North Korea has been in the news constantly over the past few months (and continuously over many years), mostly due to its development and testing of nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles. This development has been taking place over many decades, but has reach a critical point recently, as North Korea has reached a pivotal point in its military capabilities.
North Korea now joins the exclusive club of nations that posses stockpiles of nuclear weapons, along with the capability to launch them at cities across the globe[i]. With every new nation that joins this club it could be argued that the possibility of nuclear war grows higher. We are quite fortunate to have survived the Cold War (between the US and Russia) without any nuclear weapons being used in battle by either party (though it came very, very close several times). Likewise, the risk of a serious accident (such as an accidental trigger) grows higher (there have been some very close calls in the past).
Aside from the risk of these evil devices being used in anger to devour millions in fire in a mere instant, there is a huge environmental cost to be paid for their development and testing. The process required to manufacture weapons-grade Plutonium (which is man-made) is dangerous, and naturally produces the very worst kind of poisons (as high-level transuranic waste can remain radioactive for very long periods of time[ii]). The US itself was enormously irresponsible when it went through the process of producing its plutonium stockpiles. At one point the CIA actually had to raid the US military facility that was handling its Plutonium, due to a number of serious OHS and environmental issues.
One can only imagine what the standards are like at North Korea’s nuclear facilities, given that the country is in dire poverty, and given the long list of human rights abuses occurring during its regime. Given that careful handling and storage of transuranic waste is immensely costly (and contributes significantly to the cost of electricity from Nuclear Fission), I have very little faith in North Korea to put the safety of their citizens and the environment on the priority list. On this ground alone it could be a major humanitarian and environmental disaster.
Also, every single test of a nuclear weapon is in itself an environmental disaster. There is the sheer force of the explosion itself, registered in the same way as an earthquake, and the utter destruction that occurs in the immediate area, even when underground. Underwater testing is even worse, due to the absolute desecration of the underwater environment that occurs. Then there is the case that every single test of a nuclear weapon increases the background radiation level of the planet as a whole (let alone the immediate area), and underwater testing (as North Korea has recently suggested it might perform, and as performed not so long ago by France, and to devastating affect by the US at Bikini Atoll half a century ago) releases incredibly dangerous isotopes into the oceans.
The good news at least is that I find it very, very hard to image that North Korea would initiate a nuclear strike against anyone (and I haven’t really seen anybody in the know disagree). Certainly they like to talk tough, or perhaps it would be more appropriate to say that they have a tendency to run their mouth. Nevertheless, they would have to have an awareness that regardless of their own capabilities, any nuclear strike they could launch would only guarantee that they would be literarily wiped off the face of the planet in a retaliatory firestorm.
Hence, I really can’t see North Korea actually deliberately seeking to use their weapons in anger. However, the bad news is that we may be well past the point of anyone being able to do anything about North Korea. We may well have to live with a North Korea that has the capability to launch a nuclear-armed ballistic missile against various nations (possibly including the US, Australia and more). This effectively leaves international relations with the country in a permanent state of heightened Cold War vigilance, not a nice thing to have to live with. Likewise, we face the possibility of North Korea “testing the waters” more aggressively; using nuclear threats to attempt to get away with more acts of smaller scale aggression (particularly towards South Korea).
Whilst I am obviously no fan of Trump, there is no question that North Korea is the aggressor in this situation[iii]. Nevertheless, we (critics of Trump) all knew that Trump would only escalate nuclear tensions with North Korea. Prior to the election we all said that he would be the one to start a nuclear war. So, it is not really that surprising. Trump and Kim Jong Un are in some respects every bit as bad as each other, two immature boys hurling insults at each other, with each round escalating to more and more serious threats.
However, the fact remains that even without Trump, this point in time has been coming for many years, and North Korea bares the primary responsibility for it. Whilst I admire Barack Obama as a sensible, intelligent and compassionate man (regardless of whether or not all his policies were wise), we would still be in this mess if he were still in office (or if any other Democrat leader was in Trump’s shoes). One would think that without Trump we possibly wouldn’t have the same circus of escalating insults. Yet certainly we would still have a nuclear North Korea baiting the rest of the world with threats of firestorms.
North Korea has been playing nuclear blackmail for many years now, and unfortunately any chances of stopping them may now be spent. Whilst I am generally somewhat suspicious of attempts by Western nations (particularly the US in recent years) at attempting regime changes, I do not necessarily oppose such things out of hand. In the case of North Korea a forced regime change would have been a compassionate option, to alleviate the suffering of the North Korean people, living under a government that spends nearly its entire budget on its military programs.
North Korea’s game of nuclear blackmail makes a mockery of their core philosophy of self-reliance and self-sufficiency. In truth, they spent literarily all their money on nuclear weapons, ballistic missiles and their military in general, whilst they depend on UN and US aid to feed their starving masses. It is quite literarily insane, the very worst example of communism achieving the exact opposite ends to which it aspires.
I am not quite sure what course of action can and should be taken against North Korea. The idea of just having to learn to live with a nuclear North Korea doesn’t sound particularly comforting. They are quite literarily a terrorist nation in every respect, and an example of how evil communism can be. One would imagine that if the US (or anyone else) were to attempt a regime change through invasion, that under those conditions North Korea would attempt to deploy their nuclear capabilities in some way. Whether or not they truly have the capacity at this point to do so is almost irrelevant now. The price to pay would be utterly enormous if North Korea were to be able to get a nuclear tipped missile through unintercepted.
The UN and US have already tried various sanctions on North Korea, with little real success. North Korea gains much of its (little) wealth through illegal means (drugs, hacking etc.), and the government has essentially no concern for the suffering of its people. I have to hope that there is some external path that can be undertaken to remove the threat that a nuclear North Korea poses to international relations. Likewise, I have to hope that there is a pathway that would lead to a reform of the political identity and governing ideology of North Korea.
Some have suggested that the ultimate solution to the threat of North Korea (and others) is in more advanced weapons defence systems. Existing systems are largely untested in real-world conditions, leaving a great deal of uncertainty as to whether or not any nation could stop a ballistic missile. This suggestion is not without its strengths, though I feel it has the potential to lead us all down into another never-ending race to develop more and more sophisticated weapons and weapons defence systems.
All arms races are ultimately bottomless pits, wasting money and resources on death rather than life. As the systems get more and more advanced, they naturally become more and more expensive, leading further and further away from the prosperity that we all seek. Upcoming technological advances with quantum computing, AI, nuclear fusion etc. will all lead to the possibility of developing capabilities that have seemed limited to the realm of science fiction. However, if we develop such technology without solving the fundamental flaw in human psychology, then we are heading deeper and deeper down into this bottomless pit, and the potential consequences will only get worse and worse.
Regardless of what happens externally, humanity as a whole needs to cure the ultimate cause of suffering, delusion, insanity and injustice. This we can do right now. Simply discover and live from the place of the true Self, in which there is no hate, no fear, no competition, no scarcity. In the true Self (the Spirit) there is infinite and unconditional love, joy and simple perfection. This is not mere poetry, nor speculation. This can be our unbroken reality.
The behaviour of North Korea is a symptom of complete false identity of a nation as a whole, complete lack of awareness of the Self. Likewise, the same aberration occurs in other nations, but (generally) to a lesser degree, and manifesting in ways that is unique to its environment. From the perspective of the Self, there is compassion for North Korea and all its people; that being not just the civilians who suffer enormously under the tyranny of their government, but also for the people directly involved in their government and military. All are suffering from the effects of egoic delusion. However, having compassion for them does not mean that externally we go soft on them. Rather, it should mean that any action that is taken is driven by wisdom, rather than egoic reaction. Unfortunately, the US is led by a man who is himself also completely consumed with egoic delusion, and who also runs his mouth in a manner completely unfit for a president, using Twitter as his medium of choice.
The paranoia that rules international relations only continues to perpetuate human suffering and injustice, wasting precious resources and funds that could alleviate suffering and allow humanity to invest in education, science, medicine, infrastructure, industry and scientific research and development. The ego drives people, organisations and nations to act as if there is a shortage of resources for which they must compete, under the belief that they can live better (and thus be happier) if they take from others, or stop others from having a share. In reality however, this belief of lack actually creates shortage. In pouring resources into competition, we rob ourselves of our natural abundance. North Korea is the perfect example of this, as almost the entire country is devoted to its military, and they rely on overseas aid (whilst claiming to operate under a philosophy of self-sufficiency) to feed their starving populace.
One can only hope and pray that there is a light at the end of this tunnel, where peace, freedom and sanity prevail. May the leaders of this world be filled with wisdom, clarity and inner peace, and may new solutions emerge that serve the highest interests of all beings. I hope that all beings get to live with true love and peace within their hearts, as I have been so privileged to discover myself.
[i] Though one could perhaps question whether they do truly have the capacity to put a thermonuclear warhead on board their ballistic missiles. Certainly they have basic nuclear weapons at least, but they may possibly be bluffing about their possession of a thermonuclear warhead (otherwise known as a Hydrogen bomb) and/or their ability to fire it from their ballistic missiles. Nevertheless, taking action with the presumption that they are bluffing could have utterly catastrophic results.
[ii] Fortunately there appears to be potential ways in which we can “burn up” such waste in next generation reactors in the future, and hence can reduce or even use up all of such waste that is currently being stored. Unfortunately, large amounts of these isotopes have already been released directly into nature, with barrels of waste being dumped into the ocean, amongst other tragedies.
[iii] Obviously, like most people, I know lots of people that immediately turn for the “false-flag” conspiracy theory in literarily ever single topic of current affairs, blaming everything on a secret ruling elite within our own Western countries. I myself have delved into this field in the past, and am open to the possibilities of some of these theories having some truth to them. However, it is quite clear that the conspiracy world is largely (if not wholly) devoid of the standards of scholarship and journalism that are present in the mainstream. That is, whilst mainstream scholarship and journalism certainly suffers from the biases and trends that affect human beings, it also (to its credit) demands some basic standards of reasoning, cohesiveness and evidence.
The conspiracy world is almost entirely devoid of these same standards. Hence, even if there were some truth to some of these grand conspiracy theories, sorting through the mess of them would be an immense amount of work. Whilst mainstream narratives do show bias, they are generally far more reasonable and cohesive by comparison. Whilst I share many criticisms of the US (and other Western nations), there is no question that North Korea is a danger to us all (and itself).