Global Fears: Is North Korea our enemy?

This entry is part 1 of 5 in the series Global Fears & Security
A father and his son walk past the Revolutionary Martyrs Cemetery in Pyongyang, North Korea. Photo by Nicor released into public domain via Wikimedia Commons.

A father and his son walk past the Revolutionary Martyrs Cemetery in Pyongyang, North Korea. Photo by Nicor released into public domain via Wikimedia Commons.

What world events keep you up at night? This week, we will look at the ever-changing array of “enemies” we face in the world. I deliberately use quotes around the e-word, because politicians and the news media keep changing the list of global hot spots that they indicate we should fear.

Today, let’s start with what apparently is the most threatening hot spot at the moment: North Korea. Please take a moment to leave a comment today. We want to know: How seriously do you take North Korea’s nuclear threats? What specific news events about North Korea caught your attention? Did they make you think of North Korea as an enemy of the United States?

When I was in Korea two months ago, South Koreans seemed more worried about Asian Dust than their northern neighbors. I wonder how much that’s changed, given that North Korean has amped up the threats and rhetoric. Park Geun-hye, the new president of South Korean, is on record stating that she takes the threats very seriously and has authorized immediate responses to attacks.

Right now, a majority of Americans (56%) take North Korea’s nuclear threats against the U.S. very seriously, according to a new poll by the Pew Research Center. Another 27% take these threats somewhat seriously. Only 14% don’t take the threats seriously.

What do we fear? Our nation is almost equally divided with 47% of us saying that North Korea’s leaders are willing to push the button and follow through on their threats. The same percentage thinks that North Korea is actually capable to launching a nuclear missile that would reach our shores.

But, this is interesting. Only about 1 in 4 Americans (28%) think that North Korea is willing and capable of following through on its threats of a nuclear attack.

Most analysts think that Pyongyang’s saber rattling results from a combination of factors: the new, young leader’s desire to show that he is tough and in charge, anger over U.N. sanctions against North Korea, and a ploy to wrangle concessions.

Is North Korea an enemy?

How do you see North Korea affecting your life, if at all?

Is there another country you worry more about?


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Comments: (3)
Categories: Security


  1. Tyler Stocks says:

    As a country blessed with such power and democracy, our role is to work diplomatically and not pursue war. However, for those who threaten our allies, it’s our job to take out but only after all other tactics of peace negotiation are exhausted. As a christian, I feel as though Jesus would not advocate war but non-violence. This gets tricky when other countries don’t wish to exist peacefully. At the same time, the United States has a habit of getting involved in affairs it should not. While our vision of democracy and freedom sounds good, some nations prefer an alternative form of government and are entitled to having the freedom to operate as such. In any case, this is a case of situational ethics. Either way, someone has to suffer.

  2. There is not a chance in hell that North Korea could hit the continental United States with a missile, and there is also not a chance in hell that they could strap a nuke to the missiles they do have. By their own accounts the longest range missile they have (which is completely untested) could make it as far a Guam and no closer, that’s if you assume it would survive the journey considering both how abysmal the track record for North Korean missile tests are as well as the fact that we’d be trying to shoot it down. For the first of the three total nuclear tests that North Korea performed the device was so impractical that the explosion was actually smaller than if they had detonated the same weight of TNT. I’m sure the devices have gotten smaller in the meantime, they’ve certainly gotten more powerful, but I would be down right amazed if they managed to strap one to one of their missiles in a way that actually worked. North Korea poses absolutely no direct threat to the United States.

  3. Duncan Newcomer says:

    A radical idea about North Korea, which I read about several years ago, was to shower the country with help–a kind of Reverse Sanctions.
    The UN could pass a resolution that all the nations of the world would send food and supplies to the people of North Korea. Of course, it would have to violate their borders, but so would a war. It could be cost-effective compared with the costs of war. It would, the idea went, un-do the government’s fear-grip on the people. Sounds Christian to me. Any thoughts?