North Korea leader Kim Jong-un may be bonkers in his pursuit of prolonging his dynasty by threatening the world with nuclear incineration, but he has called the bluff of the world’s most powerful leaders.
So far, the combined diplomatic efforts of the US, China and Russia seem to have stalled in trying to persuade the Kim to stop firing missiles and to halt his country’s scientists from building nuclear weapons.
Where others have wilted, he has challenged them to fight toe-to-toe and they have backed down because when Washington, Beijing and the Kremlin tot up the likely casualties from military confrontation to topple the North Korean regime, the odds are unacceptable.
They will succeed, but at what cost to their armed forces and civilian populations within a 2,000 mile or so radius of Pyong Yang.
It’s difficult to believe the James Bond-style baddy Kim has the ability to develop a strategy that hobbles super powers, but whether by accident or design, the maverick country in South-East Asia is punching well above its weight.
The idea was simple.
The men behind Kim’s regime saw that once a rogue country was stripped of weapons of mass destruction, it was easy to follow through with a campaign to unseat the government.
The lesson was learned from Gaddafi in Libya and Saddam in Iraq.
North Korea vowed not to follow in their footsteps and defiantly continued to build a nuclear arsenal for the past two decades.
“History proves that powerful nuclear deterrence serves as the strongest treasured sword for frustrating outsiders’ aggression,” said Pyong Yang’s KCNA news agency.
“The Saddam Hussein regime in Iraq and the Gaddafi regime in Libya could not escape the fate of destruction after being deprived of their foundations for nuclear development and giving up nuclear programs of their own accord.”
The country may not have an airborne weapon at the moment, but the world can see they are not far off their goal.
US President Donald Trump has been reduced to firing off impotent Tweets every time a missile is tested and seems to be relying on the Chinese to intervene on America’s behalf.
The Chinese are not saying much about their talks with North Korea, but missile tests seem to have stepped up rather than tailed off since they sat at the negotiating table.
Now China has taken the problem to Russia, but little is known of any plans hatching in Moscow.