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Last updateWed, 25 Jul 2018 12am







    Monday, July 23, 2018-9:42:25A.M.






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BC’s Tales of the Pacific: Guam need not fear North Korea

THE announcement by Kim Jong-un that he intends to launch missiles toward Guam has sent the region into a panic.

Local authorities on Guam have issued instructions including what to do in the event of a nuclear attack, such as not looking directly at the fireball, getting indoors in the event of a blast, and so on. This is unnecessary panic-mongering. I can only assume that, in the event the worst happens, authorities don’t want to be accused of ignoring the threat. Surely they don’t think this will happen. There is no way that North Korea will launch nuclear weapons at Guam. Here is why.

Kim Jong-un has every reason to possess nuclear weapons. This is a very select club of nations in the world. The number of countries that possesses nuclear weapons is less than ten. It is the ultimate distinction between haves and have-nots. Any political leader that aspires to be significant on the world stage would seek to own nuclear weapons. It is the ultimate Italian sports car. You don’t actually drive it, it just sits in the climate-controlled garage for others to gaze at. Then in conversation you say things like, “Have you seen my Lamborghini?” Or in Kim’s case, “You know I have nukes, right?”

Kim Jong-un is the leader of a small, poor, backward country that has no prospects of changing its status. They have little in the way of natural resources or technology. The fastest, perhaps only way to rise from the heap of developing nations is by getting nuclear weapons. It means instant promotion to a country that matters. Hasn’t Kim already done that? Look at how much news coverage North Korea gets. Can any other poor country claim as much attention as North Korea has gotten lately? How much have you read about Nicaragua in the last ten years? How about headlines featuring the leader of Kenya? Kim’s face constantly appears on front pages of papers around the world, more than Putin’s. Nukes did this for him and he knows it.

So perhaps it is time to stop calling Kim crazy or a madman. His decision-making until now has been quite rational given his circumstances. He is a gambler, a risk taker. That does not make him insane. Besides, so far he has won every time he rolled that dice. Sanctions? Kim is laughing at U.N. sanctions. That only draws his people closer together in a siege mentality. The more the outside world squeezes, the more Kim can demand absolute loyalty to the regime to meet the crisis.

Kim Jon-un has every reason not to use nuclear weapons. Now Kim has nuclear weapons and the means to deliver them. Breathe easily Japan, South Korea, Guam and America. North Korea possesses a small handful of bombs, probably less than five. The United States has thousands. If you held five rocks in your hands would you start throwing at someone with a dump truck full of rocks?

I heard a newscaster the other night warning that now the North Koreans could shoot a nuclear missile at Dutch Harbor, Alaska. Are you kidding me! Why on earth would anyone annihilate Dutch Harbor? What a total waste of a nuclear weapon! They should get rid of that announcer and the person who wrote the story on the grounds of simple mindedness. Now who is the madman?

Kim Jong-un wants to be a world leader of significance. Having nuclear weapons gives him that, while using nuclear weapons does not. Using them would make him a global outcast pitted against forces he could not hope to deal with. Using nuclear weapons would guarantee the destruction of his country, no matter what damage he did to others. Destroying Guam in exchange for losing your entire country? That is not just a bad idea, it is a hopelessly horrible idea. Once you abandon the notion that Kim is crazy you will understand his actions and know that Guam is perfectly safe from nuclear attack. The only fireball in the sky will be the one that gives you sunburn.

BC Cook, PhD lived on Saipan and has taught history for 20 years. He travels the Pacific but currently resides on the mainland U.S.