Kim Jong-un, the North Korean leader cut his baby teeth on the milk of fear and hatred towards the United States as did his father Kim Jong-il. Those emotions were generated from what has been referred to as the “Forgotten War” waged during the early 1950s by the US against North Korea with UN backing that robbed the lives of more than five million Koreans as well as 40,000 US soldiers. Its aim was to eradicate the Communist regime supported by Russia and China.
“If we let Korea down, the Soviets will keep right on going and swallow up one place after another,” said President Harry Truman.
Memories of the devastation have been indelibly etched on Kim Jong-un’s DNA, his fears amplified by the US invasion of Iraq and its role in ousting the Muammar Gaddafi regime from Libya; interventions which occurred after both countries had relinquished their WMD [weapons of mass destruction] programmes.
Yes, we can easily dismiss the stubborn and belligerent stance of Kim Jong-un as that of a madman but there is method in his madness. He is operating in survival mode.
As the Russian President Vladimir Putin and others have pointed out, he would rather his people eat grass than succumb to sanctions, no matter how crippling. Indeed, his people have resorted to consume grass and roots during the 1994–1998 famine when starvation was common in rural regions. Hundreds of thousands (by some accounts millions) died from hunger.
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