By Pooja Kumbhar
Karl Marx famously wrote, “history repeats itself, the first as tragedy, second as farce.” Marx certainly had the master polemicist’s aptitude for an effective phrase, yet world powers seem to struggle to apply this one to the recent unfolding events with North Korea.
“The Great War” was a war to end all wars, but was unfortunately a repeated tragedy with the breakout of World War II right after. It would be utterly disappointing if North Korea held enough power to trigger a World War III in the near future with its recent nuclear threats, but I think we can all easily say this is the farce part of history.
Kim Jung Un is a young and inexperienced leader. He designed his war rhetoric to intimidate world powers, especially the U.S. to prove his worth to his own people and to live up to the status of Kim Jung Il and Kim Il Sung. Decades of sanctions and isolation from the world, mostly led by the U.S. have weakened North Korea, leaving many of North Korea’s citizens in poor conditions, having to face starvation and death.
After weeks of fiery rhetoric, military coercion and threats of retaliation against the United States and South Korea, North Korea all of a sudden appears to have simmered down willing to dial back the tension and open ways for a dialogue - a strange pattern of upheaval followed by a cooling period that has been repeated annually for decades.
It is probable that North Korea planned nuclear testing in its state to deliberately invoke an earthquake. Once they captured global notice, North Korea has consistently threatened the U.S. of launching bombs and missiles. The reality is, North Korea is economically conflicted to carry out a successful attack on the U.S. and they are very well aware of it.
The military and nuclear threats from North Korea are strategically devised bluffs to fearfully drive the U.S. to offer a treaty. In this manner, Kim Jung Un can hold an image of prowess among his people and create opportunity to change the course of his state as well. Kim Jung Un has already placed preconditions for exchanging talk before the dialogue. Conditions include a lift from U.N. sanctions, the end of U.S.- South Korea military drills, withdrawal of U.S. nuclear strike capabilities from the region, a halt on criticism of the North and an apology from South Korea for offending its leadership.
A fervent health science student, Aaqil Ali, senior at Hofstra University feels that the U.S. has more threatening domestic issues at hand to worry about, than to give into North Korea’s harmless ultimatums which have taken over the media. “It’s a bad idea for the U.S. to get involved with North Korea. We had enough experience with them. If the U.S. continues to push the regime into a corner, we are going to become unnecessarily involved yet again in another nation when we have healthcare and other social issues in our own country that require greater attention.”
Aside from domestic issues, the United States has its plate full in foreign affairs already. It would be foolish to wage war on North Korea while tension and warfare continue to persist with Arab nations in the Middle East.
“Militarily, we as America, especially after involvement with two wars cannot afford another war. The Korean War never ended to begin with. Instead, the country was split in half, leaving North Korea to the terrible conditions that it still suffers from. If war comes then fly drones overhead, bomb a couple military bases, but I do not support any intervention that places boots on the ground, whatsoever,” said junior student at Hofstra University, Phil Mainiero, philosophy major and political science minor, and an active member of the College Libertarians.
North Korea overbearingly has a weak militant; hence, U.S. intervention at a time of strained economy would be a waste of financial investment as well. With only 27 warheads and a missile that can travel not much further than Japan or Guam, the U.S. in comparison has 10,000 warheads, an advanced military and nuclear weaponry that could demolish North Korea into an ashtray within seconds.
Kim Jung Un is consciousness of U.S. power and the risk he would be placing on his already suffering people if he were to actually carry out the empty threats he is throwing around.
North Korea’s threats have placed the U.S. and the world in fear, yet these threats of attacks are part of a game that has been played many times and is now predictable. The U.S. should not waste its precious media time on Kim Jung Un because he is ultimately feeding off the global attention. With years of sanctions, and isolation, we all know North Korea does not have the resources it claims it does to be capable of half the saber rattling it does.
Waging war with North Korea deems unnecessary and not cost beneficial. If peace negotiation fails, the best course of action would be for U.S. to approach China and Russia, and all other parties to work out a collective solution.