Pyongyang: what is in it for Canada
Abdelkader Filali : Ph.D. Politics/Security Ottawa University
Democratic Arab Center
Pyongyang has launched from the Sohae Satellite Launching Station (commonly known as Tongchang-ri) a long-range rocket in April 2012 that has failed. Prospects for further negotiations dimmed further after another, more successful, launch in December 2012 and a third nuclear test in February 2013. The latest test on November 2017 was a successful and most powerful new type of intercontinental Ballistic Missiles ICBM topped with a super-large heavy warhead, capable of striking the US.
Canada has always been under the shape of what is called the strategic logic of Ballistic Missile Defense BMD, which is mainly in the frame of NATO. This means that developing the capability to defend the Canadian population and territories against any ballistic missiles attacks. To put it differently, will Canada remain always a free rider on American and European security measure?
The North Korean question has been a concern on the world stage for a few decades and the real question that was on everybody’s mind was “ would the US and North Korea ever settle the power struggle between them one day? The answer is ‘yes it did, but what is the political price of such transaction? And how Canada can probably reshape its role in the North American Aerospace Defense Command NORAD?
Pyongyang successful launching of missiles and rockets had provoked US along the UN to impose sanctions. As a consequence Pyongyang escalated its discourse and took many provocative measures. The post-Cold War period has been characterized by the threat of weapons of mass destruction The US acts as a global leviathan controlling and articulating necessary shifts in power between states. These shifts in power may have negative consequences regionally and in the global balance of power.
The current debate over the “question of North Korea” and Trump’ New Detente phase with Kim will continue to develop its own story similar to Nixon’s appraisement with Mao Zedong in 1972. North Korea continues to replicate the Chinese path. Ultimately, the US as the global hegemon and the dominant player in the international system control and monitor the actions of states that wish to advance their position through avenues such as nuclear weapons. Meanwhile, North Korea continues to deflect any US attempts to convince them to discontinue their nuclear programs.
The new supreme leader of North Korea Kim Jong-un took power in 2011 and there were no signs of rupture from his father’s stand. We have not seen yet any major changes in North Korean foreign or domestic policy. Many of his father’s trusted men, old guard, state officials and party members who supported the nuclear program are still in key positions in the government and surround the entourage of the young leader (Even with scenarios of reshuffling the defense high ranking officers). Kim Jong-un’s top down policies towards his people is the same policy his father and grandfathers the eternal supreme leader Kim II-sung followed in their reign.
The tensions between Pyongyang and Washington strongly reflected the realist approach that bases its foundation on anarchy. From this perspective we see two main rising concerns
The first problematic point that needs to be addressed here is ‘would North Korea’s exporting its nuclear savoir-faire to Pakistan end and thus reassure India? The shift of perceiving North Korea as a regional threat to a global threat is clearly seen in Bush speeches after September the 11th. Since September the 11th we have seen that North Korea has become a primary target for the US. Would Trump be successful with Kim as Nixon was with Mao? A realist approach helped us analyze Bush administration’s shift of orientation towards North Korea and mobilizing the whole world around the boundary of “axis of evil”. The second problematic is ‘would China’s Xi Xin Ping allow such containment in the pacific? The shadow of these two problematic can be reflected negatively on Canada if it remains on the free riding position.