The North Replaces Its Army With Something New
October 4, 2006: North Korea is facing a real disaster, and it has nothing to do with nuclear weapons. Famine is back, with the prospect of hundreds of thousands of famine deaths over the Winter. North Korea has put more restrictions on the monitoring of foreign food aid, which has resulted in less food coming in. North Korea says it doesn't care, but for millions of North Koreans on short rations, this is a matter of life and death. It's also a matter of stability. Over a decade of famine and economic upheaval, has shaken the effectiveness of the North Korean police state. Corruption grows year by year, while readiness and discipline in the armed forces declines. The secret police are also on the take, which accounts for the growing number of North Koreans getting out of the country. The corruption has gotten so bad that those who have gotten out, and made some money, can now bribe officials back in North Korea, and get their families out. It appears that everything is for sale in North Korea, although there is less and less to buy.If reports are true, they may have that threat now with indications that North Korea has conducted its first nuclear weapons test.
Conducting a nuclear weapons test will not mean that North Korea has useable nuclear weapons, but does mean that the government means to replace its increasingly unreliable army, with a few nuclear weapons. This is needed to provide a credible threat to South Korea. You cannot run an extortion racket unless you can make a credible threat.