The west is horrified at the refusal of the DPRK to halt its nuclear program; the overall success of the country in the face of overwhelming sanctions has proven disturbing to the world who had predicted the country’s collapse “at any moment” for over two decades now. Though it seems this will not be the fate for the Koreans living north of the DMZ–at least not without a fight. They have demonstrated in the face of the conditions in Syria, Libya, and Iraq their understanding of what happens to those who yield to the will of the united states; who take a step back when confronted on the question of full commitment anti-imperialistic self defense. They are, indeed, correct to do this.

The imperialists say they are readying for “war at any moment” and why should they not? “War” (read: Genocide) seems almost inevitable for any country which stands as an obstacle to the west. They never had any illusions about the stance of the united states toward them, and their military program was always one of shoring up the defenses; reinforcing the country. The west seems almost to have deluded itself with the theories of imminent war waged by the DPRK against the South. Though it assumes a lot about the intentions of the Korean people, and furthermore, of their conception of consequence in an imperialist dominated world. No doubt the DPRK’s government has its animosities with the government representing imperialist occupation in the South, however they have expressed no desire for a conflict which would result in common ruin for all Korean people.

Keeping the Goliath at Bay

How do they hope to defeat the united states in the case of an engagement, if that is what they truly aim to do with their nuclearization? In truth their reasoning for nuclearization, as well as all other military preparations which have been made in the past, are most likely from the desire to prevent war; to make the outlook on a military intervention far too costly to consider viable for a majority of the amerikkkan ruling elite. They do not anticipate they will need to defeat the united states in a conventional war to defend their country if they can threaten maximum casualties for their attempt to invade them; extending not only to the u.s. but to japan and other regional threats to their sovereignty.

Nuclearization has, for other countries, been regarded in this same fashion: “if we have the bomb, conventional warfare may not be risked”. The former doctrine of “mutually assured destruction” was the threat that hung over everyone’s heads. This was the strategy of the united states with regards to the Eastern bloc, though in this case it is all of the sudden a threat rather than assurance. Which according to Washington is because the DPRK is governed by “mad men” and depicted commonly even as infants playing with “dangerous toys.” There is undoubtedly a political–in fact, imperialist–agenda surrounding the provocative, and often times racist, language used to describe the situation of nuclear arms and the DPRK.¹

“The child-like races” is all that can come to mind when images of Kim Jong Un are displayed as a child playing with a nuclear arsenal: “they have no idea what they have”. The west is quivering in anger and fear (but mostly anger) as they stew on the fact that the DPRK may now have the tools with which to keep the goliaths at bay. The DPRK is quite aware of what they have; their arsenal is the product of seeing what other countries did not have. They have seen the product of defenselessness in the Arab world, and the Third World as a whole, with the perpetual war and savage destruction of countries by the imperialists which can leverage all forces, including violence, to obtain what they want from the oppressed countries.

In this way the bomb represents freedom. The bomb has the power to obliterate the invaders, it can eliminate thousands in an instant. The aim of the game in this sense is not to hit the united states with it, but to make the threat of its use so potentially costly for the united states that a war would seem unfruitful and disastrous. It is the guerrilla bomb. The bomb that can be used to stand up to the technologically and numerically superior force which has been used countless times to destroy any expression of independence in the Third World. This bomb, much like the guerrilla, is being used to assure a costly war to all imperialists which tempt it. It is a bomb whose intention is to reach amerikkka without ever landing there, its shockwaves will be felt in Washington with the thousands of coffins that will be buried there.  

If war is inevitable in this scenario, it is the full intention of the DPRK to make that decision as costly as is possible for the united states. The national resistance to imperialism will embrace all tools of war which make its success more decisive, and the bomb is how that may happen. It is hoped that it will never come to this, that they will never employ the arsenal they construct and it will function like all others in the world: rusting in their silos, never to be used except in hypothetical. In this way, the fear it evokes can play to their advantage, and can prevent the u.s. marine kkkorps from ever launching the second invasion it has likely spent the past 63 years hoping for. In this way, the thought of tens-of-thousands of dead imperialists is enough to make an invasion a terrifying proposition. Either way, the DPRK has more to leverage with the bomb than they do without it, making disarmament a losing situation.

The Key to the Future

It is not as if they could not win without the bomb, the viciousness of the national resistance forces that would clash with the occupation of the country by the united states would result in mutual loss, but eventual victory for the anti-imperialist efforts. However, this element is key to the struggle, the fact that they possess a weapon which turns the thought of an invasion from “impractical” to “nearly impossible” gives the North Korean people the peace of mind they need to live their lives. The decisive struggle may be avoided, at least in the bloody form which it takes in the event of an armed intervention. In Iraq and Afghanistan the decisive national struggles that went on totaled the lives of over 1 million people just post-invasion. The devastation of the DPRK, for which the last war was nearly total, is something that of course must be avoided if possible, so who can blame them for taking every possible route to assure the security of their country?

To anticipate that a people must not take all steps available to them to defend against the threat of genocide is absurd; it is reactionary. The first world with all its tools has already laid the DPRK under siege, through economic blockades and forced starvation, they had hoped to break their will and their economy through a protracted war of commodities. If this had worked they would not need to consider a military operation to secure the region and its resources, but it has not. The DPRK has resisted the economic warfare waged against them, and to the west’s dismay is as stable as it has ever been.

The economic sanctions against them, used to block the trade of items which could prove useful in militarisation (such as medical equipment, medicines, food, and other “dangerous” supplies) has proven unable to destabilize the country as hoped.² So now it would appear that a military option, a combined threat of economic and actual warfare may be an option. Perhaps not with China’s assurance to maintain its own interests in the region, (although they never seemed to hesitate in the signing of sanctions or condemnations against the DPRK) however it the threat of invasion if China were to ever “lose interest” in them as a strategic position is a looming one.³ If they cannot provide for an option of independent defense, in which every independent and besieged country is entitled, then they remain vulnerable to the future.

In other words: the west can do nothing to the DPRK for the development of their weapons program that has not already been done. They have no reason not to pursue one, and every reason to desire assurance for the future that they will not be made subject to the same conditions to the others who have fallen victim to the hawks in Washington. The left should not waver from the side of the oppressed people in their stance against the imperialists, we know what happens to those who are made vulnerable by international pressures. This is not a matter of choosing the most delightful road, but of aligning ourselves with a besieged people have chosen their own path free of western domination. The DPRK, as all countries are and are entitled to, is striving for survival; to be assured that tomorrow will hold some promise for them. This is our duty as communists and anti-imperialists, our solidarity with the DPRK against imperialist aggression is our responsibility.

  1. Baby Kim Jong Un plays with toys on ‘The New Yorker’ cover

2. Sanctions have failed to stop North Korea’s nuclear programme, says UN panel

3. Russia, China And U.S. Condemn North Korea’s Nuclear Test Claims

Join the conversation! 8 Comments

  1. The bomb represents freedom? DPRK = freedom in your minds? You are talking about a government that is so rigidly set up to promote cisheteropatriarchy that the very notion of homosexuality or queerness is reportedly non-existent in the population. The cisheteropatriarchy is so successful there in rigidly controlling gender that it has virtually erased gender outlaws. This is what happens when a genocide is successful, the victim is no longer even seen. They simply never were. As a transwoman, I am very disappointed and did not expect this.

    • It is not a representation of the DPRK as “freedom” the bomb represents their freedom in that it represents their freedom from the yoke of imperialism and the threat of invasion and subsequent genocide. It really is no matter their internal policy from this perspective because that’s not the object of this article, it is not an analysis of the DPRK’s society or their values. I do not believe the DPRK is socialist, personally. However I don’t think they are deserving of the same fate as Iraq or Afghanistan, or perhaps Libya or Syria as well, simply because they do not have the capacity to defend themselves. That is what I mean when I say freedom, it is their freedom from the encroachment of imperialist forces. Not having this bomb means that they are at the mercy of China’s foreign policy, which at any moment could prove no longer substantial to defend them from the west, which the Chinese only do insofar as it benefits them at this point.

  2. […] denuclearize, then all would be resolved. However, as has been discussed in a previous article “The People’s Bomb” those with their hopes on disarmament ought not hold their breath. The DPRK has a dwindling number […]

  3. […] in his mind, far too many leniencies toward the country on the matter. Rather than their continuous development of a defensive arsenal, it appears that it is the crisis of amerikan empire that is the motivating factor. Amerika in 2002 […]

  4. […] Reasons for the DPRK’s nuclear programme […]

  5. […] On North Korean Nuclearization […]


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