North Korea and the end of the world

Note on how to cite this journal:

Author, Date of the post, WMO Conflict Insight, Title of the post,  ISSN: 2628-6998, https://worldmediation.org/conflict-insight 

Would an international application of empathy forestall an early Armageddon?

Who benefits from keeping Korea divided?

Summary:

An overview of the history, followed by an emphasis on tools to counter Armageddon, contrasted with expert analysis, embedded with the news brought to a conclusion.

History

It may be beneficial to look at the background as portrayed in the history books for instance online in the ‘Encyclopædia Britannica’ where we can see a narrative pattern emerge:[1]

As people may know the Korean’s themselves did not choose to divide their country. After a period of weak domestic rule with added external pressures, the country became a biting-bone between Japan and China which had a tense relationship. The Japanese entered Korea to the dismay of the Chinese who had viewed Korea as a client state and increased their presence. Soon tensions came to a clash in the First Sino-Japanese war 1894-1895 were from Japan emerged as a world power that had shown forth the weakness of the Chinese Empire. Just previously Korea is viewed as having been a state in a completely subordinate position to China.  After the First Sino-Japanese War, Korea was meant to become independent, while the country rather became subordinate to Japan; as signified by the Korea-Japan treaty of 1905. The tensions between China and Japan getting Korea stuck in the middle again escalated after the Japanese progression of 1931 into ‘Manchuria’; a place considered by the Chinese to be part of their country. Further tensions rose with a military class in 1937 where fighting broke out that lead to battles between China and Japan that then merged with World War II. After the World War with the surrender of Japan; Korea ended up being divided between the Soviet Union and the United States.
  • “General Order No. 1, drafted on August 11 by the United States for Japanese surrender terms in Korea, provided for Japanese forces north of latitude 38° N (the 38th parallel) to surrender to the Soviets and those south of that line to the Americans. Stalin did not object to the contents of the order, and on September 8. American troops landed in southern Korea, almost a month after the first Soviet entry. On the following day the United States received the Japanese surrender in Seoul. There were now two zones—northern and southern—for the Soviets had already begun to seal off the 38th parallel.“[2]

 

The Soviets had soon brought with them some “expatriate Koreans” putting them into positions of power in the becoming “North Korea” to create a “communist” state.[3] Then introducing Kim II Sung as “a hero to rule” or their intended puppet ruler.[4] Whilst south of the border the U.S. undertook its favorite experiment of “democratic-capitalism”[5].

The U.N.

The United Nations took action in 1947 by declaring that elections should be held for the whole country of Korea and that the U.N. would oversee the process for fairness. In 1948 North and South were officially separate states where elections had been held in the South overseen by the U.N. while the Soviets did not let the U.N. observe an election process in the North. [6] Both the rulers of the South and North claimed the whole country. Upon an invasion from the North to the South, the U.N. Security Council meet in absentia of Russia and swiftly decided on a conglomerate military action against the invasion forces; 16 member states were to provide troops under U.S. leadership. This U.N. military action applied just barely managed to push the invasion forces back North – the American and U.S. commander then decided to pursue the aggressors back over the 38th parallel. This resulted in Chinese military intervention for the support of the Northern forces, re-attacking and pushing the U.N.-U.S. forces back into the South. From there on the fighting just got nastier.

Stalin

Until Stalin’s death in 1953 North Korea was kept under strong Soviet influence[7]. The Korean war started just previously to Stalin’s death in 1951 by the north’s invasion into the south. The war may be viewed, as judging from sources the U.S. did[8], as a proxy war between first the Soviet Union and the U.S. and then quite soon also China (that had seen the emergence of the “Revolutionary Communist Government” in 1949) and the U.S. with back up from the United Nations.

Stalin’s successors did not have the same interest in the area leading to North Korea maintaining its own version of Stalinism after Stalin’s death and seeking ever more comfort in its China relations.

How did the fighting cease?

The conflict ceased in 1953 with the creation of a “demilitarized zone” to partition the country and no official peace contract. This can be viewed as a failure in terms of any ideas or hopes of the time for uniting the country. The division of the country was by American suggestion and Soviet acceptance: Korea was to be divided and under the joint administration of several other countries (possibly USSR, USA, China, and Great Britain) then: “in due course, Korea will become free and independent.”[9]

It was so that the U.S. army was especially ill-equipped for the Korean war and seems along with bombing the whole country into a mess have dealt very badly with the situation: “The truly pathetic thing is, never have the troops sent into battle been more understrength, undertrained, underequipped and under-mentally prepared than we were in Korea“.[10]“The price we paid was ghastly casualties”.[11]

A report from the U.S. Army Heritage and Education Center describes the historical context and situation of the U.S. military before and during the war. Explaining and defining the U.S. unpreparedness.[12]One of the reasons for the lack of preparedness of the U.S. was a complete intelligence failure, the CIA had not to be allowed access and China’s possibility for action was completely underestimated.[13] Whilst it is comprehensible that the U.S. viewed the north to south invasion as an invasion into their territory to be acted against, the U.S. decision-makers were not at the time in tune with the actualities of their situation.

In view of history, it is possible that the Chinese have looked upon Korea as a territory necessarily controlled to secure the Chinese borders similarly to the position of Tibet. Explaining in an approximate way what is easily visible from any world map; Korea is what closes the bay of the Yellow Sea opposite of Shanghai and Qingdao, Yantai and Dalian. It is worth pointing out that the Korean people have a history, culture, and language of their own and as a nation, they have suffered the role of being ‘caught between’.

Cases in point for analogical comparisons

It is well known that the U.S. acquired Alaska from Russia and that in WWII the strategic importance of Alaska was recognized regarding possible threats. While before WWII gold was found and Alaska started to be recognized for natural resources[14]. How would the U.S. government in an alternative reality consider things if the Chinese controlled half of Florida? Let’s say after a civil war involving the Spanish army. Or if half of Florida had a mutual defense treaty with China and the state was divided in the middle with a “demilitarized zone”? This indirectly paints a picture of how the Chinese authorities may have been thinking at times as when they initiated involvement in the Korean war. The indigenous people of Alaska had little to say about the ownership transfer of Alaska from Russia to the USA in 1867, similarly, Koreans had little to say about how their country was divided.  It has been stated by scholars and others that China could not continence Western troops close to their Yalu river border at the time of the Korean War[15] – why should it now?

Still currently or as late as in 2019 South Korea is the home of at least “twenty-nine thousand U.S. troops and marines“[16].

The hurts of war

The Korean war is a stain on human history with endless horrors[17]. Things might have been different had the U.S. better understood what it was undertaking, when at the time its decision-makers were feeling that “the Kremlin sought “to impose its absolute authority over the rest of the world.”[18] The Cold War was ongoing and was not surly not cold to the Koreans, an onslaught from the North to the South Korean client state of America meant an attack of Communism[19].

This paper

Currently, as all those who pay attention to geopolitical issues know, North Korea has been producing nuclear weapons with more serious results than most would have suspected would happen so quickly. The Chinese neighbors, as well as the nation of South Korea with the international community, are seriously on alert regarding possible war or nuclear use.

The scope of this paper is to reflect on the situation and suggest avenues of possible action regarding it. It will be shown that war is a public health issue just as defined by WHO (The World Health Organization) [23]  and just as violence in neighborhoods is.  It will be importantly drawn forth that empathy as a part of serious diplomacy when sincerely applied is a very potent instrument. This is done by connecting the discussion with the ‘Cure Violence Method’, ‘Non-Violent Communication’, ‘Transformative Justice’ and the serious analysis of war experts and foreign policy experts pointing in the same direction as well as highlighting the classical professional analysis that points to the many possibilities of destruction.

When people in nations are hurt they are more likely to engage in war[20].

A British Medical Journal article maintains thatthe roots of war lie in poverty: political, economic, and social inequalities whereby individuals or groups are motivated to fight to seek redress.“[21] Correspondingly the American medical doctor Gary Slutkin has made the remarkable discovery that violence behaves like a contagious disease:

A good overview of the doctors work on the subject is found on the web of the U.S. National Center for Biotechnology Information: “In the case of violence, we are looking at a process clearly mediated by the brain, with transmission appearing to come from at least two possible pathways: visual observation (o) and direct victimization (v).“[22]

Hereby the author of this paper suggests that the doctor’s findings are fully applicable to war as the methodology in his system called ‘The Cure Violence Method’ of “interrupting transmission, preventing the future spread and changing group norms” along with other factors fully applies. Further, the World Health Organization defines war as one of the forms of “collective violence”[23].  Hence war and potential war is an extremely serious public health issue; especially in light of nuclear, chemical and other such weapons of mass devastation.

All the three factors highlighted by Gary Slutkin regarding interrupting the epidemic transmission of violence are currently on the mind of policymakers and analysts who see the current day possibility of war in Korea in terms of “opening the gates of Hell”[24], and as seen later in this article as a realistic ‘Doomsday’ scenario, even though they usually use other terms than those focused on public health.

War cascades and multiplies casualties and damage

The problem with analysis on war is that most of the people involved may think overly much in terms of weapons and war which may preclude the creative solutions needed to the very issues of weapons and war. This can be seen from various materials cited in the very article you are now reading. It is worth reminding the reader of how violence has an immense propensity for a cascade or multiplication as explained in the newest forms of predictive statistical research. See for instance the article “A computational science approach to understanding human conflict” by Restrepo et al. published in February 2020 wherein its authors state their hope for the computational science to be a deterrent for initiating military action, as can be understood to be because of the very cascade which can grow in powers based on the casualties in events and strings of events.[25]

Stopping the cascade – how to avoid Armageddon?

‘The Cure Violence Method’ begins by analyzing the clusters involved and transmission dynamics, and uses several new categories of disease control workers—including violence interrupters, outreach behavior change agents, and community coordinators—to interrupt transmission (or the contagion) to stop the spread of the violence/disease and to change underlying norms.“[26]

In the case of nations, violence interrupters can be professional diplomats and mediators, behavior change agents can be those who can trough trade and culture address cultural narratives and position, and community coordinators have to be those who can be respected on equal footing by those who could initiate war or the use of nuclear.

Regarding the threat of nuclear war, the momentous importance of disciplines like diplomacy comes quickly to mind.

It is also worth mentioning how interconnected the world has become and that we are not isolated from what happens in Korea. This is a very serious foreign policy issue for all nations.

Non-violent communication (NVC) as a means of stopping forestalling Armageddon?

Non-violent communication is a powerful tool for mediation in personal conflicts. Its main premise is that empathy; as it relates to feelings and needs, such as for safety, brings connection and release of hurt[27]. That empathy then is crucial in allowing for moving on with relationships and finding ways of fulfilling mutual needs for greater well-being in relations[28]. NVC points to that it is important to connect with empathy to the suffering that has been, as a first step that cannot be glossed over, to be able to move forward to a more hopeful future.

Given that what NVC shows forth holds true perhaps it is necessary that the international community along with the U.S. muster up the courage to acknowledge the hurts suffered by firstly North Korea. This is most importantly so as North Korea is the issue at hand. Secondly, in applying empathy as a diplomatic tool then also the hurts suffered by South Korea and the U.N. involved parties have to be acknowledged including the hurts of the U.S. military that came very ill prepared[29]into the conflict of the Korean war. This can be done through differing framework and mutual as determined necessary and conductive by those involved while some of this also has to be done publicly for the needed recognition.

North Korea has become isolated from the international community, and from modern cultural norms. All this isolation can cause and does cause various pains and does add on to pains caused by the Korean war. Scholars and others have shown further hurts as when researching and writing about “Stalin like cultural purge” the regime of North Korea imposed after the war[30]which has caused great suffering.  Economic sanctions also continue to create hurt.

Applying ‘The Cure Violence Method’ thinking and NVC thinking to the issue of North Korea

Can the aim be that North Korea now isolated from the community of nations can receive true empathy?

In order to bring discussions on a future with a realistic likelihood of peace and more open trade.

With the aim of reintegration of the nation in international relations or at minimum forestalling imminent dangers.

Therein NVC thinking would be a means of stopping the transmission of violence, that may be lurking as a danger similar to unaddressed serious bacteria and a step in “The Cure Violence Method” applied on a global scale in international relations. Thus helping to change group norms on a global scale.

Examples of such solutions do they exist? Can they be realistically applied?

Such methodologies and efforts have taken place with what is considered a success in light of how monumentally difficult such a task may seem. The difficulty may be worth the endeavor considering the threats and potentials for a cascade of violence. Such a full-scale effort may need to be initiated in smaller steps.

The immediate threat is:  Any type of a possible Armageddon

The current situation with North Korea being hurt and developing ever more long-reaching and potent nuclear weapons gives monumental tactical and strategic difficulties for other nations in dealing with the circumstances. Professional strategists involved with military and other national affairs very solemnly and seriously think in terms of a potential Armageddon.

A June 2018 article in The National Interest was titled: “Armageddon, Here is What Happens if North Korea Hit Seoul with a Nuclear Weapon”[31], an article in Foreign Policy published the year before had been named “Armageddon by Accident”[32]. The thing is that these articles are already old news. The more current information strongly suggests that North Koreans may have developed nuclear weapons that might reach as far as New York[33]. As early as 2017 it became news that Canadians were thinking that such a missile might miss a target and end up in Canada.[34] The Canadian government has tried by diplomatic means to express serious concerns to the North Korean authorities.[35]

“World is “sleepwalking its way through a newly unstable nuclear landscape”- “Doomsday clock moves closer than ever to midnight” [36].

If scaring people with weapons corners them in and we are closer to doomsday than before according to the ‘experts’ – what about expertly applying compassion?!

So what about showing compassion if the arms races haven’t been working and war is not an option? Might compassion be a feasible option in light of the risks? In interpersonal dynamics, empathy has really worked as cited in this paper[37]. Also, direct intervention has worked based on looking at violence as done with  ‘The Cure Violence Method’ and herein we argue it is worth looking at war as a human health issue and treat it with diplomatic means aligned with ‘The Cure Violence Method’.  Further examples are found in the discipline of diplomacy, one example that has been repeatedly cited is regarding the Cuba Missile Crisis when “J.F.K’S imaginative diplomacy saved the planet”[38].

Realistic solutions!

How then have ‘empathy type’ interventions (intervention as in the ‘Cure Violence Method’) worked in the past to avert more violence? And importantly to build a narrative of a hopeful future?

Prime examples are the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of South Africa – deemed to have contributed positively in spite of any shortcomings: See for instance; Gibson, “The Truth about Truth and Reconciliation in South Africa”, published in the International Political Science Review in 2005.[39] Another example is the truth commission of Argentina that preceded the South African one by eleven years. It was named the “National Commission on the Disappeared” and set the precedent in many ways internationally[40] regarding drawing forth, for instance, public truth instead of secrecy, collecting necessary legal evidence, and creating a narrative of hope for a viable future.

Drawing forth truth has a lot to do with providing empathy as defined in NVC as discussed above. Collecting necessary legal evidence has to do with deciding how to act towards a new future – in light of that it is very important to note the global discussion on for example punitive and restorative justice[41], or retributive vs. restorative justice[42].

It is maybe not likely that the North Korean regime would be willing to apply swift major structural changes and apply itself to a process of ‘Transformative Justice’ or similar to “Truth-Commissions”.

It is maybe not likely either that the U.S. would participate in such a thing.

Or? Is there a possibility there?

Does the work have to be structured in the same ways as in South Africa or Argentina?

The work in those countries can serve as an inspiration and an example of principles at work rather than as a strictly structured frame. In such a way a narrative of hope for a viable future is constructed.

Does punishment, violence or war work to “correct” behavior?

The efficacy of empathy and compassion is also connected to a discussion on why punishment or violence does not work to “correct behavior”[43].  This even goes so far as to include that “deterrence theory [which] suggests that threats of punishment or actually experiencing punishment should reduce the likelihood of reoffending“ does not work regarding crime and punishment[44]! Why should we then trust it will really work for us in the long run regarding nations and nuclear weapons? Do people have the potentiality of becoming more desperate with more ongoing suffering?

In fact ”punishment does not mitigate neurocognitive impairment or the effects of trauma and exposure to poverty“[45]. War has been shown to increase various forms of mental disorder.[46] Indicating strongly that war does not better human behavior in any general sense.[47] There is an increased ongoing cross-disciplinary look into what relates to war and psychology pointing in the same direction[48].

People that have encountered violence historically have suffered feelings that may be on the spectrum from “apprehension-fear-terror, or annoyance-anger-rage“and decisions regarding war have emotional components and not only logical ones[49]. People have at times historically responded to violence with hate and or revenge. Vendettas with various forms of hatred as blood feuds still exist today even though they are hopefully in a disappearing stage. Yet stories from Albania[50] and Azerbaijan[51] provoke thought and show in a minuscule how communities, clans/tribes or families can behave. Such blood feuds have existed in many places on the globe including Greenland, where the introduction of Christianity changed the social outlook upon the practice and the stories of society, making revenge considered less viable as an option[52].  Perhaps such cultural interventions that are labeled ´changing group norms´ in ‘The Cure Violence Method’ are exactly the way to go. Introducing empathy and care into interactions can shift the narrative towards a more hopeful future.

What might the relevance of the shift from blood feuds internationally be to the behavior of nations regarding war? 

Creating a venue were a narrative of hope can be created instead of a narrative of enemies is imperative for a workable future. People and nations need help to move on from the past hurts when they have not been fully recognized through empathy. Then empathy as an honest instrument has to be applied as a first step, to open up to the reality of what has happened in discussion (as seen from NVC parameters). If empathy is not given the hurt may escape the human neurological system by being shared through violence which leads to further tensions and fear. When peoples and nations pain is not empathized with it amounts to a lack of connection and is a type of rejection. Rejection may form part of social isolation and can lead to violence. [53] Currently North Korea is in a state of such isolation; which is a state of pain.

Instruments

There may exist many different instruments related to diplomacy and communication as the “Truth Commissions” that apply a type of empathy for the restoration of nations and is part and parcel of what has come to be known as “transitional justice”[54].

The questions that come up are for instance:

“What is the best way to transition to a future healthy society after a war as the Korean War also in light of current nuclear threats?

What type of reckoning is necessary so that nations and individuals can “come to terms with their past” and do not engage in revenge or desperate acts?

What strategies of transition are available and necessary for a more healthy future?

These questions have to do with a wider discussion and reality of restorative justice – which is the specific practice of bringing people together to address their hurts, and amend harm so it is possible to build a sustainable future.[55]

Have such practices really worked? – Yes, they have.

Such practices have been considered helpful all over the world albeit they have been used with varying commitment and results. Still some of the results have been quite startling and monumentally useful. For one type of an overview see a report cited here in the endnotes with references from the International Center for Transitional Justice.[56] It is important that there is true political will and commitment from stakeholders to such a process for it to really allow for transition[57].

REALLY HOW HURT IS NORTH KOREA?

U.S. officials have now acknowledged that their military had implemented orders of shooting upon civilian refugees in the Korean war as there was fear regarding “disguised North Korean enemy troops, […] deliberately attacking noncombatants is a war crime, [] more than a dozen documents [were found] in which high-ranking U.S. officers tell troops that refugees are “fair game”.[58]

An Asia-Pacific Journal Article named “The Destruction and Reconstruction of North Korea, 1950 – 1960” further shows the massive and devastating effects of the war efforts on the part of Korea north of the 38th parallel; including severe famine as all economic factors of production were destroyed with more. [59]

„The US Air Force estimated that North Korea’s destruction was proportionately greater than that of Japan in the Second World War […] The act which inflicted the greatest loss of civilian life in the Korean War by far, one which the North Koreans have claimed ever since was America’s greatest war crime, was the aerial bombardment of North Korean population centers.“[60]

“According to DPRK figures, the war destroyed some 8,700 factories, 5,000 schools, 1,000 hospitals, and 600,000 homes“[61]

Korea as a whole had also suffered 35 years of Japanese occupation until the end of WWII with forced deportations and suppression of Korean culture.[62] While in comparison to that occupation, the horrors of the Korean war were much more seriously devastating for the Korean people.

After the war in the late 1950s in North Korea then there was the mentioned reminiscence of the Great Purge in Stalin’s Russia where the regime of North Korea destroyed potential opposition to a new monolithic regime. These “purges” have also caused suffering for those involved.[63]

North Koreans have invested in keeping the memories of the extensive hurts they country suffered in the Korean war alive.[64]While the U.S. have rather seemingly aimed at forgetting the war as seen by a New York Times article named “Korean War a ‘Forgotten’ Conflict that Shaped The Modern World”.[65]

Foreign policy

New thinking in the foreign policy of nations is necessary because of increased interconnectedness, burning issues and to forestall an early Armageddon.

A recent article in Foreign Policy Magazine addresses this strongly; based on a U.S. perspective. The title is “America Needs a New Economic Philosophy. Foreign Policy Experts Can Help”[66]. The article describes how priorities that are no longer applicable are destructive to many people as when ‘authoritarian capitalism’ undermines ‘market democracy’.

The article is very interesting and worth a read. It maintains that a strategy is needed vs. a free-floating market idea to be abandoned as that turns into ‘authoritarian capitalism’ and thus argues for a state role indirectly. It criticizes what has sometimes been imperfectly labeled ‘neoliberalism’ as a failure, especially in light of the competition China has been generating for the U.S. in recent decades. It states that the U.S. need to “rethink how the economy operates, the goals it should serve, and how it should be restructured to serve those goals – and this is a geopolitical imperative as well as an economic one”. It further points to a need to advocate an industrial policy which for a long time was considered embarrassing. All of this relates to international relations of nations and possible wars although the article does not mention them but mentions global warming as an imperative. Yet, the article is important as it clearly shows that things are really changing and in need of change regarding geopolitics which touches directly on issues of economics and indirectly those of war.

China

It is easy to see that North Korea survives in light of famines and well known severe international trade sanctions which are in place because of its China relation by looking at the 2018 trade and fromer trade history.

“North Korea’s Foreign Trade Trend in 2018”, the country’s trade reliance on its communist neighbor reached a record high last year. It said China accounted for 95.8 percent of the total foreign trade in  North Korea  in 2018 – up by 1 percentage point from the previous year – with 80.2 percent of exports and 97.2 percent of imports.“[67]

“Since the fall of the USSR China has become North Korea’s only ally internationally”.[68] Yet, the “China-North Korea” relation is not without tension.  China has had border disputes with North Korea for a very long time.[69] The countries have a deep history with varying power dynamics through different periods. Currently, it is maintained that the relationship is very crucial for North Korea although the North Korean regime does not want to consider itself in a subordinate position to China.[70]

“North Korea, in turn, has served as a strategic buffer for China, keeping the United States and its allies at arm’s length. Pyongyang’s nuclear ambitions have, at various times, been both an asset and a burden for Beijing, threatening regional stability but also providing China with an important source of leverage in its dealings with the United States.“[71]

China has approached North Korea for better trade and transfer initiatives. A most notable project is the building of a new bridge over the Yalu river with associated infrastructure investments that started in 2011 and then came to an abrupt stop in 2014 only recently to have been ignited again, most likely the stop was due to the actions or non-actions of the North Korean regime[72].  The North Koreans have shown themselves again in 2019 to be open to the infrastructural investments of the Chinese in their country – even explicitly requesting them[73].

China’s fear regarding North Korean nuclear

Perhaps most importantly China is not immune from possible rogue actions of North Korea. This is a real threat to China especially in light of nuclear use and a potential war on the Korean peninsula because of the current North Korean focus on nuclear armament. China has supported trade sanctions against North Korea because of the issue although more in word than action and has recently talked for the UN easing the sanctions[74].

Any accidents regarding nuclear or intentional use can be disastrous for China:

“Some Chinese scientists said the risk of an implosion at the site was greater than ever and China would be covered in radioactive fallout if such a failure were to happen.“[75]

The U.S. – China relation

The U.S. and China are connected by massive debt and trade.[76]

Can it be that “Beijing fears a scenario where Pyongyang could be used against it by Washington, shifting the power dynamic at its expense“.[77] It is very hard to see how a war in Korea that might draw in both the U.S and China could benefit either party – if it would cause massive death and potentially even more so a potential Armageddon as cited above. Lets rather keep the article form Foreign Policy in mind and understand that the U.S. are changing and need changed imperatives in the intersection of geopolitics and economics. The countries are playing out their aggressions in a ‘trade-war’ and most likely have no longing to undermine harmony by initiating any proxy or actual wars[78].  It is sufficient to point to the talk of a potential war in Korea or use of Korean nuclear weapons as a ‘doomsday’ scenario to make people understand that any war efforts between the U.S. and China would be so doubled. A more pleasant scenario to think of is that China and the U.S. would compete to directly and indirectly open North Korea up to foreign aid, trade, and other more healthy influences.

The Current situation – drawing in the perspectives for a conclusion

In North Korea, there is still a lot of hurt expressed regarding the tolls of the war. The country has produced and maintains nuclear weapons those can be seen both as a desperate cry for having a voice internationally and also as from the North Korean standpoint the only means as having a deterrent to a situation as has happened most recently in Syria for example.

It is quite logical to assume that the Pyongyang regime is completely aware that for it to use nuclear weapons would be initiating an Armageddon scenario. It is more likely that the regime is hoping to be recognized as a nuclear power similar to the situation of nations as Pakistan and India. That rhetoric is explained in an article published in the Atlantic named “North Korea Wants to End Up like Pakistan, not Libya”. In 2011 the U.S. initiated military action in Libya after Libya had been through denuclearization. Similarly, Iraq had suffered U.S. military invasion/intervention after allowed weapons inspectors into the country regarding “weapons of mass destruction”. In fact, the nations that have been deemed a danger to U.S. interests have feared the whims and incalculability of the actions of Washington[79] which seems to be one of the most aggressive military actors on foreign soil on the globe.[80]  This is shown for instance in a Washington Post article named “The Infinity War” stating “We say we are a peaceful nation. Why do our leaders always keep us at war?”[81]. The article is written in December 2019 and shows forth that it is completely untenable anymore for the U.S. to claim to be solely a force for peace in the world. The article ends by stating that if the U.S. was a credible force for peace the country had no problem in finding partners far and wide.

“It could make clear that while spreading democracy or human rights remains worthwhile, values cannot come at the point of a gun or serve as a pretext for war — and that international peace is, in fact, a condition for human flourishing.“[82]

This can also be related to the discussion in the Foreign Policy article mentioned earlier that has called out for a new U.S. economic philosophy with the view of geopolitics. [83]

For Pakistan, nuclear weapons have stalled possible invasions from India, and perhaps other countries.[84]This is connected to the rhetoric of nuclear weapons as a deterrent to any invasion or interference of foreign powers that North Korea may be looking at.  The North Korean regime has stated that it views its nuclear weapons as “a shield and not a sword”[85].

It is considered so that even the Chinese are not assuredly able to keep North Korea from potentially using nuclear weapons[86].

A realistic conciliation strategy?

Trade sanctions on North Korea are not working as a hindrance to their nuclear program.[87]

It can be read from an article in the Atlantic paraphrasing that China is ‘too busy’ in its pursuit of maintaining harmony to really tackle the risk of Armageddon that is ongoing full force[88]. In the article Shen Dingli, a professor of international relations at Fudan University Shanghai is quoted: “North Korea’s nuclear-weapons program is “impossible to stop,” he told me, “just like it was impossible to stop American nuclear weapons, impossible to stop Chinese nuclear weapons, impossible to stop Israel’s nuclear weapons, Indian nuclear weapons, and Pakistan’s nuclear weapons.”

Perhaps this is the pragmatism of the Chinese view. While in contrast, some news from the U.S. indicate that a possible preemptive strike has been seriously considered – although thought of as being too risky.[89]

This can point to that it is the view of China that North Korea is, in reality, hoping nuclear can be a deterrent to war. And that nuclear is something to be addressed on a world-wide scale more than regarding individual nations. The fact that China is currently increasing investments in North Korea points to the same direction.

So what is the solution?

An article in ‘War on the Rocks’, an American publication on national security, suggests: that such a strategy that allows North Korea to momentarily hold some nuclear not to feel overly threatened by the international community – while freezing any development or use thereof could be with increased forthcoming regarding trade and international aid be a serious step towards a solution. [90]

From the data presented above the author of this paper wants to concur with this conclusion.

Germany can possibly be best trusted by the international community to broker dialogue and increased solutions with trust from North Korean authorities. To step by step opened up the North Korean economy and ways of thinking to the needed outside influences. This is as the former DDR was the third most substantial foreign aid giver after the Korean war to North Korea after the Soviet Union and China.[91]Canada could really be a partner to Germany in this as Canada is not in favor of any possible nuclear missiles reaching its cities in case they are lunched towards U.S. cities and miss their mark, Canada has also participated in North Korea aid.

Canada and Germany can apply diplomacy based on the most prominent U.S. invented instruments of NVC, and ‘The Cure Violence Method’ with reference to the strategy of the ‘war experts’ Levite and Dalton who wrote the mentioned article for ‘War on the Rocks’.  Their article is explicitly named “If denuclearization is a fantasy, what can North Korean negotiations achieve” and was published last January the 31st.                This strategy would probably also imply that the EU can be involved in future steps.

It is suggested hereby that radical empathy/compassion will be utilized by the international community first through the efforts of Germany and Canada to empathize with hurts both present and of the past and to build a “hopeful future narrative”.

The purpose is to forestall ‘doomsday’ or an early Armageddon and to create a more deep-rooted solution than maintaining the constant threats associated with North Korea in international isolation.

For this effect, it is crucial that the U.S. lives up to what happened in the Korean war, and for that aim at least acknowledges the hurts of the Korean nation and its own military. Based on NVC and ‘The Cure Violence Method’ it can work wonders even without “admissions of the guilt of any party” to apply empathy to suffered hurts. Those methods regarding empathy are designed in the U.S. highlighting the superior development of modern psychology and some aspects of health science in the country. Those can be proud instruments of the U.S. used as weapons of ‘mass peace’.

In answer to who benefits from keeping Korea divided. The answer ought to be no one. As the tensions are too high and the suffering too great, and the danger of nuclear use is real. The U.S. maintains a military alliance with South Korea through a mutual defense treaty giving one of the main posts of the East Asian presence and influence to its military. Is it farfetched that the Chinese or the U.S. would currently support merging Korea considering the geography of China, and the differences between the nations in thought on the U.S. military presence in Asia. For now making Korea perpetually stuck in other nation’s plans. There is hope derived from the case of East-West reunification of Germany whilst even there in Germany considerable economic differences are sustained even within the single city of Berlin thirty years from the its reunification. As of November 2019 the former East Germany as a whole still lags behind the former Western part[92]. This indicates strongly that a North-South reunification of Korea would be even more of an economic challenge.  If Korea is to be united there would be needed a very tremendous and a massive effort of economic aid, trade and of cultural and educational reintegration. Perhaps steps in that direction can be initiated right now?

Final conclusion

Potential War and conflict worldwide can be viewed as a highly contagious public health threat that needs to be dealt with assuredly based on public health principles as exemplified by ‘The Cure Violence Method’ and should be taken as seriously as any other high risk infection. The risk of early Armageddon is best dealt with through diplomacy focused on effective use of empathy for opening North Korea up to trade, foreign aid and international ideas.

References:

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[4] Ibid. And
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[9] See note 7

[10]Vogel, “Unprepared to Fight”, The Washington Post, Jun. 19th, 2000. Accessed Feb 06, 2020.  https://www.washingtonpost.com/archive/local/2000/06/19/unprepared-to-fight/ea8f34fe-794b-4085-b805-b67140b8e6a4/

[11] Ibid.

[12] Crane et al, “”Come As You Are” War: U.S. Readiness for the Korean Conflict”, U.S. Army Heritage and Education Center, The United States Army War College, published 2019. Accessed Feb. 06, 2020. https://ahec.armywarcollege.edu/documents/U.S._Readiness.pdf

[13] Riedel, “Catastrophe on the Yalu: “America’s Intelligence Failure in Korea”, Brookings, Sep. 13th, 2017. Accessed Feb. 06, 2020. https://www.brookings.edu/blog/order-from-chaos/2017/09/13/catastrophe-on-the-yalu-americas-intelligence-failure-in-korea/

[14] See for instance history.state.gov an look up “Purchaise of Alaska”.

[15] See note 7. And Ministry of Foreign Affairs of The People‘s Republic of China. Accesed Feb. 10. 2020. https://www.fmprc.gov.cn/mfa_eng/ziliao_665539/3602_665543/3604_665547/t18022.shtml

[16] Albert, “China-North Korea Relationship”, Council on Foreign Relations, Jun. 25th, 2019. Accessed Jan, 18th, 2020.  https://www.cfr.org/backgrounder/china-north-korea-relationship

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[18] ibid

[19] Ibid.

[20] British Medical Journal, “Inequality and Poverty Cause War”, Feb. 09, 2002. As accessed Feb. 06, 2020 at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1122240/

[21] Ibid.

[22] Slutkin, “Contagion of Violence: Workshop Summary”, NCBI, Feb. 06, 2013. Accessed Feb. 06, 2020. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK207245/

[23] WHO, “World Report on Violence and Health”, Chapter 8. Date unknown. As accessed on Feb. 06, 2020. https://www.who.int/violence_injury_prevention/violence/global_campaign/en/chap8.pdf

See also a working paper of WHO:“Conflict and Health”, The World Health Organization – Department of Emergency and Humanitarian Action”, Jun. 19, 2000. Accessed Feb. 13, 2020.

https://www.who.int/hac/techguidance/hbp/Conflict.pdf

[24] Kazianis, “An U.S. Invasion of North Korea Would be Like Opening the Gates of Hell”, May 13, 2019. Accessed Feb. 14, 2020. https://nationalinterest.org/blog/korea-watch/us-invasion-north-korea-would-be-opening-gates-hell-57377

[25] Restrepo et al, “A computational science approach to understanding human conflict”, Journal of Computational Science, Feb. 03, 2020. Accessed Feb. 14, 2020. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1877750319313456

[26] See note 13

[27] Kashtan & Kashtan, “Basics of Non-Violent Communication”, Baynvc, date unknown. Accessed Feb. 11, 2020. https://baynvc.org/basics-of-nonviolent-communication/

[28]Visakavičiūtė & Bandzevičienė, “Impact of the Nonviolent Communication Intervention Program on the Social Behavior of the Participants: Overview of the Systematic Research Analysis”, Social Work Research Journal, Vol. 17, No. 1, 2019. Accessed Feb. 06, 2020.  https://www3.mruni.eu/ojs/social-work/article/view/5023

[29] Vogel, “Unprepared to Fight”, The Washington Post, Jun. 19th, 2000. Accessed Feb 06, 2020.  https://www.washingtonpost.com/archive/local/2000/06/19/unprepared-to-fight/ea8f34fe-794b-4085-b805-b67140b8e6a4/

[30] Roberts, “North Korea: Life in Cultural Isolation”, BBC Magazine, Dec. 20, 2011. Accessed Feb 12, 2020. https://www.bbc.com/news/magazine-16243995

See also: Lankov, “Kim Takes Control: The “Great Purge” in North Korea, 1956 – 1960”, Korean Studies, Vol. 26, No 1, 2002. Accessed Feb. 07, 2020. https://www.jstor.org/stable/23719326

[31] Depetris, “Armageddon: Here is What Happens if North Korea Hit Seoul with a Nuclear Weapon”, The National Interest, Jun 12, 2018. Accessed Feb 12, 2020. https://nationalinterest.org/blog/the-buzz/armageddon-here-what-happens-if-north-korea-hit-seoul-26232

[32] Luce, MCLoughlin & Groll, “Armageddon by Accident”, Foreign Policy, Oct 18, 2017. Accessed Feb 12, 2020. https://foreignpolicy.com/2017/10/18/armageddon-by-accident-north-korea-nuclear-war-missiles/

[33] BBC, “North Korea’s nuclear and missile programme”, BBC.com, Oct. 09, 2019. Accessed Feb 12, 2020. https://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-41174689

[34] Hopper, “Why Canada would be directly in the way of a North Korean nuclear war”, National Post, Aug. 03, 2017. Accessed Feb 12, 2020. https://nationalpost.com/news/canada/why-canada-would-be-directly-in-the-way-of-a-north-korean-nuclear-war

[35] Ling, “Canada pressed North Korea to abandon nuclear weapons program during secretive talks to free Toronto pastor“, CBS, Feb. 27, 2019. Accessed Feb 12, 2020. https://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/north-korea-nuclear-weapons-hyeon-soo-lim-1.5034442

[36] Fromer, “Citing Nuclear North Korea, “Doomsday Clock” moves closer than ever to midnight”, NK News, Jan. 23, 2020. Accessed Feb 12, 2020. https://www.nknews.org/2020/01/citing-nuclear-north-korea-doomsday-clock-moves-closer-than-ever-to-midnight/

[37] See note 28

[38] Staunton, “JFK’s imaginative diplomacy saved the planet”, The Irish Times, Nov. 22, 2013. Accessed Feb. 12, 2020. https://www.irishtimes.com/life-and-style/people/jfk-s-imaginative-diplomacy-saved-the-planet-1.1602601

[39] Gibson, “The Truth about Truth and Reconciliation in South Africa”, International Political Science Review, Vol. 26, No. 4, Oct. 2005. Accessed Feb. 07, 2020. https://www.jstor.org/stable/30039021

See also: United States Institute for Peace: https://www.usip.org/publications/1995/12/truth-commission-south-africa and the web of the official South African institution: https://www.justice.gov.za/trc/

[40] Crenzel, “Argentina’s National Commission on the Disappearance of Persons: Contributions to Transitional Justice”, International Journal of Transitional Justice, Jun. 17th, 2008. Accessed Feb. 07, 2020. https://doi.org/10.1093/ijtj/ijn007

[41] Wagele, “Restorative Justice or Punitive Justice?”, Psychology Today, Aug. 05, 2014. Accessed Feb. 11, 2020.

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/the-career-within-you/201408/restorative-justice-or-punitive-justice

[42] Poortvliet, “Retributive Justice vs. Restorative Justice”, Study.com, date unknown. Accessed Feb. 11, 2020. https://study.com/academy/lesson/retributive-justice-vs-restorative-justice.html

[43] Kelly, “Why Punishment Doesn’t Reduce Crime”, Psychology Today, Apr. 25, 2019. Accessed Feb. 11, 2020. https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/crime-and-punishment/201804/why-punishment-doesnt-reduce-crime

[44] ibid

[45] ibid

[46] Murthy and Lakshminarayana, “Mental health consequences of war: A brief review of research findings.”, World Psychiatry, Feb. 2006. Accessed Feb. 11, 2020. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1472271/

[47] ibid

[48] Wein, “Using Psychology to Comprehend War”, behaviouraleconomics.com, date unknown. Accessed Feb. 11, 2020. https://www.behavioraleconomics.com/behaviour-change-and-conflict/

[49] Sylwester, “Emotions and Feelings in A Time of War”, Brain Connection, Apr. 07, 2003. Accessed Feb. 11, 2020. https://brainconnection.brainhq.com/2003/04/07/emotion-and-feelings-in-a-time-of-war/

[50] Mattei, “Albania: The dark shadow of tradition and blood feuds”, May 14, 2016. Accessed Feb. 11, 2020. https://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/features/2016/03/albania-dark-shadow-tradition-blood-feuds-160318033023140.html

[51] Maydan Tv, “V for Vandetta: Blood Feuds in Azerbaijan – a thing of the past?“, Maydan Tv, Jul. 31, 2019. Accessed Feb. 11, 2020. https://www.meydan.tv/en/article/v-vendetta-blood-feuds-azerbaijan-are-they-thing-past/

[52] Sonne, “The Ideology and practice of blood feuds in East and West Greenland”, Inuit Studies, Vol. 6, No. 2, 1984. Accessed Feb. 11, 2020. https://www.jstor.org/stable/42869352?seq=1

[53]Weir, “The Pain of Social Rejection”, American Psychological Association, Vol. 43, No. 4, 2012. Accessed Feb. 07, 2020. https://www.apa.org/monitor/2012/04/rejection

[54] Eisikovits, “Transitional Justice”, Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, Fall 2017 Edition. Accessed Feb. 07, 2020. https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/justice-transitional

[55] See: The Centre For Restorative Justice, as accessed Feb. 07, 2020. http://restorativejustice.org/restorative-justice/about-restorative-justice/tutorial-intro-to-restorative-justice/lesson-1-what-is-restorative-justice

[56] ICFTJ, “Challenging the Conventional, Can Truth Commissions Strengthen Peace Processes?”, Jun. 2014. Accessed Feb. 07, 2020. https://www.ictj.org/sites/default/files/subsites/challenging-conventional-truth-commissions-peace/docs/ICTJ-Report-KAF-TruthCommPeace-2014.pdf

[57] Langer, “Are Truth Commissions Just Hot-Air Balloons? A Reality Check on the Impackt of Truth Commission Recommendations”, Desafios, Vol. 29, No 1, Jun. 2017. Accessed Feb 07, 2020. http://www.scielo.org.co/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S0124-40352017000100007

[58] Hanley & Mendoza, “Report: Korean War-Era Massacre Was Policy”, CBSNews, apr. 14, 2007. Accessed feb. 02, 2020. https://www.cbsnews.com/news/report-korean-war-era-massacre-was-policy/

[59] Armstrong, “The Destruction and Reconstruction of North Korea, 1950-1960”, The Asia-Pacific Journal, March 16, 2009. Accessed Feb. 02, 2020. https://apjjf.org/-Charles-K.-Armstrong/3460/article.html

[60] ibid

[61] ibid

[62] Williams, “The Korean War and Crimes Against Humanity: Forgotten When We Need to Remember”, Globalresearch, Oct. 15, 2017. Accessed Feb 13, 2020. https://www.globalresearch.ca/the-korean-war-and-crimes-against-humanity-forgotten-when-we-need-to-remember/5589377

[63] Lankov, “Kim Takes Control: The “Great Purge” in North Korea, 1956 – 1960”, Korean Studies, Vol. 26, No 1, 2002. Accessed Feb. 07, 2020. https://www.jstor.org/stable/23719326

[64] Jeppesen, “Inside North Korea’s Shocking Museum of American War Atrocities”, The Daily Beast, Sep. 19, 2019. Accessed Feb. 12, 2020. https://www.thedailybeast.com/inside-north-koreas-museum-of-american-war-atrocities

[65] Stack, “Korean War, a ‘Forgotten’ Conflict That Shaped the Modern World”, The New York Times, Jan. 1, 2019. Accessed Feb. 12, 2020. https://www.nytimes.com/2018/01/01/world/asia/korean-war-history.html

[66] Harrish & Sullivan, “American Needs A New Economic Philosophy. Foreign Policy Experts Can Help”. Foreign Policy, Feb. 07, 2020. Accessed Feb. 14, 2020. https://foreignpolicy.com/2020/02/07/america-needs-a-new-economic-philosophy-foreign-policy-experts-can-help/

[67] Jeong Ho, “North Korean trade with biggest partner China dives 48 per cent amid sanctions”, South China Morning Post, Jul. 19th, 2019. Accessed Jan 18th, 2020. https://www.scmp.com/news/china/diplomacy/article/3019348/north-korean-trade-biggest-partner-china-dives-48-cent-amid

[68] Gomá Pinilla, “Border Disputes Between China and North Korea”, China Perspectives, March 2004. Accessed Feb. 10, 2020. https://journals.openedition.org/chinaperspectives/806

[69] See note 38.

[70] Wertz, “China – North Korea Relations”, The National Committee on North Korea, Nov. 2019. Accessed Feb. 13, 2020. https://www.ncnk.org/resources/briefing-papers/all-briefing-papers/china-north-korea-relations

[71] Ibid.

[72] Finch, “Unfinished bridge reveals broken state of North Korean alliance with China”, The Guardian, nov. 14, 2016. Accessed Feb 10, 2020. https://www.theguardian.com/cities/2016/nov/14/dandong-sinuiju-unfinished-bridge-reveals-broken-state-north-korea-alliance-china

Seul Gi, “Sources: New Yalu River Bridge may open next year”, Daily NK, Dec 27, 2019. Accessed Feb. 10, 2020.

https://www.dailynk.com/english/sources-new-yalu-river-bridge-may-open-next-year/

[73] ibid.

[74] Nichols, “China says lifting some U.N. sanctions on North Korea could help break deadlock”, Reuters, Dec 17, 2019. Accessed Feb. 10, 2020. https://www.reuters.com/article/us-northkorea-usa-un-china/china-says-lifting-some-u-n-sanctions-on-north-korea-could-help-break-deadlock-idUSKBN1YL0LL

[75] Chen, “Chinese scientists warn North Korea about disaster threat at a nuclear test site”, South China Morning Post, Oct. 27, 2017. Accessed Feb. 13, 2020. https://www.scmp.com/news/china/society/article/2117340/chinese-scientists-warn-north-korea-about-disaster-threat-nuclear

[76] Gunnthorsson, “Trade-wars and making of meaning”, WMO Conflict Insight,  ISSN: 2628-6998  Nov. 7, 2019. Accessed Feb 13, 2020. https://worldmediation.org/trade-wars-and-making-of-meaning/

[77] Jiangtao, “How China is using North Korea in its long game against America”, South China Morning Post, Jun 16th, 2018. Accessed Jan. 18th, 2020 https://www.scmp.com/news/china/diplomacy-defence/article/2151128/how-china-using-north-korea-its-long-game-against

[78] Ibid.

[79] England, “Donald Trump’s whims stoke fears of instability in the Middle East”, Financial Times, Nov. 03, 2019. Accessed Feb. 13, 2020. https://www.ft.com/content/cc040f18-f987-11e9-a354-36acbbb0d9b6

[80] Faux, “Why has the U.S. invaded, occupied or bombed 14 Muslim countries in 30 years?”, StoptheWarCoallition, Nov. 19, 2015. Accessed Feb. 13, 2020. http://www.stopwar.org.uk/index.php/news-comment/49-why-has-the-us-invaded-occupied-or-bombed-14-muslim-countries-in-30-years

[81] Moyn & Wertheim, “The Infinity War”, Dec. 13, 2019. Accessed Feb. 13, 2020. https://www.washingtonpost.com/outlook/2019/12/13/infinity-war

[82] Ibid.

[83] See 65

[84] Tasleem, “Pakistan’s nuclear use doctrine”, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, Jun. 30, 2016. Accessed Feb. 13, 2020. https://carnegieendowment.org/2016/06/30/pakistan-s-nuclear-use-doctrine-pub-63913

[85] Thakur, “North Korea’s 2020 vision: A Nuclear Shield and not a Sword”, Japan Times, Feb.02, 2020. Accessed Feb. 13, 2020. https://www.japantimes.co.jp/opinion/2020/02/02/commentary/world-commentary/north-koreas-2020-vision-nuclear-shield-not-sword

[86] Perlez, “North Korea’s Nuclear Arsenal Threatens China’s Path to Power”, The New York Times, Sept. 15, 2017. Accessed Feb. 13, 2020. https://www.nytimes.com/2017/09/05/world/asia/north-korea-nuclear-weapons-china.html

[87] Dethomas, “Sanctions, this time it will work for sure!”, 38north, Jan 28, 2020. Accessed Feb. 13, 2020. https://www.38north.org/2020/01/jdethomas012820/

[88] Freidman, “Why China isn’t doing more to stop North Korea”, The Atlantic, Aug. 09, 2017. Accessed Feb. 13, 2020. https://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2017/08/north-korea-the-china-options/535440/

[89] Arkin et al, “U.S. May Lunch Strike if North Korea Reaches for Nuclear Trigger”, NBCNews, Apr. 13, 2017. Accessed Feb 13, 2020. https://www.nbcnews.com/news/world/u-s-may-launch-strike-if-north-korea-reaches-nuclear-n746366

[90] Levite and Dalton, “IF DENUCLEARIZATION IS A FANTASY, WHAT CAN NORTH KOREAN NEGOTIATIONS ACHIEVE?”, Warontherocks, Jan. 31, 2020. Accessed Feb 13, 2020. https://warontherocks.com/2020/01/if-denuclearization-is-a-fantasy-what-can-north-korean-negotiations-achieve/

[91] DW In Depth, “North Korea cables reveal East-Germany’s deep rooted suspicion of Kim regime”, DW, Feb. 08, 2018. Accessed Feb 13, 2020. https://www.dw.com/en/north-korea-cables-reveal-east-germanys-deep-rooted-suspicion-of-kim-regime/a-42160823

[92] Gramlich, East Germany has narrowed economic gap with West Germany since fall of Communism but still lags”, Pew Research Center, Nov. 06, 2019. Accessed Feb. 13, 2020. https://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2019/11/06/east-germany-has-narrowed-economic-gap-with-west-germany-since-fall-of-communism-but-still-lags/

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