The article below by IWP Research Professor Paul Coyer was published by The Washington Times.
Amid the plethora of security threats the world is facing today, North Korea, with its fourth nuclear test on Jan. 6, long-range missile test on Feb. 7 and firing of short range missiles in late March, has been doing all it can in order to ensure that it gets its share of attention. Its ICBM program has made significant strides, and it is also making progress towards a miniaturized nuclear warhead and operationalizing a submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM) capability, which would give Pyongyang a survivable nuclear deterrent. And the regime’s proliferation activities, particularly with Syria and Iran, have posed an even broader threat.
Little that Washington has attempted over the past 20-plus years has halted North Korean progress, including the Obama administration’s policy of “strategic patience.” Pyongyang believes that its legitimacy as an independent state depends upon its nuclear weapons capability, and has thus proven impervious to inducements to give up such a capability. It has become increasingly emboldened due to the belief that its nuclear weapons will deter any muscular action against it, and in the (to date correct) assumption that China, by far its largest trade partner, has an interest in its continued survival and will therefore not allow sanctions to destabilize it.