Only in a military dictatorship will you find a leader crazy enough to spend money on building monuments to his favorite inter-continental ballistic missiles (ICBMs). But that is exactly what is going on in North Korea. Dictator Kim Jong Un has decided that the country needs to spend money on these monuments (even though his people are starving) because the recent tests of ICBMs have shown the world how great and powerful he is.
Many news agencies have reported on these monuments and they make clear that the ICBMs, which prove to the world that North Korea can reach the United States with nuclear weapons, are the dictator’s proudest accomplishment. (Of course he doesn’t have any other accomplishments to brag about.)
The James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies in Monterey, California published on Saturday photographs taken by satellites showing a monument being built at the site of the Hwasong-15 ICBM launch in November of last year. The existence of the monuments was also being reported by Sputnik News and The Diplomat, a journal of Asia diplomacy.
At the same time these monuments are being built, Donald Trump is bragging about his great diplomatic achievement of becoming (maybe) the first sitting U.S. president to meet a North Korean supreme leader. Trump and his supporters have attributed his great achievement to what is called Trump’s “maximum pressure” campaign on North Korea. They are crowing about how Trump’s tough talk has worked to bring the North Korean leader to his knees in submission.
Kim, however, has also been gloating about HIS historically unprecedented success on the world stage. Kim thinks he has bragging rights because:
- His ICBM missiles have surprised everyone with their range,
- He has developed more substantial nuclear weapons than any other North Korean leader, and
- He has gotten a U.S. president to agree to a summit meeting, which has never been done before.
The anti-ballistic missile program is his proudest achievement yet. But just last week rival South Korea claimed that Kim would be willing to give up his ICBMs in exchange for peace. It was South Korea who announced that Kim wanted to talk in person with Trump about the terms of an historical peace agreement between the two countries.
Which is a probably a total joke. North Korea’s dream has always been to be recognized and respected as a world power, so why would they give up their missiles? Donald Trump has played right into Kim Jong Un’s hands. Because Trump agreed to meet with him this allows Kim to claim victory, which only increases his stature at home and in the world community.
It’s not clear what Trump or the U.S. will get out of a North Korea meeting because Kim has made no concessions and has not agreed to stop testing ICBM missiles or nuclear weapons. The building of the monuments to the ICBM missiles proves that Kim has no intentions of getting rid of these missiles. They are his crowning glory. If he intended to get rid of the missiles, why would he build monuments to them?
Clearly Kim has outsmarted Trump because the U.S. President thinks that he will be able to negotiate one of his famous deals to make him look good. But of course everybody knows that Trump is not a great negotiator and whatever the outcome of his talks with North Korea (if they ever happen) we can be sure it will not be a good thing for the United States.
I am a lifelong Democrat with a passion for social justice and progressive issues. I have degrees in writing, economics and law from the University of Iowa.