By Filipp Stoliarov
Let’s get straight to the point. Is World War 3 is around the corner, and will North Korea be the trigger?
Short answer: maybe. With over 15 000 nuclear weapons stockpiled around the world, and only 300 needed to eradicate human existence and created a fallout that decimates most life, this Cold War-era fear of nuclear devastation is no different today (or less possible) than it was then when nuclear weapons came onto the scene almost 80 years ago.
However, in the context of North Korea triggering a nuclear World War 3, the long answer is no. North and South Korea are mired in a complex web political and socio-economic relationships which, in some senses, continue the Cold War proxy-battles we saw in the recent past with countries like Vietnam and Afghanistan. The only difference is, North Korea has armed nuclear capability. Why is that such a game changer? In any conventional war, North Korea loses each and every time. A totalitarian regime with wide-spread starvation and human-rights abuses that is subject to decades of internal division and regular political purges cannot mount let alone support any conflict against the presently established surrounding nations. To understand this point is to understand why nuclear weapons are essential for North Korea’s dictatorial regime to survive. Having witnessed Saddam Hussein being forcibly overthrown by the U.S. Military in 2003 and again with Muammar al-Gaddafi of Libya in 2011, North Korea’s former supreme leader Kim Jong-il approved nuclear weapons proliferation and testing, with the first successful detonation occurring in October 2006. His son, current supreme leader Kim Jong-un, is continuing the development with the most powerful recorded blast for North Korea occurring on the 3 September.
While the United Nations and many other nations (including Russia and PRC – allied countries of North Korea) condemned the latest test, it also revealed the interconnected complexity of the situation. More than a nuclear-armed North Korea, what the nations in this area truly fear is a united Korea. The relationships and personal goals of the nations who are either allied to North or South Korea deserve much more scrutiny. Nuclear war profits no-one; but selling weapons, controlling trade routes and stoking fears of nuclear war are always good for business; you just have to know which money to follow.