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North Korea: An Unstable Nation
North Korea has one of the most diverse habitats in the world; from mountains to forests,
they have almost every environment. As beautiful as it is, land like this will never be perfect.
When Korea was first founded in 1948, the country was a thriving nation getting a lot of support
from the Soviet Union, but when the Soviet Union went bankrupt in the mid 1900’s, North Korea
suffered a tremendous economic defeat. Although this happened, the Kim regime has been
focused on one thing, their military. Because of this all of their money is going towards
improving their military rather than trying to rebuild their economy, and the country is still
feeling the full effect of the economic cataclysm. Since their military is strong, many countries
have felt reluctant to try to help or to take over North Korea, but they are not particularly huge
threat. To give credit where credit is due, North Korea is a potential threat because of their
nuclear weapons, but because of North Korea’s weak economy, the United States’ defense
system, and North Korea’s lack of allies, North Korea is not a major threat to the United States.
First, North Korea’s economy prevents it from being a threat to us. The Soviet Union was
a major power and is what many countries, including North Korea, relied on as a huge source of
income. Since then, these countries have been in in financial “ditches” struggling to crawl out.
Sharif Shuja, a research associate at the Global Terrorism Research Unit in Australia, and he
reports that, “The important point to stress is that North Korea is a poor, weak but determined
country, which needs to negotiate its very existence with the United States.” North Korea is like
a bug under the foot of a man: the man could easily kill him but instead he spares the ant and
keeps eye on him. North Korea’s government is unstable too. They spend most of their money on
their military, leaving many of their people starving. In fact, “Large-scale international food aid
deliveries have allowed the people of North Korea to escape widespread starvation since famine


threatened in 1995, but the population continues to suffer from prolonged malnutrition and poor
living conditions” (CIA). Clearly, the country of North Korea is still suffering from its past.
Currently, their government has been trying to improve its economy, but the economy has not
improved. Since 2012 the government’s goal has been to try to fix its economy (CIA). But at this
point the people have suffered for so long they may be far past trying to fix their economy. CIA
even recounts, “Industrial capital stock is nearly beyond repair as a result of years of
underinvestment, shortages of spare parts, and poor maintenance.” Many sources agree with the
CIA’s assessment. Liz Sonneborn, an author of many books about North Korea, exclaims, “Or
are they [North Koreans], like many outsiders, disturbed and alarmed that their government
would spend US$1 billion on a birthday extravaganza while allowing many of their fellow
citizens to starve?” North Korea is in a bad place economically, but if the United States could
bounce back from the Great Depression, then North Korea may be able to recover from this
financial roadblock. The only reason they may not is because of their stress on their military.
Sonneborn rearticulates the fact that, “Kim, however, was very clear on his stance toward the
North Korean military. He declared, like his father, he considered the military his ‘first, second,
and third’ priorities.” The world needs to recognize the fact that North Korea is there, but needs
to also recognize that they are in financial distress.
Although North Korea is having these financial difficulties that does not means that they
are not a threat. Anyone with a nuclear weapon should be taken seriously. North Korea’s military
is strong, and over forty percent of their population is in the military in some shape or form
(Sonneborn). This being said, North Korea sends most of its money and resources towards the
military. Bob Woodruff, a reporter, even states, “He [Kim Jung-Un] said that their priority and
their country is actually to strengthen the power of their military so they can deal with any


possible wars in the future especially with the United States.” North Korea believes that they
have enough resources to attack the United States, so they could start a war. Again Woodruff
says, “We're talking missiles, tanks, rocket launchers and thousands of soldiers, and the leader
himself Kim Jong-Un, threatening that North Korea is ready to stand up to America.” The
amount of weapons and the types of weapons that North Korea has is what truly makes them
dangerous. If the Soviet Union was considered a threat in the 1900’s and their economy was not
in the best shape, then why should North Korea not be? The Pentagon even says, “The Pentagon
recent said North Korea is capable of a nuclear strike on the U.S.” (Talamadge). If the
government believes that they are a threat to the country then we should too. North Korea
definitely is a threat, but are they a stable enough country to be considered a serious threat?
Another reason that North Korea is only a minor threat to the United States is the U.S.’s
defense systems. The U.S.’s goal is to make their citizens feel safe, and one way of doing so is to
have one of the most updated defense systems. With all North Korea’s weapons, the United
States must be ready for an attack against them by North Korea. The U.S. finds homeland
security so important that they spent $105 billion on sensors and missiles that can be used to
detect and destroy incoming ballistics (Chaplain). The U.S. takes other countries threats towards
our country seriously, and after the work that Kim Jung-Un has done making his threats known
and all the ballistics that have been shown off, the U.S. has taken the correct safety precautions.
But as known, America will never stop improving. According to Christina Chaplain, “Upgrades
are planned to improve its ability to locate, discriminate, and track more sophisticated threat
objects at once, as well as uplink that data to the SM-3 in flight.” The U.S. is prepared for any
attack at any time. The SM-3 allows the Navy to shoot intercepting missiles. Some practice tests
have been shown with these interception missiles, “MDA conducted two intercept and three


nonintercept flight tests that demonstrated an increased capability for Aegis BMD and the GMD
program” (Chaplain). Aegis is the United States Missile Defense System, and as shown they are
trying to do their best and better. With all of the new and improved defense systems that America
has designed and enforced, it will be difficult to get pass our militaries defense systems.
Lastly, North Korea does not have many allies. After the Soviet Union went bankrupt,
there was a huge loss in the communist alliance. Now, North Korea has been on bad terms with
almost every country in the world. Kim Jung-Un has threatened the United States many times,
and has upset the United Nations by doing so. But perhaps the country that has the biggest
problem with North Korea is their neighbor to the south, South Korea. Ever since the Korean
War, the two countries have been in constant bickering. They are blaming each other for bad
things that have happened to them. For instance, South Korea was doing their submarine practice
drill in their submarine the Cheonan. After their drills were over and they were headed for
mainland, a torpedo struck the Cheonan killing 46 South Koreans (Powell). The government
pushed the blame towards North Korea, saying that they had shot at the South Korean
submarine. U.S. officers were sent to investigate themselves. Seung-Hun Lee, a physicist at the
University of Virginia, claimed, “…materials found on the Cheonan were ‘not the result of any
explosion,’ as the government asserted. The government's conclusions, Lee says, ‘were absurd’”
(Powell). This tension goes both ways, so it is hard to know when there is really an attack by the
other. Not only is the tension growing between North and South Korea, but also by China and
North Korea. Since the communist reign by the Soviet Union, China has been North Korea’s
only ally politically, economically, and in the military. But as North Korea is testing its
boundaries, China is becoming more and more angry at the fairly young nation. In the article,
“Bad Korea Move: Will Putin Step In”, it provides information on this, “While North Korea


threatens to test a new nuclear device -- the fourth such provocation of its neighbors since 2006
-- China can barely hide its displeasure.” As China is becoming angrier, it is reflecting on the
amount of funding and business North Korea is given by China, and if this keeps up, North
Korea will be in a hard situation. The last country that North Korea has made enemies with is the
United States. This is not only because of the stories that escapees of North Korea share about
the travesties of their old country, but also because of the threats that North Korea has given the
United States. So far these threats have been empty, but they might not stay that way. Kim JungUn has redundantly said, “…that North Korea is ready to stand up to America” (Faris). This
makes many Americans feel threatened by North Korea because they are one of the only
countries to make threats against one of the strongest civilizations in history. With North Korea
making enemies with its neighbor to the north, south, and the strongest country in the world,
North Korea attacking the United States would politically not be a good move.
In conclusion, North Korea is a minor threat to the United States because of North
Korea’s economy, U.S.’s missile defense systems, and North Korea’s lack of allies. The threat of
North Korea comes up in the United Nations talks. South Korea has been influential in these
meetings, even organizing them. One meeting that South Korea organized went over the dangers
that the weapons do pose, and that North Korea needs to stop (Bad). Many of the threats are
serious threats that the U.S. does take seriously. It is like when there is a little kid in the airport
and his parents tell him to stop making gun noises because they could be taken as serious.
Security is tight and strict about stopping possible threats. There is a saying, “Would you rather
let 100 innocent die to capture one guilty man, or have 100 guilty men be let free?” As
Americans, we would rather take 100 innocent men’s time to find one guilty man, than have
thousands of innocents die because we did not check the possible threats. With North Korea, the


threats are taken extremely serious, and if there is any possibility that there is a threat, then all
precautions are taken. This being said, it shows how much safety that our country has, and with
the recent terrorist attacks in Paris, the U.S. is just going to become that much stricter, which
means that America is going to be that much safer.


Works Cited
"Bad Korea Move: Will Putin Step In?." Newsweek Global 162.20 (2014): 1. Middle Search
Plus. Web. 4 Nov. 2015. <>.
Chaplain, Cristina. "Opportunities Exist To Reduce Acquisition Risk And Improve
Reporting On System Capabilities." GAO Reports (2015): i. Middle Search Plus.
Web. 21 Nov. 2015.<>.
“CIA: The World Factbook: Korea, North.” CIA World Fact Book (2001): 257. Middle
Search Plus. Web. 3 Nov. 2015. <>.
Faris, Paula, and Bob Woodruff. "North Korea's New Threat Against Us." Good Morning
America (ABC) (2015): 1. Newspaper Source. Web. 5 Nov.
Powell, Bill, Mark Thompson, and Stephen Kim. "North Korea's Mafia Moment." Time
176.9 (2010): 52. Middle Search Plus. Web. 4 Nov. 2015.<>.
Shuja, Sharif. "North Korea's Nuclear Game Under Scrutiny." National Observer 73
(2007): 57. TOPICsearch. Web. 10 Nov. 2015.<>.
Sonneborn, Liz. North Korea: Enchantment of the World. New York: Scholastic, 2014. Print.

Talmadge, Eric. "Kim Jong Un Says North Korea Ready to Stand Up to Any U.S. Threat."
Time.Com (2015): N.PAG. Middle Search Plus. Web. 5 Nov.