US Policy Towards the DPRK Continues to Fail and Why

What is the basis for the US’s hostilities towards the Democratic Republic of Korea (DPRK)? Constantly we are given updates on how supposedly evil the DPRK is, and why we must continue aggression against them. Fantastic stories that beggar belief are fed to us. The war drums have been pounding against the DPRK since the end of the Korean War. How many people actually stop to question why we must constantly pursue hostilities against them? This subject deserves investigation, one that will shed a much more honest light on the situation between the two countries.

The US has always denounced the DPRK’s pursuit of nuclear weapons, and nuclear technology in general. Yet, the US has never had any substantial success in doing so. Instead, we’re given harsh words and inhuman sanctions against the DPRK. Why has every attempt to convince the DPRK to abandon its nuclear weapons program failed? Why have they insisted upon building them regardless? The answer lies in the US’s misrepresentation of the situation, and thus, their response to it.

Trump has already issued his ultimatum to the DPRK. Trump clearly said that if they went ahead with planned missile and nuclear tests, he would be left with no choice but to launch a pre-emptive strike. The DPRK has responded by announcing that they would take whatever means necessary to defend themselves, even using nuclear weapons if necessary. Thus we had our standoff, with both sides refusing to budge. In the end, the DPRK conducted their missile test which was a failure. The point was that they carried it out under threat from Trump’s ultimatum. No military retaliation has been forthcoming from the US. Both sides have faced off, and the DPRK called Trump’s bluff.

After this terrible failure so close to his mark of 100 days of being his office, he decided to switch gears in two ways. First, his decided to distract from the failure by carrying out a whole collection of initiatives, trying to push them through before the 100-day mark. Not only was this intended to distract, but also to make it look like he had been actually accomplishing something before the 100 days was up. Secondly, and more importantly, he made an announcement which definitely shifted policy on the DPRK.

Donald Trump has condemned North Korea for “disrespecting the wishes of China” after Pyongyang test-fired a ballistic missile despite rising tensions in the region. It seems Trump has decided to portray the DPRK as antagonistic to China. It seems very much like an attempt to save face. Trump is not acknowledging his failure to subdue the DPRK and instead is trying to make it look as though the DPRK had been hostile towards China. Such is the kind of erratic and dishonest foreign policy we’ve seen from the US, specifically under the Trump administration.

Trump is attempting to shift the struggle to force the DPRK to abandon nuclear weapons technology onto China. They’ve already changed their policy to diplomatic relations and a renewed round of sanctions. Trump’s new policy calls for China to “rein in” the DPRK, or else the US will have to take military action. Essentially, the burden to carry out US interests has been dumped in China’s lap. If the DPRK still doesn’t abolish their weapons program, then it becomes China’s fault. Trump has already failed to subdue the DPRK and is now in a drive to find some way to make it appear as though something is being done, without actually doing anything. Now when the DPRK refuses to back down, it will be China who has lost face and not Trump.

Despite these new efforts, the US administration will find its efforts a failure. The American people will find themselves disappointed as well. This will happen because of how the US misrepresents the situation. The US portrays the situation dishonestly: the idea that the DPRK is portrayed as causing problems for no reason.  If we proceed from this false image we’d get the idea that the DPRK was simply irrational. It would seem that the DPRK is causing hostilities for no reason. So to some degree, we can understand why there are many Americans who think this way. However, the reality of the situation is much different. The US is the aggressor, not the DPRK. The DPRK has made no threats but retaliation for threats made against them. They do not project power outside of their national boundaries, the US however does. The DPRK hasn’t posed a threat to the US, the US has, however, repeatedly threatened them for decades.

What the DPRK has repeatedly said is that they want the right to self-determination, and the right to carry out trade as everyone else does. By contrast, the US has made repeated demands by the DPRK to dismantle their means of self-defense and change their economic system to one the US would prefer (one they can exploit). On what basis can we really think that the DPRK is the aggressor here when it’s the US that keeps trying to force their interests on the DPRK? We simply cannot if we’re honest. Unfortunately, the US is not interested in honesty, they are interested in imperialist conquest.

Now we can understand why the DPRK is so insistent upon having such weapons. Not out of some kind of irrationality, but out of a need for self-defense.