North Korea: "Punish Us For War And We'll... Make War"
North Korea is nothing if not consistent. A chest-pounding bully whose strength lies more in the fear of its playground targets than it's actually ability to dominate as it threatens.
Take, for instance, the North Korean bully's latest threat, expressed quite well in the AP headline: "North Korea warns of war if punished for ship sinking."
Translation? "If you respond to our act of war, we'll.... make war."
From the Associated Press story:
Tensions deepened Thursday on the Korean peninsula as South Korea accused North Korea of firing a torpedo that sank a naval warship, killing 46 sailors in the country's worst military disaster since the Korean War.
President Lee Myung-bak vowed "stern action" for the provocation following the release of long-awaited results from a multinational investigation into the March 26 sinking near the Koreas' tense maritime border. North Korea, reacting swiftly, called the results a fabrication, and warned that any retaliation would trigger war. It continued to deny involvement in the sinking of the warship Cheonan.
"If the (South Korean) enemies try to deal any retaliation or punishment, or if they try sanctions or a strike on us .... we will answer to this with all-out war," Col. Pak In Ho of North Korea's navy told broadcaster APTN in an exclusive interview in Pyongyang.An international civilian-military investigation team said evidence overwhelmingly proves a North Korean submarine fired a homing torpedo that caused a massive underwater blast that tore the Cheonan apart. Fifty-eight sailors were rescued from the frigid Yellow Sea waters, but 46 perished.
North Korea is part bully, resorting to chest pounding to conceal and mask actual fear, and part Pavlov's dog, having developed predictable reactions to stimulus based on past pain/reward reaction consistancies. It's learned behavior expects, rightly, loud and provocative behavior to be met with payoffs and recoil from its American enemy.
Logic dictates that to change the learned behavior of Pavlov's dog, the resultant stimulus to its actions (provocations) will have to change. This does not mean the bombing should commence in 3, 2, 1... But it does mean that reaction must be firm, unflinching and meaningful.
North Korea is the world's greatest nuclear and missile weapons proliferator. Its clientele are the world's chief state sponsors of international terrorism. All in the huddle - suppliers and buyers - are hostile to the United States. Some, such as Iran, have much American blood on their hands and sponsor attacks on our interests, embassies and troops abroad on an ongoing basis.
North Korea must be treated as such, unwaveringly, and presented in plain language before the American public for precisely what it is - a threat and a bully that starves and tortures its own people in order to preserve its dictatorial grip, whiloe the regime feeds itself well from the spoils gained through proliferation to our enemies.
Gone must be the days of ambiguity and reward for North Korean promises to act well. The regime must be made to feel pain for their transgressions, not blackmail payment for promises not to inflict another round of transgressions.
We might consider our own Pavlovian reflection - our learned policy and public reactions to the playground bully banking much more on our fear of escalation than his own ability to win it.