In point of fact, the threat from North Korea is more a fabrication by those who think we should always be at war with someone (anyone) and constantly threatening other countries as the basis for our foreign policy.
North Korea may be somewhat of a threat to Japan and South Korea and China and Russia, but is not a threat of any kind to the United States.
The North Koreans are very backward militarily and politically, and are different from the South Koreans only because China and the U.S. drew a line more or less along the 38th parallel and called it a day in 1954 after three years of bloody war, rather than continue to fight and slaughter hundreds of thousands more Chinese troops at a time.
And unlike all of the “experts” on Korea who have never lived there or even met a Korean in person, I lived in South Korea for three years, traveled in North Korea as part of a South Korean diplomatic contingent, and also married into the Korean aristocracy. Of course, that doesn’t make me an expert on Korea, either, but it does give me some factual basis and background for my opinions on the country.
The first thing you need to understand about North and South Korea is that it is, and always has been, a single country, with a single people, speaking a single language – and had a single history prior to the Korean War. And every South Korean had relatives living in North Korea for two reasons.
First, the Korean peninsula has been more or less unified since about 1900, when the Japanese invaded the country and occupied it until they were ejected by the U.S. in 1945. Before that, there existed three separate kingdoms on the peninsula that were closely affiliated. Then, for the brief period from 1945 to 1950, it was a free country with aspirations to become Westernized and democratic. China was unable to allow that, and tried to annex it by force in 1950.
The other reason every South Korean has relatives in the North is because when the Korean War was ending, everyone in the North who was able fled southward to avoid living under the thumb of Mao and the Communist Chinese. Families were divided and have until recently not even been able to speak to each other, much less meet and spend time with their relatives. So there is no incentive for the North to attack the South or anyone else unless goaded into war by others. Of course, the North would love to annex the South, just as China annexed Hong Kong and for the same economic reasons: Democracy breeds wealth and plenty for a society, while Communism must rely on taking and redistributing what others have earned.
In sum, North Korea only poses a threat when threatened, and for that reason will never agree to relinquish its nuclear weapons. Kim saw what happened to Gaddafi in Libya when that leader gave up his nuclear program, and has no intention of being murdered by his own subjects the same way that Gaddafi was.
Dr. Jonathan C. Jobe, of Crescent Valley, is a retired educator and a veteran of the U.S. Air Force.