North Korea

Psychological Warfare

This is an interesting method. It’s one that Trump may go far, but I think he’ll totally misjudge how it’s done. Psychological warfare has been very common in Asia for a very long time. Moreover, it’s been using to enforce rules on its citizens, as well. That often throws us Westerners off because we’re used to seeing physical force. However, there are ways that we can use psychological wafare to slow down North Korea.

For example, Trump has always promised to pay and never delivers. Why not do it again? He can promise humanitarian aid in exchange for a reduction in North Korea’s nuclear program. A reduction seems like a lot less than we’re asking for now so perhaps North Korea would think they are winning by taking this deal. However, we could conduct the transaction to set up accounts, transfer the money, and freeze the account all at the same time. We could also send pallets of cash, as was done with the Iran deal, and but we could insert confetti paper or otherwise nonmonetary items that look like money but are actually small, written notifications that they have one more chance to stop screwing up.

This may seem petty, but psychological warfare is very powerful. They want diplomatic talks. So show them that, no matter what they think, we’re one step ahead of them. If we continue to use conventional military tactics while they use unconventional tactics like influence campaigns and hacks that psychologically manipulating an unsuspecting bystander to click a link they shouldn’t click, then we’re gonna get the same result we’ve always gotten.

Instead, let’s do what they do.

Military Attack

We can attack North Korea. Yes, doing nothing is bad and doing something will hurt us. In fact, China uses engagement and containment, or what I prefer to call a one-step process of entanglement, to ensure that, anything we do will hurt both us and them, if not just us. Given that so much of North Korea is about China, that’s very relevant. So, we attack North Korea, for example, China’s troops on the border of China and North Korea pretending to prevent North Korea immigrants from fleeing to China will defend the North Korean government and do their very best to ensure North Korea is never unified with South Korea unless the peninsula would look the way they want it to look. At the moment, all’s good for China. So they won’t let it change. Therefore, North Korea can do whatever they want because China will publically excoriate them and privately thank them for even attacking Seoul. That said, I think, at the moment, China is a little worried that Kim Jong Un is trying to call the shots, but I don’t think China has much to worry about KJU going so rogue that China can’t threaten him in many, many ways.

However, I do think that anything we do or don’t do will cause a problem in the short-term and long-term, respectively. I think it’s better to forge military partnerships with ASEAN countries and conduct a joint military show of force in the South China Sea. China wouldn’t allow North Korea to respond to that because it would show they are working together, North Korea would fear a weaker China, and China would have to focus more on the South China Sea and less on funding North Korea’s nuclear program.


  1. This is a very well laid out argument and I love that it includes what YOU can do. Sometimes the media put out so much fear mongering crap, that it’s hard to have clear, laid out options on what’s happening.

    I will add two things. First, in regard to the South China Sea. the Philippines are no longer a staunch ally and Duterte has basically said that they don’t care about the island disputes. It’s not so easy to put pressure on China without them. It’s less China vs the world, as now it’s Philippines and China versus the US, Vietnam, Indonesia, et al. That’s not exactly an easily winnable, one-way argument.

    In addition, I think it would be wise to make mention of Vladivostok, the port near North Korea that enables so much of their workers to work abroad. Many of them work in Russia, though I’m not sure “pressure Russia more” is a useful tactic at the moment. I do agree that pressuring European nations with North Korean workers would be immensely helpful. For instance, NATO ally, Poland, has more than a few in the docks, kept under tight wraps.

    Last, I will say that it’s a bit moot point on traveling to North Korea as it’s all but impossible these days if you’re American. Since we must enter the country using tour groups, and every tour group that I know of has barred Americans from signing up as of 2017, I believe the only way into North Korea with a certain blue passport would be to sneak in. Correct, me if I’m wrong.

    Let me know if you agree or disagree on these points!!

    1. Thank you, Mikey, for a great comment. In each one of my articles, I include a section on what we all can do. It’s important to remind people of their power. Moreover, recent ideologies and wars have targeted citizens, economies and civilizations as an alternative to fighting a superior military. Therefore, as targets, we’re as much involved as anyone.

      Duterte has become a softer ally. We have two nationalist leaders in the alliance, but I believe that alliance has the power to strengthen again under new leadership. I will say our ability to pressure China doesn’t hinge on the Philippines, though the broad measures that are necessary need to happen slowly. We need to exit the Chinese economy. The TPP would have been a dramatic benefit for so many Asia-Pacific alliances. Check out my article on the TPP, as well.

      You’re right about Vladivostok. That’s what completes the case that Northeast Asia is such a hotspot. It’s overlooked compared to its potential for danger, which is greater and more concentrated than the Middle East. And yes, pressuring Russia wouldn’t do much, I agree with you completely on that!

      I had planned to go to North Korea to run the Pyongyang Marathon, and the only reason for not going was I was only confident I could complete a half marathon at that point. Then I went to grad school so training for a marathon was out of the question. However, as of 2014, China’s leverage over the United States has allowed North Korea to capture anyone they want with impunity.

      Thanks for a great response. I hope you can encourage more people to follow along as the situation in Northeast Asia continues!

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