To the Editor:
When discussing North Korea’s latest threats and actions, you usually hear that leader Kim Jong-Un is simply bluffing.
To the rest of the “civilized world,” it makes sense that some countries just need to calm down and accept their place in the global pecking order. Why would North Korea threaten us when we could cut off their money and food aid or simply obliterate them?
Last year, I had the opportunity to hear Henry Kissinger speak about Asia’s perspective on war.
In America, we view war as a last resort to achieve goals. When round after round of talks, negotiations, and sanctions fail, only then do we resort to military action.
Asia, however, views military action as another negotiation tool essential to gaining leverage against larger opponents; sudden moves and unexpected action can eventually create a favorable political environment where it’s easier to achieve goals. Whereas Westerners view war as a failure of negotiations, Asians consider war a valuable tool to demonstrate invincibility and increase one’s bargaining position.
Thus, it becomes clear how dangerous it is to assume that North Korea is bluffing. While their provocations may seem like certain suicide, remember that they don’t think like us and we cannot afford to ignore them. These unbelievable threats and military movements may, in their mind, be the best bet to guaranteeing continued food aid and ensuring their survival.