Korean War 2.0: Deescalate NowSubmitted by chris cudnoski on Wed, 04/03/2013 - 11:33
"...The question remains, what exactly is Kim Jong-un trying to achieve through this campaign of bellicosity? North Korean state media claims that the US “should clearly know that in the era of Marshal Kim Jong Un, the greatest-ever commander, all things are different from what they used to be in the past.” The current approach being taken by Pyongyang is multifaceted, but its central component is building up Kim’s image domestically and rallying people around the flag – this has been reinforced by daily public appearances and friendly photo-ops of Kim mingling with local people, as well as an internal propaganda campaign likening him to his grandfather Kim il-Sung, the founder and “Eternal President” of North Korea. The central message Pyongyang wants to send both internationally and domestically is that Kim Jong-un’s era is distinctly different from before – many South Korean observers have also noted this change in approach, designed to make the regime’s moves more difficult to predict.
Most analysts are regarding the North’s rhetoric as their familiar brand of psychological warfare whereby it cranks up the tensions and threatens Seoul and Washington with destruction, and is then rewarded with food aid and concessions when it tones things down, which it has previously done in the months of April and May – harvest time. Pyongyang likely views the present scenario as an opportune time to test the water, keeping the new administrations of their neighbors in South Korea, China and Japan on their toes. Despite the muscle flexing and the foolish threats emanating out of Pyongyang, Washington’s recent deployment of two nuclear-capable US B-2 stealth bombers illustrates everything that is wrong with US policy toward the North – this kind of move only serves to raise antagonisms and it in fact legitimizes Pyongyang’s rhetoric of the US coaxing nuclear war on the peninsula.
In addition to joint US-ROK’s endless barrage of war games on North Korea’s doorstep, the brandishing of B-2 bombers, which carry bombs that can blast through 70 meters of reinforced concrete, is an unnecessary stunt that is both bold and needlessly provocative. In fact, the B-2 flyover helps Kim Jong-un in consolidating his political power at home by rallying domestic support behind the US threat and distracting North Koreans from economic problems. These moves beg the question, is the United States prepared to launch a full-scale war against North Korea? Despite the high public disapproval of overt warfare campaigns launched by the Bush administration, the unholy status North Korea enjoys in American mainstream media – coupled with its threats to nuke the United States and the simple fact that is it a communist state – is likely enough to coax the average American into supporting a war of aggression against Pyongyang..."