In the battle of the U.S. vs. North Korea, it’s mostly a war of words. An insane war of words, yes, but words all the same. The leaders of each country, Donald Trump and Kim Jong Un, are eerily similar, but each wants to destroy the other. What if we told you the U.S. can take down North Korea without firing a shot?
We know North Korean missiles can reach us, and that an attack on the United States would ruin our economy. The opposite is also true. But it doesn’t have to come to that. North Korea has used cyber attacks on the United States in the past. The U.S. can do the same to take down the Kim Jong Un regime.
1. A little bit of history
Before we dive into how the U.S. can take down North Korea without bullets and missiles, let’s have a history lesson. The Korean peninsula was divided into two halves at the end of World War II. South Korea came under U.S. control and North Korea was influenced by Soviet Russia. North invaded South and ignited the Korean War, which is technically not over. North Korea’s growing nuclear arsenal and cyber attacks, such as the Sony Pictures hack, illustrate its wartime mindset in the 21st century.
Next: A few reasons why war is a bad idea.
2. There’s a lot we don’t know
The whole death and destruction aspect of a nuclear war is a problem, but it’s not the only one. North Korea is one of the United States’ primary enemies, but there’s a lot we don’t know about it. For example, we don’t really know how many nuclear weapons North Korea has, or how powerful they are. Al Jazeera reports the country has 60 nuclear weapons and the ability to build six per year. For that matter, we actually know very little about Kim Jong Un. As Politico writes, we don’t even know how old he is or how many children he has. In a war with North Korea, the U.S. would be firing blindly to a certain extent.
Next: Are North Korean missiles a symbol instead of a threat?
3. Diplomacy isn’t working
Despite the posturing, we’re pretty sure North Korea’s nuclear arsenal isn’t what you think. The missiles might be symbols instead of real threats. They could be signs that show North Korea is a world power ready to negotiate for peace. Even Vice President Mike Pence is warming to the idea of talks. Of course, diplomacy hasn’t worked so far. North Korea makes money despite all the sanctions, and the fact that Kim Jong Un has a well-stocked nuclear war hideout isn’t a good sign.
Next: Tickets for the gun show?
4. War isn’t the answer
We’ve just seen how diplomacy with North Korea isn’t really working. All-out war is another option, but it’s a terrible idea. A tactical so-called ‘bloody nose’ strike would prove the United States’ military might to North Korea, but it risks dangerous escalation. Still, Donald Trump is considering war with North Korea as a solution. Given the weapons in each country’s arsenal, and it almost certainly would be a nuclear war and one of the bloodiest wars in history.
Next: Winning a war without firing a shot.
5. The nonviolent solution
So diplomacy barely works, and war isn’t the answer. How can we deal with the North Korea threats without launching missiles? With technology. We mentioned earlier how North Korea hacked Sony Pictures. The nonviolent solution would be like that, but the U.S. would be hacking millions of North Korean devices.
In a written statement to the Senate Armed Services Committee, Dennis Blair of the Sasakawa Peace Foundation suggests distributing digital propaganda in North Korea. Its citizens are basically brainwashed to hate America. A propaganda offensive by the U.S. showing how poorly the North Koreans have it could spark a revolution and topple the Kim regime from the inside.
Next: How North Korea’s rich kids will play a role.
6. Why it might work
A counter-propaganda offensive sounds absurd. After all, North Korea’s internet is small, not widely available, and is filtered through China. Despite that, it has a chance of working, and we can thank North Korea’s middle class.
Most citizens are poor, but a group of rich kids live like America’s 1%. That includes cell phones, which are easily hacked. And as Dennis Blair wrote to the Senate Armed Services Committee, “The kryptonite that can weaken North Korea is information from beyond its borders.”
The cult of personality is deeply ingrained in most North Koreans, so turning average citizens against the regime will be tough. But if the elites with cell phones can be swayed by propaganda to act against the state, it could be the beginning of the end for the Kim dynasty.
Next: A blueprint of a hacking attack.
7. How it could happen
Individual cell phones are susceptible to hacking, and it’s not all that difficult. Hacking an entire cell phone network is more complicated, but the NSA has experience doing it. If the U.S. can’t break into North Korea’s phone network from a distance, it can always rely on the Navy’s stealth ship to get closer to the target. In the end, hacking the network and distributing propaganda is going to be the most effective way to topple Kim Jong Un’s regime.
Of course, the opposite is also true. As the Sony Pictures hack demonstrates, North Korea can hack into U.S. computer systems. It has a specific arm of the military, Unit 121, dedicated to hacking, and it’s the third-largest cyber unit in the world.
Next: Let’s peer into the crystal ball.
8. What comes next?
As we’ve discussed, North Korea still has a wartime mindset, especially when it comes to the United States. North Korea’s threats are just that so far, threats, but diplomacy isn’t working and war isn’t the answer either. Even nonviolent cell phone hacking might be viewed by North Korea as an act of war. For all we know, Kim Jong Un just might be insane enough to launch a nuclear attack at the slightest provocation.
So how does the United States end the North Korea threats? Actually, it might not be up to us. We might not have to do much of anything in order to take down North Korea. Relations between North Korea and South Korea seem to be thawing. Some North citizens work good jobs in factories building things for South companies. The two countries are competing under the same Olympic flag. Kim Jong Un is ready to welcome South Korean president Moon Jae In for a visit. Maybe all we have to do is sit back, let things play out, and intervene if asked.
Check out The Cheat Sheet on Facebook!