The ‘cold’ war between the US and North Korea has been flooding our news channels in recent months, with many of these sources more or less hinting that a nuclear war may come soon unless some major intervention happens. Of course, we know that with today’s media, there are always many layers beneath what is being reported and the truth can hardly be proven when our facts are somewhat dependent on media in itself. This issue however is definitely a poignant one and should be of global concern. While the shenanigans of politics might be a bore or too complex and widespread for some of us, one question that might bug you and me is – are we safe?
The world had never seen a nuclear war before. While unimaginable, so was World War I and II before they happened. To give a quick recap, North Korea had been building and testing a nuclear arsenal against the sanctions imposed by the United Nations and seemingly to be able to hit any part of the US eventually. The US, in all its traditional ego, threatened an attack on North Korea if they do not stop their developments and had since formed a military base nearby. Ramping up fear, North Korea had been displaying its military ‘gold mine’ and testing its arsenal, with scenes never seen before unless in war movies or during the times of our forefathers. Having seen what had happened to Libya and Iran, North Korea would not want to follow suit. Many questions have risen as to how North Korea has the expertise and financial power to develop such an arsenal being an almost closed economy in a modern world? Is there a huge inequity issue going on that is causing extreme poverty to many to finance military developments? Is there some people helping them whom nobody knows about?
One thing history has taught us is that there are no winners or losers in war. It’s only who loses more.To most of us living on this planet, a war is a big NO. Whether it involves us or not, our globalised world is highly dependent on large economies and countries with statesmanship. Hence, its after-effects will affect many countries. Whether its economically, politically, security-wise or even emotionally, it matters. One key and current example is the nuclear attack conducted by the US on Syria last month in the midst of escalating tensions. The US have claimed that the attack was ‘targeted’ and according to Al Jazeera, BBC and several prominent sources, the US claimed the hit destroyed one-fifth of Asaad’s warplanes and was a political move against Syria to deter usage of chemical weapons. The truth of this is highly unverified and reports of civilian casualties has been highly debated as alternative sources had called the attack completely uncalled for and a form of ‘dirty politics’.The timing of it is also highly questionable.If we flush out politics from the news, we can read it as a show of might to North Korea of what the US can do. Unfortunately, Syria had to take the hit. They had nothing to do with this ‘cold’ war and have been largely absent from mainstream headlines and US media amidst the escalating US-North Korea tensions. How cruel is the reality of politics if true? But as mentioned, what is true or false, is really tough to confirm via our mainstream media.
Currently, some tests conducted by North Korea have succeeded but some have failed. They currently have limited media access to several key locations but are never shy in showing off their military arsenal and nuclear power. Psychological warfare at an international level. To put it simply, if you want to attack someone, you will think twice if you know he is armed, and maybe decide not to. For the armed to prevent being attacked, just ensure everyone knows you are armed. Doesn’t matter, if your gun has a bullet or not. The truth does not matter in these cases, perception triumphs all. We have not seen North Korea being able to strike nations in recent years like the US had. Even with close US allies like Japan and South Korea nearby, the military showboating have largely been in the form of tests and parades. As long as the world believes they mean business, it offers a certain degree of protection to them. Just like if a kidnapper is holding someone hostage he doesn’t intend to kill, it does not matter if he has a real gun, as long as the hostage believes he does.
As regular individuals approaching this global political issue, it is important to constantly to be updated and balanced in our information consumption while being open for our understanding of an issue to be malleable and dynamic. Public sentiment have huge influence on the global stage though it is difficult for a regular individual to convince himself that. Brexit and the Arab Spring are recent examples of how large-scale public sentiments stemming from collective individuals can make a change. Imagine if the world strongly took all avenues to condemn the brewing tensions between the US and North Korea, would this seemingly childish rivalry continue? When the world is against you, who can you turn to? It is crucial that as modern day individuals to hold our beliefs to protect humanity and learn from history. We do not want to be losers. Whether we are safe or not, nobody can predict the future. Care for humanity and unity had shown substantial results, never hatred and intolerant division. Peace brings the biggest victory, not war. It is vital as tenants of the Earth to decide on peace and be solution-centric, not problem-centric. One should not look to forward if a war is going to happen, but instead how a war is not going to happen. So the real question on this issue is not ‘Who is going to decide to strike first?’ but instead,
“Who will decide not to?” And then hopefully, the other nation will follow suit.