The international arena is filled with continuous conflict and cooperation. After the two devastating world wars, the international community is trying to construct peace and harmony by different measures. It seems that cooperation among these states is not possible due to differences in interests and it is one of the biggest obstacles in its way. Every state wants to achieve its national interest which is benefitting the state to help them achieve its goals and objectives.
The events such as the construction of nuclear weapons by the US, the invasion of the USSR in Afghanistan, the US invasion in Iraq, development of nuclear capability by North Korea all are justified by the term national interest. To achieve the goals, the state uses propaganda and attacks the enemy or public through television as once the idea is again and again shown then it gets induced in the brains of the public and they try to believe in that particular idea.
Nowadays rather than having a military confrontation states prefer to fight a war by demoralizing the enemy state through different means like passing the fighter jet over the territory, conducting joint military exercises with allies, or by developing nuclear capability, etc. The people in North Korea used to teach their children that ‘America is cunning; which means they have induced their generation to work hard and take revenge from them because the rivalry between them is from the 1950s which is explained in further paragraphs. The process in which there is the exploitation of a particular group to impact the emotion of masses is known as Psychological Operation. The focus of this research is to explain which state, either the US or North Korea is successful in using PSYOPS properly to achieve their political-economic, social and military goals.
It can be defined as the intended propaganda to sway the opposition’s ideas, behavior, emotions, and attitude. It can be used in the entire spectrum of the conflict not necessary that either there will be any military intervention or not. PYOPS can also be used in domestic politics and it can be made successful if all the elements of national power are also working with it. Basically, it means to demoralize the opponent. Morale is considered to be an important element in doing any sort of work but if it is disturbed then it can go wrong. This technique can be used at all levels either it is at global regional or individual. These techniques are used to deceive or manipulate the enemy.
Sun Tzu in his book The Art of War has said that wars are fought on the concept of deception and another example can be taken of the Trojan horse. In the 1900s the medium for PSYOPS was leaflets, radio, etc. but with the passage of time and modernization in technology the medium is being shifted from television to social media, and through this evolution, broader mass media is targeted. In the Bosnia Kosovo war, the way for propaganda were comics and television. Nowadays to make PSYOPS work the first thing you have to do is to select the particular audience which has to be targeted then identify their thought and in the end apply techniques that will affect them. PSYOPS can be applied at any level either global, regional, or individual the only sole purpose is to achieve your objectives.
After the end of World War 2, Korea was liberated from Japanese imperial rule. At that time she was the most industrialized nation after Japan. The US wants to trade in that region so as the Soviet Union. This led to the division of Korea into two parts North Korea supported by the communist regime and South Korea supported by the US that was following the capitalist school of thought. On 25th June 1950, North Korea with the help of the Soviet Union attacked the 38th parallel and tried to occupy the whole territory she was having the support of the Soviets and the Chinese while the other was having the support of the US.
In 1953 the war ended at the standoff. In 1991 both states were officially recognized by the UN general assembly. But this division of states led to hatred, anger for each other. The biggest threat to the nuclear nonproliferation regime was the development of the nuclear program by North Korea. In 1994 she announced to withdrawal from the NPT (a treaty that abandons the development of nuclear programs) in return US signed Agreed Framework in return for economic aid which will help in the development of the state. In 2002 President Bush named North Korea as the axis of evil which was the basic reason for the breakdown of the agreement and in 2003 she left the NPT.
The US has taken several measures to stop North Korea from developing the nuclear program which includes a wide range of sanctions and Six-Party Talks in which US, Japan, China, Russia, North Korea, and South Korea but in 2009 these talks also broke down because of the controversies made on the rocket launch by North Korea. At that time they said that from now onwards we will not be taking part in any agreement and from then she is involved in developing the nuclear weapon.
North Korea is successful in using its propaganda against the US. The US despite being a superpower can’t do anything to stop North Korea from developing a nuclear weapon. It is observed that both are fighting a virtual war which is a special kind of warfare that can be described as an act of mind war against its people, a war led by the mass media, and the enemy is psychologically managed to obtain its objectives. North Korea is aware of the fact that they will be demolished within hours if they attack the US or its islands, It roughly it’s estimated that the US has 1590 nuclear warheads deployed at its ballistic missiles whereas North Korea has almost the material to construct 10 to 20 warheads.
This information clearly depicts that the leader Kim Jong Un will never attack the US or its allies and similar is the case with the US. Attacking DPRK with a nuclear weapon, the ally South Korea and other states will also be affected and it’s also assumed that WW 3 will be generated destroying humanity. The US has once experienced the usage of a nuclear weapon on Japan and its consequences therefore she will never go for a nuclear attack because this will not only create destruction rather the proliferation of nuclear weapons will be generated and all the non-proliferation treaties would be destroyed. According to my viewpoint, the leader of North Korea is quite young and its human nature that man is always in the conquest of power by threatening a superpower which has made her isolated in the world will enhance its credibility.
The people of his state will be encouraged to do more for their country. The nuclear development will also increase his position in domestic politics and tenure can be increased because nowadays he is praised by everyone in their country. The US president has also accepted Kim’s invitation for a meeting in which they will go for the discussion on denuclearization and as a result, the sanctions imposed will be lifted. In the past 11 years, the presence of south and North Korea met and the US has postponed the joint military exercises to stabilize the conflict. The nuclear facilities are also creating distress in South Korea that either US is going to help them or not if DPRK attacks them. These all scenarios show that North Korea is trying to take a position in the world despite having so many sanctions and the US has to play diplomatically rather than using its hard power.
DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy and position of Regional Rapport.
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Ms. Tahama Asad has done her Undergraduate Degree in Strategic Studies from National Defense University, Islamabad. Recently, she has completed the course work of Mphil in Strategic Studies. She also has several publications at the National and International levels. She has done an Internship with Pakistan House, ISPR, CASS, and ISSRA.