North Korea asks diplomats to leave for their own safety
Kim Jong Un's latest antics are straining diplomatic relations even with allies.
The general consensus is that Kim Jong Un is bluffing when he threatens South Korea and the United States with annihilation. Still, his erratic antics are annoying many, including his latest move, asking foreign diplomats to leave the country because of imminent danger.
These antics are just that, antics. North Korea has not taken substantial preparations for war, only superficial ones. For example, their military remains unmobilized, a genuine and expensive first step that is required if a nation is serious about fighting.
The expert consensus is that Kim Jong Un is bluffing, and flexing his muscles for domestic reasons. Kim Jong Un likely feels the need to demonstrate his strength and consolidate power and this is easily done by manufacturing a domestic crisis and making demonstrations, and protestations of strength.
Essentially, the current crisis is Kim Jong Un's homemade Reichstag fire.
The greatest concern is that something inadvertent will occur to push the situation over the brink. With tensions running high, a mistake by one side could result in immediate retaliation by the other, sparking a conflict.
It could be as simple as a trawler straying too far north, or south, or a jet passing too close to nervous defense system operators.
Diplomatically, the North has given the South and its allies, especially the United States and Japan, plenty of casus belli to attack. The North has severed diplomatic ties, sealed its border, and declared the armistice agreement that ended the Korean War "invalid." In addition, the country has "reserved" the right to attack preemptively other countries with nuclear weapons and says it will step up its nuclear weapons development program.
The possibility of a limited, but crippling first strike by the United States does exist, should the current administration decide that Kim Jong Un needs to be crippled militarily. Specific targets would include their nuclear development program.
However, any strike by either side appears incredibly unlikely.
For now, U.S. and allied joint exercises will continue in the region and North Korea will keep up with its antics. It seems understood by both sides that war would benefit none and as long as Kim Jong Un can continue grandstanding for his people while the world rolls its eyes, everything will return to normal within the next couple months.
© 2013, Distributed by NEWS CONSORTIUM.
Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for December 2013
General Intention: Victimized Children. That children who are victims of abandonment or violence may find the love and protection they need.
Missionary Intention: Prepare the Savior's Coming. That Christians, enlightened by the Word incarnate, may prepare humanity for the Savior's coming.
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