Escalating Tension between the US & North Korea – What History Can Teach Us

For several years now, the tension between the United States and North Korea has been growing because that geographically small Asian country now has nuclear capabilities. They have repeatedly threatened to launch against the Western World, the United States in particular, largely due to the Korean Conflict of the last century.

If North Korea has a vendetta against anyone in particular, it would be the U.S. and it continues to escalate because of our involvement with South Korea, and our pledge to keep them safe against their would-be oppressors to the north. At this point, perhaps it would be wise to look at the history of wars in recent years to see if there is anything we can learn from both victories and defeats.

Is Military Strength Enough?

Looking back at history, WW2 as just one example, we can learn that military strength is often not enough. Great Britain had much to lose because the Axis were invading Europe rapidly and even though they were lacking in military strength, they continued to keep Germany and Italy at bay. They had European countries helping in the effort, but the greatest strength, albeit weaker than the Axis, was the UK. It is wise to keep in mind that the United States only entered the war towards the very end and the combined power of the Allies was enough, then, to tip the balance.

The point here is that Germany had better technology at the time and greater manpower, so how did the Allies hold off for so long? This is one question to be asked, but the answer is quite obvious. They had more to lose than Germany had to win! The sheer strength of will and determination kept them going until the U.S. joined the efforts and Russia switched sides due to Germany attacking their southern border. Consequently, it can be argued that military strength alone cannot win a war. If you could ask the best generals of WW2 their take on this, they’d agree. As the old saying goes, where there’s a will there’s a way.

The Greatest Losses Bring the Ultimate Victory

There is something else which political strategists need to keep in mind when determining how to handle the growing tensions between the United States and the now nuclear North Korea. Many people don’t know that the Allies suffered the greatest loss of human life yet still won the war! If North Korea were to launch a nuclear warhead towards the East Coast of the United States, where it is predicted to go, the loss of life would be cataclysmic if it couldn’t be intercepted in time.

That being said, they would ultimately lose because our arsenal of nukes along with those of other nations with vested interests in avoiding WW3 would totally annihilate that tiny Asian country. But at what price? What would the cost of human life be? What would the ecological ramifications be if just one nuke was launched? Perhaps the best outcome would be to show strength but continue talks. If you close the channels of communication, the outcome could truly be catastrophic. It is a whole new hi-tech society in which we live but the basis for all that we should do and continue to focus on is human life.

Have we learned from history? War solves nothing other than to prove who is stronger. But just like WW2, the strongest may suffer the greatest losses. Is it worth it in the end? That’s a question we hope we never have to answer again.

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