North Korea has established itself as a global opponent who should be feared and respected. With constant nuclear tests and threats of war, the world is afraid of a third world war based on the charged jargon of Kim Jong-un. Yet, as the small Pacific nation faces more dire threats to the stability of its economy and population, the demise of North Korea as a major global force becomes more likely with every passing year.
While North Korea is profiting off of their coal and mineral industries as well as their arms trades with Iran, they are simply not making enough money to continue holding their position as a world power for much longer without significant aid. Due to embargoes placed on North Korea by the United Nations, trade with the small nation has become increasingly difficult. These embargos paired with widespread droughts sweeping the small nation will damage North Korea’s economy greatly.
Since the mid ’90s, the nation has been facing food shortages nearly constantly. It is currently estimated that at least two in five North Korean citizens are malnourished. The widespread famine in North Korea is not due to nutrient-lacking soil or a lack of farmers throughout the region, it’s due to the current budget for agriculture in the small nation. It’s estimated that a quarter of the North Korean budget is spent on missiles, greatly diminishing the budget for more domestic issues.
This massive military budget was somewhat sustainable during the reigns of Kim Il-sung and Kim Jong-il, but Kim Jong-un has tested more missiles during his reign than his father and grandfather combined. This expansion is draining the North Korean budget, which is a dangerous feat in a Communist nation. When a country’s infrastructure relies on a sharing of wealth to survive, channeling all of the nation’s resources into warfare is suicide.
Due to this combination of irresponsible money management and harsh weather patterns, North Korea currently relies heavily on food aid from global superpowers such as Russia and China. This aid could begin to diminish as the nation continues isolating themselves through constant threats to surrounding nations.
At the moment, the alliances formed by North Korea have allowed the nation to continue receiving significant food aid from countries such as Russia, who have a strong interest in the weaponry of the nation. Yet, if they continue to be so threatening towards the rest of the world, they could be faced with the unfortunate situation of being cut off by the nations which are currently keeping North Korea afloat.
Kim Jong-un is currently relying solely on fear mongering – and an arsenal of nuclear weapons – to stave off war from other nations. In the process, he is starving his people and destroying his homeland. It will be difficult to win any war without armies who can fight without collapsing, or citizens back home who can supply the war efforts with any materials that aren’t nuclear or coal. North Korea now must face the realities of their improper spending, or destabilize their nation past the point of return.
The most insidious situation in which North Korea destroys itself would be through nuclear war. With such a large arsenal, and testing of missiles and other weapons being handled on North Korean soil, it is not impossible that the nation could either blow itself up with its own arsenal, or that they could anger another nation so badly that they would be a large target for annihilation.
The fall of the regime of Kim Jong-un could possibly be disastrous for the nation if it does in fact occur. If the nation is destroyed by the weaponry of the nation, then it will lead to millions of North Korean refugees, who will likely be banned from many countries due to past tensions with their homeland.
Even if the environment were not to blame, this fall would lead to displacement amongst North Koreans. With such a strict regime currently in play, that system must remain exactly the same to maintain order in the nation. If the Un regime were to fall, the nation would fall into political discourse, and one malevolent dictator would only be replaced by another. Though the fall is inevitable, it will likely be disastrous for the people of North Korea and abroad.
North Korea has been a global power for decades now. However, absolute power corrupts, and the small nation is likely to see the outcomes of this power in the years to come. Through improper money management, threats and a starving population, North Korea will likely see its own demise in the years to come. We can only hope that nuclear war will not be the culprit first.