Kim Jong-un is not mad. Quite the contrary. He has pulled off a wholly rational feat. By producing nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles capable of delivering them to U.S. territory, Pyongyang has obtained near-assurance that the U.S. will not attack it, in (yet another) attempt at regime change.
Wait, you’ll say. He already had that insurance. Every talking head on cable news says a U.S. strike would inevitably mean an attack on Seoul, which would kill tens of thousands immediately. South Koreans would blame the invasion on the U.S. So it’s just not tenable. Even if limited to conventional forces, the threat of invasion already constituted adequate deterrence. There’s no way the U.S. would trigger an attack on a city of 10 million people who are supposed to view the U.S. as their benevolent protector. So the North Koreans didn’t need to upset the world by acquiring nukes.
But think about it from Jong-un’s point of view.
Born in 1984, Jong-un was 7 when the U.S. first bombed Iraq, supposedly to force its troops out of Kuwait (although Saddam Hussein had already agreed to withdraw). Then the U.S. imposed sanctions on the country that killed half a million children.
He was 11 when the U.S. intervened in Yugoslavia, bombing Serbs to create the dysfunctional client state of Bosnia-Herzegovina.
He was 15 (probably in school in Switzerland) when the U.S. bombed Serbia and created the dysfunctional client state of Kosovo.
He was 17…