Insecure people seeking a sense of security can benefit from a criticism free environment. By affording such individuals reasonable concessions when they engage in disagreeable behaviors, they can learn to both trust and behave in a more acceptable fashion. By contrast, insecure persons, who express their insecurities in a domineering, aggressive manner, will be less likely to benefit from such an environment, because these individuals view concessions to be appeasements. As these individuals begin to feel more secure, they tend to grow increasingly aggressive and domineering. Consequently, the only means of managing their misbehavior is by forcibly stopping the misbehavior and/or offering punishments that demonstrate the willingness and ability of a legitimate authority to prevent the misbehavior.
In recent years, North Korea has grown increasingly hostile towards its neighbors. In spite of the fact the North has been afforded a great deal of concessions over the years, its behavior has only crescendoed from bad to moderate to worse. Not only has the North achieved its goal to become a nuclear power, it has even physically attacked South Korea without a proportional reprisal. Some believed the isolated nation would behave more in line with the expectations of the International Community once it obtained greater leverage thanks to its expanding nuclear capacity. Unfortunately, it has not. In fact, the installation of Kim Jong-Un after the death of his father has only resulted in an even more aggressive stance. With North Korea ending the long-standing armistice and fully cutting off communications with the South, among other acts of aggression, it is clear the new leader is striving to prove himself deserving of his post while it is unclear if he shares his father’s same drive to behave rationally when it serves his personal interests.
Modeling North Korea after an insecure person, the communist country is very much an isolated, insecure nation thoroughly afraid of the outside world while it is also a narcissist, self-righteous country convinced of its own national and racial supremacy. By defying international conventions and engaging the world in a hostile manner since the Korean War stagnated into an armistice sixty years ago, the rogue state has acted as a state terrorist that has successfully used violence and threat of violence to demand continuous ransom from the International Community. Meanwhile, the North Korean government has essentially created a national cult that severely punishes individual and novel thought. This means the culture is stagnate and unlikely to revolt against government misbehavior.
Consequently, the North can only be expected to remain locked into the same vicious cycle that has allowed for its nuclearization and escalating hostility against South Korea, the US, and the rest of the International Community. Political and diplomatic efforts have had a few minor successes; however, these successes will not lead to an end game strategy. Appeasing the North Korean dictator will only encourage his government to demand greater concessions from the West and afford him the room to expand his nuclear arsenal. All diplomatic efforts going forward must, therefore, be aimed at reversing North Korea’s progress on nuclear weapons; otherwise, they will be useless endeavors that can only result in a greater threat down the road. The world is at a critical juncture where the lack of a sufficient response to North Korean violence will lead to escalating aggressions on behalf of the North Koreans. That is until the world finds itself in a major war that could start with a nuclear blast.
Should North Korea strike the South or any other neighbor, either China and/or the United States must make a quick, crushing blow against the North Korean military. In doing so, the North will quickly learn it does not have the military supremacy the leadership has convinced the North Korean People it has. In turn, the North Korean government will either be forced to learn that its bad behavior will not be appeased or escalate the war. If escalation occurs, both China and the US must be prepared to inflict serious damage to the regime’s military infrastructure. As frightening as escalation is, a failure to act will lead to a situation where North Korea will be more likely to use nuclear weapons at a time when it will have a larger stockpile and better delivery systems.