North Korea’s Cause-and-Effect Cycle of Madness – Explained

(graphic credit)

By Jeff Rutherford

The brutal dictator Kim Jong-un and his militaristic communist government appear schizophrenic and paranoid that America is out to annihilate North Korea. The totalitarian dictator acts out his apparent paranoia by diverting resources from feeding and housing the estimated 25.4 million people in his country to developing, testing, and demonstrating dangerous nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles.

This frightening behavior scares the hell out of other nations in the region, elicits warnings and sanctions from the international community including the toothless United Nations, and attracts displays of deterrent military strength from the United States and its Pacific Rim allies.

This starts the next cycle of North Korea accusing its enemies of plotting to annihilate it, and bragging about its supposed military capability to attack the United States itself. Each effect becomes the subsequent cause. It’s a self-fulfilling, self-reinforcing loop.

It is obviously NOT the United States’ goal to provoke North Korea into starting a devastating regional war. (Honestly, it could ONLY be regional at the current time, since their missile testing record is dismal, and the Pacific Ocean is huge.)  No other nation in the world, including China and Russia, is accusing the United States of seeking to start a war with North Korea.

On April 21st, all 14 members of the UN Security Council (UNSC) condemned North Korea’s missile launches – which are in violation of numerous previous UNSC resolutions.  North Korea’s predictable response: they released a statement saying that the UNSC “must distinguish who is responsible for the current severe situation of the Korean peninsula being aggravated to the brink of war and should behave impartially and with caution.  The root cause of current aggravated situation of the Korean peninsula is none other than the Untied States (sic)….”

See the cycle?  And what do you think the chances are that North Korea will stop launching ballistic missiles?

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Question:  Why does North Korea’s totalitarian government behave this way, in effect throwing more and more gasoline on a fire of their own making?

Answer: Although the North Korean government’s saber-rattling pronouncements and dangerous weapons tests are aimed towards the outside world, the actual intended audience is their own beleaguered and starving people. As George Orwell explained brilliantly in his 1949 novel “Nineteen Eighty-Four,” the best way for an iron-fisted and compassion-less communist dictatorship to keep its population in acceptance of a hopeless existence is to be in a perpetual state of war with the outside world — as an excuse to keep the population from rising up in revolt. Within Orwell’s novel, he wrote a book-within-a-book entitled “The Theory and Practice of Oligarchical Collectivism” by a fictionalized author named Emmanuel Goldstein.  Here are four paragraphs from this chilling book-within-Orwell’s-book:

“Nor was it a satisfactory solution to keep the masses in poverty by restricting the output of goods…. Goods must be produced, but they must not be distributed. And in practice the only way of achieving this was by continuous warfare. The essential act of war is destruction, not necessarily of human lives, but of the products of human labour. War is a way of shattering to pieces, or pouring into the stratosphere, or sinking in the depths of the sea, materials which might otherwise be used to make the masses too comfortable, and hence, in the long run, too intelligent. Even when weapons of war are not actually destroyed, their manufacture is still a convenient way of expending labour power without producing anything that can be consumed….

In practice the needs of the population are always underestimated, with the result that there is a chronic shortage of half the necessities of life; but this is looked on as an advantage. It is deliberate policy to keep even the favoured groups somewhere near the brink of hardship, because a general state of scarcity increases the importance of small privileges and thus magnifies the distinction between one group and another…. The social atmosphere is that of a besieged city, where the possession of a lump of horseflesh makes the difference between wealth and poverty. And at the same time the consciousness of being at war, and therefore in danger, makes the handing-over of all power to a small caste seem the natural, unavoidable condition of survival.

War, it will be seen, accomplishes the necessary destruction, but accomplishes it in a psychologically acceptable way. In principle it would be quite simple to waste the surplus labour of the world by building temples and pyramids, by digging holes and filling them up again, or even by producing vast quantities of goods and then setting fire to them. But this would provide only the economic and not the emotional basis for a hierarchical society….

It does not matter whether the war is actually happening, and, since no decisive victory is possible, it does not matter whether the war is going well or badly. All that is needed is that a state of war should exist.”

You can read all 25 pages of Ch 9 of “Nineteen Eighty-Four” here, (of which about 85% is the book-within-a-book).  In fact you can read Orwell’s entire novel for free at that link if you wish.

The existential threat that Kim Jong-un feels most deeply is not an attack from the United States, but an uprising from his own propagandized and brutally oppressed people.  He is not illogical, just purely evil.

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About Necessary and Proper

Jeff believes in the Individual's ability to excel when liberty and freedom of choice are protected. Also believes in the Community's ability to take care of the vast majority of its own issues and needs when the federal government leaves the Community's resources and sphere of control alone. State and local choice produce better results than centralized federal control.
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9 Responses to North Korea’s Cause-and-Effect Cycle of Madness – Explained

  1. Here is an excellent podcast with several interviews of an expert researcher/biographer, Michael Malice, on the ideology of North Korea’s totalitarian ruling dynasty:


  2. David Ross says:

    Jeff, while I understand your fundamental premises and I appreciate your thinking on George Orwell, But your underlying belief system is actually a lie and pure Orwellian. North Korea would only be at war if attacked by the US. The US is always at War. Orwellian means inversion and if you read you section again, you may have a paradigm shift.


    • Thanks for the comment, David. I read the section again, and I didn’t feel the earth move.

      I wasn’t suggesting that N. Korea is ACTUALLY at war. I was suggesting that Kim Jung-un retains his oppressive headlock on the minds of his subjects by constantly whipping up a frothy latte overflowing with the APPEARANCE of being at war with the outside world. The podcast link I provided in my followup comment (above) provides an extensive discussion of this trait of totalitarianism, using N. Korea as the best current example.

      You and I appear to occupy polar opposite ends of the philosophical universe. I’m not a liberal pacifist, nor am I a libertarian isolationist. I’m a believer in the responsible, measured application of the Peace Through Strength doctrine. Fortunately we both believe in freedom of speech, so life goes on for both of us.

      I wish you well, David, and that sentiment comes from the non-lying portion of my belief system.

      – Jeff


  3. Tricia says:

    This is a good post Jeff and really insightful for me as I had not thought about the angle of the N Korean leadership doing all this crazy stuff for the purpose of keeping their citizens at bay. It makes a lot of sense and so does, unfortunately, George Orwell’s 1984. Animal Farm too for our own country.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Citizen Tom says:

    Great post! Agree with Tricia. I have read 1984, but it has been awhile. Might be a good idea and timely if I did so again.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Based Rasmussen says:

    Very well written and thought provoking. Having watched this cycle repeat itself ad nauseum throughout my life, it is astonishing that it continues without any noticeable change. I find it helpful to reflect that east and west differ in deeply profound ways. Alan Watts is instructive on this point. To paraphrase him, the Judeo-Christian mythos views God as a potter sculpting or creating the world, the Hindu sees God as an actor, and existence as a drama. This makes the Orwellian comparison difficult, as it lends itself much more easily to western than eastern systems and methods of deceit and oppression. It appears to me that the north subliminally draws energy and protection from the south. Inasmuch as our only reason to care is out of a guilty sense of duty to the south, or to Japan, this duty makes us pawns. I find it impossible to rationalize the spilling of a single drop of American blood in this conflict, though I surely may be appalled by what they may do to each other. If there is a reason why we should feel responsible, or stand to lose or gain anything, I would be interested to learn.
    I sense something psychically wrong on the peninsula as a whole, and of course in the greater region. Their relationship with China and Japan is poisoned with centuries of crap very few westerners could understand even if we wanted to.


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