I remarked to Melissa earlier this evening that, of all the ‘hot spots’ in the world, I am most concerned about North Korea. The conflict between democratic South Korea and reclusive, totalitarian North Korea has festered for more than half a century now, and while the Korean War effectively ground to a halt with the 1953 armistice, a state of war still technically exists between the two states. North Korea has since become a nuclear power and last year declared unilaterally that it will no longer abide by the armistice. Then the country rattled sabers with missile tests and weapons shipments.
If all that wasn’t enough, South Korean and international investigators have now determined that the mysterious sinking of a South Korean navy ship in March was due to a North Korean torpedo attack.
This really isn’t that out-of-the-ordinary . . . North Korea has been antagonizing South Korea with periodic violence on-and-off since the ’50s. But the stakes didn’t used to be this high; North Korea didn’t used to be a nuclear power with missiles capable of reaching many U.S. allies in the region. South Korea—and our own government, which maintains a significant military presence on the Korean peninsula—cannot allow the North’s aggression to go on un-checked, but at the same time we can’t risk provoking a nuclear war with a maddeningly belligerent country like North Korea.
Mark my words: North Korea is very, very likely to be the spark that sets off the next major world conflict.