The Christian Science Monitor
April 8, 2013
Those Americans who may be fearful of North Korea’s verbal threats and its missile-launch preparations should take note: Its leaders have long expressed a fear of an American nuclear attack.
This fear by three successive leaders from the Kim family in Pyongyang helped pushed them to develop atomic bombs. Now the regime’s threat to attack the United States defies the very logic of the nuclear age – namely, that states with nuclear weapons would always act rationally because of the risk of massive retaliation, or “assured destruction.”
As historian Ward Wilson points out in a new book, “Five Myths About Nuclear Weapons,” atomic bombs “were born out of fear, nurtured in and sustained by fear.” Their power to devastate requires a mutual fear to avoid their use.
The current escalation of threats between the US and North Korea illustrates how this reliance on fear can falter. Nations that rely on maximizing fear as a primary tool for defense will find the emotion very difficult to manage in all cases.
This article was posted: Monday, April 8, 2013 at 10:30 am