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“The Sworn Enemy”

Tell me, when I ask you to think of two nations of the world who are notoriously known for their enmity, what names come to your mind?Israel and Palestine? USA and Russia? USA and North Korea?

It is the latter that has come particularly into the limelight most recently yet it is quite a strange situation. If we consider them to be archenemies, it is questionable as to how their long-term hostility has not resisted a manifestation into direct conflict. So, what is it that’s stopped a usually arms-friendly nation from sending their warships over and demolishing the republic?

Their history spans a relatively long period in the timeframe of American history with relations being negative from as early as the mid-nineteenth century, before the nation split into the North and South regions, when the region closed its borders to Western trade and attacked ships sent to negotiate treaties. These relations worsened during the Cold and Korean wars and on creation of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, the United States refused to and continue to refuse to grant diplomatic recognition to the country.

As we look over the last century, we can see the US comfortably waging war in Vietnam, Afghanistan, Iraq and, most recently, intervening in Libya. It would appear that wherever the US saw a threat, they would pre-emptively act on it and reduce the threat considerably. It is debatable, but perhaps they have stopped short of colonisation and imperialism whilst “democratising” and “stabilising” their battlegrounds. If they’re not waging a war physically, it’s almost certainly some form of psychological and propaganda warfare and a constant assertion of US dominance and power throughout the world – even if they wanted to, no country is left believing the US weak, including the UK. However, it appears the same cannot be said of North Korea.

Recent tests of satellites, long-range missiles and nuclear weaponry in the North Korean region has heightened tensions across the world. Yet, in vast contrast to the US intervention in Afghanistan which was just under a month after the 9/11 attacks, any direct action from the United States is restrained. Perhaps it is the worry of response from the allies, China and Russia in particular. Yet, this is unconvincing; the lack of support from allies did not stop them in their advancement into Iraq in 2003. Perhaps they have learned their lesson from the global criticism of this attack, and this is the reason they have also not intervened to stabilise Syria.

Yet, when Kim Jong-Un is blatantly threatening the United States with technology that could be used against Hawaii immediately, and an invasion that the American people are more likely to approve of than Iraq, it is bizarre that the US administration are able to hold so much restraint on their actions; it is not something they are so well known for. Perhaps we are seeing a change in attitude under Obama, even though his own home turf is supposedly directly at threat, with the whole Western coast in sights within three years.

Is this a continuation of the cold war that emerged between the United States and Korea in the mid-twentieth century, or is this a new cold war? Whatever it is, it is definitely a case of both countries preparing to flex their muscles and show off about their fabulous warheads that they could launch at any time, and maybe something we should be worrying about. Perhaps we’ve already responded with a secret deployment of troops in the South region who should be worried about their “final destruction”.

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