North Korea threatens USA with ‘pre-emptive’ nuclear strikes

North Korea has threatened to use Nuclear Weapons against America in a pre-emptive strike; you can blame yourself, America.


For the last 70 years America has sat at the top of the world power charts, and since the fall of the USSR it has been completely unopposed. It has always been the kid who could punch hardest, and the one that owned all the toys so could pick them up and storm off if it didn’t get its way.

The US’ controlling manner however has won it few friends and its gigantic military budget (larger than the combined military budgets of the next 18 highest military spenders) has helped contribute to its eye watering debt. The US no longer has the financial clout to control the world with its military any more and nor can it rely on allies as its constant military intervention has won it few friends and many enemies.

Foreign policy realists have long warned of the threat of blowback, as America believes it can dictate how other countries behave along with its regular military excursions cause resentment and anger which eventually boils over into retaliatory action. Yet Hawks and Neo-Cons refuse to learn the lessons of the past – The future of Iran, and the horrors of Iraq are obvious examples that springs to mind – and so are condemned to repeat the same mistakes but now with even larger consequences.

Bombing Bagdhad
Bombs over Bagdhad

US military actions radicalising its opponents and helping Al Qaida spread its terrorism even to America’s shores was bad enough, but now North Korea has threatened to use Nuclear Weapons against America in a pre-emptive strike.

‘The Supreme Leader of North Korea’, Kim Jong-Un

We shouldn’t be surprised. The enemies of the US quickly realised that the only way to be certain of their safety was to acquire Nuclear Weapons. The US could not be equalled conventionally and constant military action made leaders of many ‘rogue states’ fear their very existence. Only the ultimate threat of the ultimate weapon is enough to keep the US at bay.

Even then America did not learn, it has played a dangerous game of insults, condemnations, sanctions, threats and provocations. North Korea will have seen how the US and Israel bomb Iran whenever they feel like it, invade Iraq against the will of the UN with impunity and turn on former friends like Gadhafi and fund revolutions when they are no longer useful. North Korea has also experienced US politicians attacking them verbally and threatening their destruction, it is no different for a North Korean politician to threaten to nuke America than it is for American politicians to threaten to nuke them. Seen from their angle, US threats against them are just as worrying (and worryingly credible) from them as their threats are for us.

America does not have some God given right to launch pre-emptive strikes around the world, in fact it has no more legitimacy to do so than North Korea. Yet time and time again America initiates conflict with other countries then plays the victim when they fight back or others threaten them. North Korea are only saying now what America has said to them many times before, is it really so surprising when you poke and push and threaten that eventually your victim will snap?

Fortunately North Korea’s comments are probably just empty words. It likes to make bold claims with little action, unlike America whose politicians make bold claims and more often than not follow them through with acts of aggression. However, we need to learn from this incident fast, more of the same will keep bringing back worse and worse results as years of insult, sanction and threat pile on top of each other threatening to spill over. America needs to back off, to leave other countries alone, to conduct itself like it is in a community of equals, not a ruler lording over subjects.

If America stops giving people reason to hate it then they won’t, however every aggressive action by the US, every sanction and insult, every bomb bullet and threat just make things worse, give ammunition to its enemies and increase the risk of disaster. We have been on the end of terroristic violence and threats of Nuclear attack and it is not nice to say the least, let’s not do it to others or indeed give them reason to do it to us. If we do not learn from the mistakes of the past then the future we are pushing toward could be no future at all.


  1. Let’s have some context here:

    1. North Korea, created as a vassal of the USSR, invaded the south in 1950. It is and has always been a slave state to a scale and extent rivalled only by Cambodia under the Khmer Rouge. It has no legitimacy, states that murder their population on a whim and shoot them for trying to leave are morally indefensible.

    2. After the war ended in 1953, it sought several times over the decades to repeat the effort, but neither the USSR nor China would support it. The US actively stopped the ROK from seeking to start war in the other direction.

    3. The North has dug umpteen invasion tunnels under the DMZ to infiltrate the south. It has bombed aircraft, famously bombed the south Korean cabinet in Burma, has abducted dozens of civilians from the south, Japan and elsewhere to be kept as slave labourers on the whims of Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il.

    4. The North runs brutal gulags, incarcerating children as well as adults, for political crimes, with hundreds of thousands in prison at any moment. It deliberately wiped out millions of its population in mass starvation in the late 1990s as Kim Jong Il preferred to divert local food production to the military to avoid a coup that reform and open up the country to allow it to take food aid from the south.

    5. An argument can be made that the US could withdraw from south Korea on financial grounds, but it remains because the ROK government wants it there (and pays for it) and because if it left, the ROK would probably seek to develop WMDs to deter the north’s WMDs.

    6. The US has a strong interest in maintaining peace in the vicinity of two major trading partners, both of which it has military alliances with. You can argue to end those relationships if you like, but that’s another story.

    7. North Korea’s pursuit of nuclear weapons was largely driven by Moscow withdrawing its implicit nuclear umbrella. Kim Il Sung launched the programme after Gorbachev made it clear that there would be no more cheap oil, the programme continues because it gets attention, but no US Administration has ever seriously thought that first strikes on north Korea were an option because it has such overwhelming conventional and chemical ability to inflict enormous damage on the south.

    8. The US hasn’t “insulted” north Korea except of course for pointing out that it has the worst human rights record in the world, as seen by the numerous stories of defectors that shows north Korean gulags to be little different from Nazi concentration camps. They make China look good.

    9. The sanctions were solely because north Korea, which signed up to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, breached its treaty obligations. Then left the treaty. It has engaged in fiery rhetoric the whole time, claiming it will turn Seoul into a sea of fire, that Japan will pay for its past and the US will be wiped out to the very last. Yes this is mostly bluster, but how else should it expect its neighbours to react?

    10. north Korea has been, since 1995, effectively a military led dictatorship after Kim Jong Il shifted power from the party to the military, after he thwarted a coup led by former comrade of his father. The north Korean military sucks up 30% of GDP, and is by far the most well fed and supplied institution beyond the Kim family itself. To justify its dominance of society it maintains a constant war footing – read Orwell’s 1984 to understand how that is experienced by much of the population outside Pyongyang – for if it was clear that none of its neighbours would ever attack it, then maybe many citizens wouldn’t tolerate it being so dominant.

    Finally, US politicians don’t threaten to wipe out north Korea. The biggest threat that it ever got was when it was made clear by both Clinton and Bush Administrations that if north Korea ever used a nuclear weapon, it would be the end of the country – the US would not hesitate to respond in kind.

    So you cannot possibly equate the gangster/military clique that runs a rogue state from Pyongyang with the United States, and its dealings with it. They are so utterly different it is simply naive to claim otherwise.

    Indeed, as someone who supports individual freedom, you ought to accept that any blood thirsty regime that pulverises, crushes and enslaves its citizens like the one in Pyongyang has no legitimacy, and anyone internal or external that seeks to attack it, is undertaking a profoundly moral act. It is an aggressor, day in day out, against millions of people. It has the morality of Nazi Germany, the Khmer Rouge or indeed Saddam’s Iraq. It doesn’t mean the US should invade, there are both practical and selfish moral reasons not to do so, but it does not mean that – on principle – it would be wrong for ANYONE to attack it.

    It has no more moral standing than a neighbour who beats up and molests his wife and children claiming he will attack you if you attack him. Indeed, north Korea is more like the neighbour who abuses his family, denies it, constantly shouts that YOU are abusing your family and threatens to kill you for it.

    A taste of your own medicine? Hardly.

  2. North Korea cites Japan as it main enemy more often than it does the US. This is well known in policy making circles, but you won’t hear it on the BBC because it runs counter to their “America is to blame for everything” narrative.

    The regime is dependent on an existential enemy to justify the hideous apparatus of the police state. If it wasn’t Japan and the US, it would be China or Russia.
    It’s also a little rich of North Korea to talk about pre-emptive strikes, consider it was they who invaded the South in 1950, it was they who kidnapped Japanese citizens, they who assassinated South Korean politicians, they who shelled a South Korean island killing civilians, and they who sank a South Korean warship.
    Despite all of these provocations, the US and South Korea have shown commendable restraint. Actually, I say commendable, but they don’t actually get commended because that would disrupt the narrative.
    The North Korean regime has zero intention of starting a war because they know it will be the end of them. These silly speeches are as regular as clock-work and are aimed at an internal audience and what Lenin called ‘useful idiots’ abroad.


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