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The First Nuclear War
Articles on North Korea before 2024

  • (march 2024) The First Nuclear War.
    I hope i am wrong but i suspect that we are on the brink of the first nuclear war. And no, it is not Russia that i suspect. The USA has been chronically incapable of articulating a policy towards the most totalitarian, isolated and poor country in the world: North Korea. The result is a colossal fiasco: North Korea has developed rockets and nuclear weapons. North Korea's original strategy was to deter the USA by threatening to strike its allies South Korea and Japan, but now North Korea has developed the capability to strike the USA itself (certainly Guam, probably Hawaii, possibly even California).
    It is ironic that in 1991 the USA had about 100 nuclear weapons stationed in the Korean peninsula, then it agreed to a de-nuclearized Korean peninsula, and now the USA has zero nuclear weapons there while North Korea has about 100. That's what happens when you negotiate with dictators. Now it's North Korea that can blackmail the USA (not only South Korea and Japan) with nuclear bombs.
    Recently, North Korea and Russia made some kind of deal and North Korea started supplying Russia with weapons it needs in Ukraine. It is obviously humiliating for Russia to have to purchase weapons from countries like Iran and North Korea: the old Soviet Union never had to do anything like it. But that's not the point: the point is that North Korea must have gotten something in return, not only cheap oil and gas.
    I suspect that Putin granted North Korea the right to attack South Korea. In January 2024 North Korea's dictator announced that he is ready to take South Korea with force. Maybe it is not a coincidence: he got the green light from Putin, perhaps even an encouragement to attack now that the West is distracted with Ukraine.
    I suspect that Putin, aiming to distract the West from Ukraine, originally tried to convince Xi to attack Taiwan. Xi didn't accept his offer, wary of losing a much more difficult war than the invasion of Ukraine. And so now he turns to another country that could create a major distraction: North Korea.
    I also suspect that China has traditionally pressured North Korea to avoid all-out war: China has no interest that the USA be drawn again to the Korean peninsula, and even less interest now that nuclear weapons could be involved (with radiations certainly reaching Chinese territory). There are signs that China always disliked the North Korean regime, if nothing else because it has been so inept in the economic sphere, and it could be that the mutual antipathy has only increased under Jinping Xi and Jong-Un Kim (the last names are Xi and Kim). Last but not least, i doubt that China is excited at the prospect of the North Korean regime conquering South Korea, and causing an economic and humanitarian crisis there, next door to China, annexing one of China's main trading partners. North Korea used to be an asset for China. Now it looks more like a dangerous maniac.
    And so North Korea may have found a new ally and protector, a man who is himself a dangerous maniac: Vladimir Putin. Unlike China, Russia doesn't care much about what happens in the Korean peninsula. And Russia might even secretly enjoy a disruption of the Chinese economy. It is after all embarrassing that in 2024 the Chinese economy is ten times bigger than Russia's: in the old days of the Soviet Union it was the opposite.
    And so the first nuclear war may take place in the Korean peninsula: North Korea attacks South Korea, the USA cannot and does not want to fight a ground war there, North Korea threatens to nuke US territories, the USA nukes North Korea to prevent it. It is even possible that North Korea will nuke Guam immediately, just to send the message, loud and clear, that it is not kidding.
    The USA wasted 30 years. It should have solved the Korean problem militarily when North Korea didn't have nuclear weapons, when Russia was weak (emerging from the collapse of the Soviet Union) and when China was more interested in reforming its economy than in fighting another war against the USA. Now North Korea represents the main threat to the USA. That threat can only escalate as North Korea develops better and better rocket technology, perhaps also helped by Russia.
    In this gloomy scenario there is an opportunity: China. Russia doesn't care, but China should. There are signs that China is ready to have friendlier relations with the USA, if nothing else because its economy is struggling, but also because its attempts to create an alternative world order aren't working too well. The USA unfortunately views China as the bogeyman. Hostility towards China is pretty much the only issue that unites the Democrats and the Republicans in Washington.
    (From this point of view a Republican president like Trump would be more likely to be able to steer Congress towards changing attitude towards China).
    If, however, the USA can somehow overcome its fear of China, there is an opportunity to find a permanent solution to the Korean issue. The only country that can decapitate the North Korean regime is China. It needs a motivation to do so...
    TM, ®, Copyright © 2024 Piero Scaruffi All rights reserved.
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  • Articles on Korea before 2024
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