When Korea was split after the end of World War II, North Korea began pursuing a very aggressive stance against its neighbor to the south. Over the years, the only thing that has stopped North Korea from following through with force is the threat of massive retaliation and total annihilation. The United States has also taken steps to protect its ally by stationing troops in South Korea.
“It shows the United States commitment if North Korea attacks South Korea or Japan,” said political science professor, Dr. Malcolm Koch. “It’s not something that we can walk away from… we are a player.”
As of Sept. 3, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has a new card to play at the table: a functional nuclear weapon. According to Politico, the Supreme Leader has also been seen inspecting a hydrogen bomb this week. In the wake of this discovery, relations with North Korea have changed for the United States and many other countries.
“The relationship with North Korea that we have is so unlike any other country that the typical rules don’t apply,” said professor of political science, Dr. Chris Baxter. “In reality we knew this day would come sooner or later. We knew that North Korea had every incentive to try to develop nuclear weapons. Somebody with the mindset of the regime of North Korea, they have double the reason that any average country would.”
Called the last battleground of the Cold War, the Korean Peninsula has generated serious debate within the United States. While the situation has changed in terms of severity, the U.S. stance on North Korea has changed little in terms of diplomacy. U.S. cabinet members are still open to a diplomatic solution, however President Trump recently tweeted, “Talking is not the answer.”
“I’m not convinced that the administration has taken a firm stand against diplomacy,” Koch said. “Does that mean that the diplomatic solution is easy? No! It is extremely difficult or it would have been resolved years ago.”