It’s pretty clear that World War 3 will not be started by North Korea any time soon but the leader of the rogue state, Kim Jong Un, does love to talk a big game sometimes and that’s what led him to order his military to standby for nuclear strikes yesterday. That move even found him the topic of conversation in last night’s Republican presidential debates.

World War 3 (Nuclear War) With North Korea Imminent?

“Lunatic” Kim Jong Un and the Republican presidential debate

While last night’s debate will largely be remembered for Donald Trump roughly explaining that it’s not his money that makes beautiful Eastern European women flock to him but rather his big penis. I hate to give that spray-tanned muppet any more “ink” than he deserves but and exchange with Marco Rubio where they exchanged silly jibes with each other ended with Trump saying, “He referred to my hands — if they’re small, something else must be small.”

“I guarantee you there’s no problem,” Drumpf, rather, Trump added.

The only true surprise is that he didn’t use his near trademarked “Yuge.”

However, there was also a point where Kim Jong Un came up in the debate and Trump was actually letting others speak at the time.

“You indeed do have a lunatic in North Korea,” Sen. Marco Rubio said when asked about Kim Jong Un’s actions earlier in the day. The use of “lunatic” in reference to the North Korean leader is pretty common place and was also used by debate moderator Chris Wallace as well as Sen. Ted Cruz.

Lunatic or not, World War 3 isn’t going to start any time soon because of a nuclear strike by North Korea. In theory, World War 3 could begin if the North were ever to invade South Korea or launch a missile barrage along with artillery at South Korean forces or even U.S. forces in the South. That would surely dictate a response and with both Russia and China sharing a border with the rogue nation, things could get out of hand quickly if with that many powerful armed forces all in the same area.

There won’t be a nuclear strike despite this “standby” footing

Max Fisher of Vox World wrote an intelligent piece today that explains why North Korea loves to bluster and throw around threats but will not actually do anything.

Fisher posits that the constant threat making comes from one of three reasons and when North Korea makes threats it’s for one of three reasons or more likely, at any given time, some combinations of the three.

The writer’s three reasons are:

  • “It’s about maintaining the big lie that keeps North Korea running”
  • “It’s about countering enemies that Kim knows are more powerful”
  • “Provocations play well in North Korean internal politics”

Fisher, in my opinion, has these pretty spot on and while he’s clearly not a fan of Kim by any means; Fisher believes that Kim is a nasty, personally eccentric dictator responsible for myriad human rights abuses, but not a lunatic.

Let’s have a quick look at each of his reasons.

Why is North Korea constantly making (nuclear) threats?

When the Soviet Union collapsed, North Korea lost the subsidies that kept it’s economy afloat and with that about 10% of the population starved to death. It looked, in the 90’s during this famine, that North Korea was on the brink of collapse.

Knowing this Kim Jong Il put North Korea on an information lock down so the people were left unaware of this fact. That information lock down allowed Kim Jong Il to institute his Songun or “military first” policy. He essentially said that the reason you’re all in such dire circumstances is that we are on the brink of a U.S. invasion and as a result we have to spend the limited amount of money we have on the military.

The threats now made by his son are simply a continuation of this “big lie.” The lack of contradiction of this imminent invasion and the occasional threat against the west makes North Koreans believe that this is actually true.

Kim Jong Un knows that he has an inferior and outdated military that would be destroyed quite quickly in a full-scale shooting war. As a result, as Fisher calls them, he throws temper tantrums in the hopes of getting a few concessions. And like a child’s temper tantrum, sometimes it works.

Lastly, Kim Jong Un is a child among military men and party officials. His threats are simply meant to show that he’s a strong leader. This on this surface shouldn’t work but when you also go about a violent purge of the government and the military it adds a little credibility.

Fisher does a much more detailed account of the reason for this saber-rattling, but it doesn’t mean World War 3.