The North Korean Dictator as a Parable

North Korea’s struggle with the rest of the world is neither tactical nor time-dependent; it is a strategic struggle of a small country with great military power that poses a challenge to the entire world. North Korea has proven that a threat that has military backing must be taken seriously, whatever its actual intentions. The danger posed to the world by the North Korean leader is not the realization of the nuclear threat, nor its capacity to cause military damage in any desired location, but rather the inspiration granted to various kinds of terrorist organizations to terrorize, threaten, blackmail, and cause chaos around the world. By emphasizing its lack of commitment to any “rules of the game”, including non-compliance with international law and the disavowal of promises and agreements, North Korea has a significant negative impact on the global agenda.

When Palestinian terror set a new standard for aerial terrorism, new norms for air travel were established around the world, which included new systems of airport security and behavior. Since then, the norms of air travel have been dictated by the threat of terrorism. The blatant statements of the North Korean dictator, coupled with his overt and hidden threats, which are backed by sophisticated weapons of mass destruction that threaten the entire world, are not only a danger in themselves, but also pose a danger by being emulated by terror-states who will likely emulate such an approach in the not-too-distant future.

For example, we see the tone of the Iranian leadership, partners of North Korea, taking a more extreme turn. Its involvement in terrorism is more apparent, its attempts to develop weapons are carried out in broad daylight without fear, and its statements do not attempt to hide its current and future aspirations.

Terrorism is a fatal disease in society. While it is important to detect disease detection is not enough. Malignant diseases must not be only detected, but also dealt with in their early stages to prevent their spreading to a more dangerous and unstoppable phase. North Korea has passed the stage of early detection. The entire world is aware of the disease “Korean terrorism,” but has not taken significant steps to eliminate the danger. The hesitation of the West endangers the entire world, and there remains little time to act.

About the Author
Dr David Altman is senior vice-president at the Netanya Academic College and vice-chair of the college's Strategic Dialogue Center
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