global progress.

Doomsday clock is an alarm for the world to wake up, and being 100 seconds away from “Midnight” we don’t have time to sit idle, otherwise, we would have nothing left.