By Caroline Hershey
North Korea’s young leader Kim Jong-Un has heightened tensions with South Korea and the United States through repeated nuclear threats and the renunciation of a 60-year-old armistice that has since secured peace on the Korean peninsula.
U.S. officials have confirmed that two missiles have been loaded in North Korea, prompting major debate over the possibility of a nuclear launch and the proper plan of action for the targeted countries.
Kim Jong-Un, speculatively reported to be age 29, is the world’s youngest head of state. Since he took power in December 2011 following the death of his father, Kim Jong-Il, an extreme sense of uncertainty regarding the leader’s motives and mental stability have been the cause for heightened suspicion and unpredictability.
Though anti-American sentiments from North Korea are nothing new, the country’s recent threats are being interpreted as more direct and concerning.
In a recent propaganda video posted by the state’s official government website, Uriminzokkiri, the White House and the U.S. Capitol are shown exploding in a fireball as the narrator says, “Second by second the fuse of a nuclear war is burning. sThere is no limit to the range of our strategic rockets.”
But just how “strategic” and legitimate is North Korea’s technology and nuclear capability?
Some experts argue that the country is years away from having the ability to fire a missile that would reach the mainland of the United States, while others are not willing to take that risk.
In the opinion of Political Science Associate Professor Michele Angrist, “Nuclear attack is a real risk and there is reason to be concerned,” going on to further explain the international security dilemma that could potentially reap unintended consequences.
The possibility of the United States sending ships and troops to Korea and showing force with the intent of self-defense could be misinterpreted as an act of aggression, which could lead to an outbreak of war.
Since the threatening rhetoric has intensified, the United States is rushing to send an advanced missile defense system to Guam as a precaution, and South Korea has deployed war ships to track missiles from the North.
While the Obama administration hopes to calm and prevent the crisis with a policy known as “strategic patience,” the world can only hope that this is just another temper tantrum of crazy North Korean antics.
If a missile were launched at the U.S. or its allies, the regime would be committing suicide.