Podcast: North Korea Raises the Political Stakes

John Everard, the former British Ambassador to Pyongyang, and I joined Monocle 24’s The Globalist on Monday morning to discuss the challenge of North Korea’s latest nuclear test.

We discussed North Korean motives for the 120-kiloton detonation, Donald Trump’s reaction — at one point, prompting a bit of mirth over the US President’s Twitter diplomacy — and China’s key position.

Listen to Discussion from 2:10

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Scott Lucas is Professor of International Politics at the University of Birmingham and editor-in-chief of EA WorldView. He is a specialist in US and British foreign policy and international relations, especially the Middle East and Iran. Formerly he worked as a journalist in the US, writing for newspapers including the Guardian and The Independent and was an essayist for The New Statesman before he founded EA WorldView in November 2008.


  1. One must appreciate the warmonglerish machinations of the Yanki ‘free press’, as encapsulated in this cold-cock question yesterday by Fox News:
    Mr President, will you attack North Korea?

    The leading question is condensed into a purely personal emotional trap in order to goad a maximal reaction from the caged orange baboon …

    Premise 1 — you are utterly alone
    Premise 2 — the only redemption for your wounded ego is through overt aggression
    Premise 3 — it is meant physically, with actual weapons, as in not just another stupid attack of Twitter-mouthing

    His reaction betrays that Der Tяump☭nFührer is dumbstruck by the violent insolence of the proposal, i.e. that he personally rush with a carbine and rusty bayonet at a North Korean border post, screaming “Banzai!”, only to be sawn asunder by Nork machine-gun fire before getting 30 yards into the DMZ. His addled simian brain struggles to process this [for him] horrifying prospect, but, conflicted by the knowledge that HOO-rah bravado is called for, the best he can dully mumble is “We’ll see”, playing for time to come up with any excuse why this option is most definitely and forever off the table.

    The infantile psychotic lust for pre-emptive aggression in the Yanki ‘free press’ corp is so intense that at least one CNN talking head yesterday literally announced the news that North Korea had “attacked” Yankistan, merely by testing its deterrent H-Bomb, and then, without correction from the panel much less any consideration of legalities or consequences, proceeded to fantasise on the appropriate military “retaliation” to be dispensed by the ‘victim’ Pentagovernment.

    It’s stunning that such warcriminal insanity can be flaunted publicly in [current year]!

  2. In fact North Korea did not raise any political stakes, which remain precisely as before, but certainly sharply upped the promised military consequences which will follow from any further Yanki foolhardiness, such as acting out on its instinctive reflex of pre-emptive aggression.

    Apart from its announcement about the flawless fusion-bomb test, DPRK’s official news agency, KCNA, also relayed this fascinating detail from their MoD:
    Our dial-a-yield hydrogen warhead, which can be adjusted from tens to hundreds of kilotons depending on the target of the nuclear strike, not only exerts enormous destructive power but can also explode at a high altitude, producing a super-powerful EMP [electromagnetic pulse] across a vast region.
    It is thus a multifunctional thermonuclear combat unit, manufactured from 100% local elements and all processes necessary for the serial production of our nuclear weapons are already integrated.

    Which info inserts the fear of Yellow God far up the Yanki warcriminals quicker than anything else, as it will not take an ICBM to deliver, nor require great accuracy to effectively annihilate the HomeLand economy with a single blow, should the pestersome Perntagovernment persist in testing the resolve of Supreme Leader Field Marshal Comrade Kim Jong-Un.

  3. Forced by fearless and intelligent Supreme Leader Kim Jong-Un to recognise that DPRK is perfectly entitled and free to develop its powerful nuclear deterrent against serial recidivist warcriminal aggressors who too-long deluded themselves they were some Divinely-Appointed Dictators over Planet Earth, several options are now definitively OFF the table:

    Namely, all those including Yanki aggression.

    So just slowly back waaayyy the fuck up there, humiliated Gringo Pigdogs!

    And, next time, avoid making exceptional fools of yourselves by keeping your outsized traps firmly shut, kthxbai.

    • Barber man get a life. Or at least grow up. If tensions are escalating it’s by design, the US is deliberately warmongering and they know where this could lead. Just because NK can retaliate with h bombs it doesn’t mean they are going to win. The US can for sure sacrifice a few South Korean or Japanese cities, even a few of it’s own if it came to it. Warmongering back is just playing the game as expected. That calculation has already been factored in to whatever the US is up to.

      • 1. You demonstrate a classic case of falling victim to the Yanki propaganda machine, DP, which by saturation bombardment of its orchestrated media indoctrinates, with what they hope will be a paralysing fear, that Exceptionalistan is omniscient and omnipotent, thus any resistance to its threats and depredations is always futile. Hence, you were handily defeated in your own mind before even getting off the sofa.

        2. Because NK can retaliate with H-Bombs means they won’t ever have to, as the usual pack of warcriminals literally soil their strides in contemplation of the horrendous consequences for themselves should they overtly aggress. This is the essence of an effective nuclear deterrence … it sufficiently chills the habitual aggressor’s carefree joie d’intervention.

        Posing a clear analogy, a serial rapist who is somewhat sane and knows that a potential target will certainly chaw his snout and at least one ball clean off before succumbing, is going to look long and hard for a ‘better’, i.e. defenceless, victim, because he is at heart a lowly coward who, after brief soul-searching, discovers that the humiliation of a totally avoidable maiming and the need for expensive reconstructive surgery are not amongst his life priorities.

        3. Tensions are not escalating, it’s merely the infantile Yanki warcriminals producing a cacophonous tantrum to disguise their choking fury at being shown up as impotent to prevent DPRK from aptly arming itself to keep them from its throat, precisely that taboo which their propaganda system demands they can never admit, namely the ‘threat’ of a good example in how to deal with their rapacious ilk.

        For contrast, note how Israel, certainly no stranger to functionalised pre-emptive warmongering hysterics [a.k.a. political pre-traumatic stress disorder], is not screaming blue murder about any ‘threat’ from North Korea, as it has neither a beef with that nation nor any plans for aggression against it. Moral? Only the wolf who intends to make it his meal perceives the sheep’s horns as a threat.

        What the Pentagovernment most fears is that its technically competent vassals such as Japan, Germany, South Korea, Brazil, South Africa, Egypt, Turkey, etc., will follow the DPRK model and kick it out of interfering in their sovereign business, as this spells doom for Yanki exploitation, empire and the PNAC-project for a complete stranglehold on the world, forever.

        4. DPRK is not “warmongering back“, i.e. threatening to start a war it will surely lose, but rather convincingly demonstrating its ferocious defensive power to the actual perennial warmonger so that it is not attacked by it in the first place. Same as a sheep does not seek out a wolf to attack with his horns, but, should said wolf dare attack him, he’ll not be shy about using them to best effect, e.g. breaking one off in its butt-hole while saving the other as a spear for the neck. Playing the typical psycho-tricks of an aggressor, the aggrieved Yanki predator would have us believe he is the innocent wolf attacked by this vicious sheep, but to swallow that whopper one really has to be an induced political cretin.

        And I am merely rubbing this delicious and healthy garlic well up the Vampire’s nose.

        5. The Japs and South Koreans, occupied and subdued as they are, will still have a word to say about being carelessly used as a nuclear football field by Yankistan, ostensibly “for their own good”. Already the splitting is very apparent and can only grow as they increasingly come to recognise that belligerent Yankistan is the cause of their risk rather than any reasonable protection from it and that this ‘crisis’ is all manufactured by it precisely in an effort to keep them politically subservient.

        The very same effect is noticeable in Germany, where just yesterday the leading candidates for Chancellor agreed in a televised debate that Yanki nukes stationed on their soil have to be gotten rid of before the deranged idiots decide to add more in their game of ‘chicken’ with Putin. For a Volk thoroughly brainwashed into reflexively kissing the Yanki Occupation’s ass for the last 72 years, this is breakthrough stuff that such thoughts are even aired.

        6. In short, take heart, my friend, and always remember
        Everyone has a part to play … Rome wasn’t burnt in a day!

        • No, NK isn’t warmongering..you are..

          NK is preparing to defend itself, and the US is preparing something as well. As Bannon let slip, the real target is China, and you are deflecting attention away from what is really going on.

          As quite well spelt out in the article about the Agreed Framework of 1994, the US deliberately reneged on it’s side, leading to the subsequent acceleration of the NK nuclear program and the increase in tension.

          Since then and till now the US has refused to go back to talks. It is deliberately escalating. It knows NK capabilities and is increasing tension still further. That is also deliberate.

          • 1. “you are warmongering” — Nonsense, my dear chap, and I defy you to locate one post of mine calling for anything but the natural right to self-defence.

            2. Yes, Bannon spilled the beans [which had long been perfectly obvious] that all options apart from apoplectic screeching à la Haley are off the Yanki table re. DPRK, exposing Der Tяump☭nFührer‘s empty bluff, but his boner for trade war with China is born of profound ignorance, about how deeply the Yanki and Chinese economies are intertwined, crossed with a groundless optimism that their vast production facilities can be readily replicated or operated by untrainable and lazy Gringo manpower. The realists who punched his ticket know that such a divorce can be managed only across the span of about 30 years, if at all.

            3. DPRK does not need to talk to warcriminal Yankistan and if it ever deigns to do so the only point on the agenda should be how to organise an immediate Yanki unilateral denuclearisation and the handing over of its entire atomic arsenal to Supreme Leader Field Marshal Comrade Kim Jong-Un for safe-keeping. Let them deliberate on that.

            • Holy shit I concur with the above poster. Get a life. Good heavens you’re just utterly obsessed with the US to the extent of openly supporting genocidal tyrants. How pathetic.

            • BTW the US has NEVER started any kind of conflict with North Korea despite several blatant provocations from the fat ass Kim dynasty you so absurdly worship.

              • The war was started entirely by Fatty Kim the first with the backing of comrade Stalin before he died in a puddle of his own piss and shit like all good commies do.

        • Further to the above, even Yanki commentators are now beginning to confess Yankistan’s “fission effect” on its allies vassals:

          The South Koreans I talk to increasingly wonder: If the economic relationship is not advantageous and the strategic one imperils their country, what is the value of this alliance anymore? It is a not a huge leap from there to the question: “Why do we keep the US presence here at all?” It appears Donald Trump is gifting the wedge that Pyongyang has long hoped for all along.

          And in this insightful interview an expert on DPRK economics details why sanctions will not work, except to provoke war:

          JB: I know your expertise is in economics and not security, but what kinds of conversations have you had with North Koreans about security issues?
          MM: North Koreans tell me their country is safe because they have nuclear weapons. They point to Libya, Iraq and Ukraine as countries that had nuclear programs, gave them up, and were then attacked by either the US or Russia. They say the DPRK made the right decision to stick with developing nukes. And now they have them. And now that their country is demonstrating the means to deliver those weapons wherever they want, including Washington, they believe the DPRK will be safe from American attack.
          JB: Is that by any chance your view as well?
          MM: Since I started studying North Korea, in the 1980s, and made my first visit there, in 1996, my conclusion is the US has played an important role in helping the Kim family stay in power. When the outside world threatens the North, it makes the DPRK stronger. The people rally and come together to find a way to confront the threat—including the threat of sanctions.
          JB: Speaking of sanctions, what if the international sanctions aimed at forcing the regime to give up nuclear weapons and missiles really squeezed North Korea, cutting off fuel and trade, depriving it of the minimum it needed to survive?
          MM: Well, in 1941…


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