North Korea: A Reckoning
By Hal Lindsey
World leaders have known for a generation that a day of reckoning with North Korea would one day come. There were no easy solutions, so they did as little as they could, hoping the situation would resolve itself. But it did not.
While leaders, especially in America, kicked the can down the road, the North Koreans did what they said they would do. They said they would develop nuclear weapons, and they did. They said they would create missile systems capable of wreaking havoc on their neighbors in their region. They did it. They promised H-bombs, and they developed H-bombs. They said they would create intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs). They have them.
Finally, they said they would make bigger ICBMS, capable of striking anywhere in the world. And today, they have that, too.
The people who allowed this disaster — the “can-kickers” — now go on television as pundits. They criticize any approach to North Korea that differs from their own when they were in power. But here’s the problem with that. What they did, didn’t work!
President Clinton tried appeasing the North Koreans. He gave them fuel and food. The New York Times wrote about the North’s interaction with the Clinton Administration. “The lesson was an important one for North Korea. By provoking the West, the government had profited: It received several years of free oil and kept its nuclear power plant intact. The United States spent millions in aid and only briefly delayed the North’s weapons program.”
But that wasn’t the worst of it. With the help of former President Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton gave them more nuclear technology in exchange for the promise that they would only use it for peaceful purposes. They accepted the technology, then restarted their weapons program.
George W. Bush was criticized for proclaiming North Korea part of an “axis of evil” along with Iran and Iraq. But history proves him right. He addressed the North Korean part of the “axis” by initiating the so-called “six-party talks.” The U.S., along with South Korea, China, Japan, and Russia negotiated with North Korea. Responding to harsh sanctions, the North Koreans agreed to shut down their nuclear operation in exchange for aid. They pulled out of the agreement shortly after Bush left office.
As a candidate, Barack Obama criticized Bush for isolating North Korea. He came into office promising engagement with the regime. Again, the New York Times had an interesting assessment. “Rather than negotiate, Mr. Obama imposed a policy of ‘strategic patience,’ hoping that through sanctions and espionage, the United States could wait out the isolated state. Mr. Obama hoped that the North would eventually feel it had reason to negotiate and make a good-faith effort at talks. Instead the North pursued its weapons program and launched a series of cyberattacks on American businesses.”
“Strategic patience” is another way of saying, “kick the can down the road.”
Doing nothing didn’t work. The U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency estimates that by August of 2016, Kim Jong-un controlled an arsenal of up to 60 nuclear warheads. Since then, they have added hydrogen bombs to the stockpile. While the experts were saying they were years away from developing ICBMs that could hit the U.S. mainland, they proved this year that they have at least two kinds of missiles with that capability.
In the last few days, they showed the incredible power of their newest missile. U.S. Secretary of Defense James Mattis said this missile can hit “everywhere in the world.”
Today, North Korea is hundreds of times more dangerous than it was just five years ago. When he decides to negotiate, Kim can enter talks from a position of strength. He has dealt himself into the game, and he has given himself decent cards. He can bluff with a real threat behind his words. He can blackmail the world.
Most people feel okay about a conflict with North Korea because they’re convinced that Kim wants to live, and he’s not stupid. He knows a nuclear attack against the U.S. would be suicide. So, we’re safe. Right? He’ll bluff, but that’s all. Maybe, but not necessarily.
In August of 2016, a North Korean diplomat, Thae Yong-ho, defected. The BBC asked Thae if Kim Jong-un might attack the U.S. “Would he even destroy a city like Los Angeles,” the interviewer asked, “though the retaliation would surely kill him?”
"Yes,” Thae answered, “because he knows that if he loses the power then it is his last day, so he may do anything, even to attack Los Angeles, because once people know that in any way you will be killed, then you will do anything.”
Even a former insider like Thae can only guess at what Kim might do. But his reasoning is sound.
As the Bible prophesied, we live in perilous times. But God remains sovereign. And His promises remain true. If you haven’t turned to Jesus with all your heart, I urge you to do so now.