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North Korea Warns of ‘Sacred War’

Country responds to ‘reckless’ military exercises by South, U.S.

July 23, 2010

SEOUL — North Korea said on Saturday it would begin a “sacred war” against the United States and South Korea at “any time necessary,” based on its nuclear deterrent, in response to “reckless” military exercises by the allies.

The North’s powerful National Defense Commission again denied in a statement that the country was behind the sinking of a South Korean warship and said it could be forced to retaliate against the two countries, which begin large-scale military drills on Sunday. …

The statement was part of a verbal onslaught by the North after a South Korea-led team of investigators concluded in May that a North Korean submarine had torpedoed a South Korean warship in March, killing 46 sailors. …

The United States has rejected a call by the North to resume six-party nuclear talks and announced new sanctions on Wednesday to freeze the North’s assets and cut off the flow of cash to the destitute state’s leaders. …

Full report


7/25/2010 Update

U.S. Aircraft Carrier Ups Pressure on North Korea

Image: USS George Washington
The Nimitz-class U.S. nuclear-powered aircraft carrier USS George Washington. (Photo credit: U.S. Navy / Reuters)

By Eric Talmadge

July 25, 2010

ABOARD USS GEORGE WASHINGTON — A nuclear-powered U.S. supercarrier led an armada of warships in exercises off the Korean peninsula on Sunday that North Korea has vowed to physically block and says could escalate into nuclear war.

U.S. military officials said the maneuvers, conducted with South Korean ships and Japanese observers, were intended to send a strong signal to the North that aggression in the region will not be tolerated.

Tensions on the Korean peninsula have been particularly high since the sinking in March of a South Korean naval vessel. Forty-six Korean sailors were killed in the sinking, which Seoul has called Pyongyang’s worst military attack on it since the 1950-53 Korean War.

The military drills, code-named “Invincible Spirit,” are to run through Wednesday with about 8,000 U.S. and South Korean troops, 20 ships and submarines and 200 aircraft. The Nimitz-class USS George Washington was deployed from Japan. …

The North routinely threatens attacks whenever South Korea and the U.S. hold joint military drills, which Pyongyang sees as a rehearsal for an invasion. The U.S. keeps 28,500 troops in South Korea and another 50,000 in Japan, but says it has no intention of invading the North. …

Capt. Ross Myers, the commander of the carrier’s air wing, said the exercises were not intended to raise tensions, but acknowledged they are meant to get North Korea’s attention. … He said that North Korea’s threats to retaliate were being taken seriously.

Potent symbol

The George Washington, one of the biggest ships in the U.S. Navy, is a potent symbol of American military power, with about 5,000 sailors and aviators and the capacity to carry up to 70 planes. …

The exercises are the first in a series of U.S.-South Korean maneuvers to be conducted in the East Sea off South Korea’s east coast and in the Yellow Sea closer to China’s shores in international waters. The exercises also are the first to employ the F-22 stealth fighter — which can evade North Korean air defenses — in South Korea. …

North warns U.S.

North Korea, which denies any involvement in the sinking of the Cheonan, warned the United States against holding the drills.

“Our military and people will squarely respond to the nuclear war preparation by the American imperialists and the South Korean puppet regime with our powerful nuclear deterrent,” the North’s government-run Minju Joson newspaper said in a commentary Sunday headlined, “We also have nuclear weapons.” …

Though the impoverished North has a large conventional military and the capability to build nuclear weapons, it is not believed to have the technology needed to use nuclear devices as warheads. …

Full report


Related reports on this site

No Chinese Support on North Korea (May 30, 2010)

North Korea Fraud Charge (May 28, 2010)

North Korean Saber-Rattling (May 20, 2010)

Iran, North Korea Threat Level Rises (Dec. 13, 2009)

North Korea Ready to Deal? (July 26, 2009)

Independence Day (July 4, 2009)

North Korea Nuclear Threat (June 16, 2009)

Kim Jong Il Threat Assessment (May 31, 2009)

Tense Stand-off with North Korea (May 28, 2009)

North Korea Warns of Possible Military Action (May 27, 2009)

North Korea Launches Rocket (April 5, 2009)

U.S. Warns N. Korea on Missiles (Feb. 17, 2009)

Korea Headache Looms for Obama (Jan. 28, 2009)

Obama Faces Daunting Challenges (Nov. 6, 2008)


Featured report: Kim Jong-Il Threat Assessment

The Personality Profile
of North Korea’s Kim Jong-Il

Aubrey Immelman
Unit for the Study of Personality in Politics
December 2003

Slide presentation
Image: North Korean leader Kim Jong-Il
The Life of Kim Jong Il
A pictorial look at the North Korean leader through the years


A remote psychological assessment of North Korean leader Kim Jong-Il was conducted mining open-source data in the public domain. Information concerning Kim was collected from media reports and synthesized into a personality profile using the second edition of the Millon Inventory of Diagnostic Criteria (MIDC), which yields 34 normal and maladaptive personality classifications congruent with Axis II of DSM-IV.

The personality profile yielded by the MIDC was analyzed on the basis of interpretive guidelines provided in the MIDC and Millon Index of Personality Styles manuals. Kim’s primary personality patterns were found to be Ambitious/self-serving (narcissistic) and Outgoing/gregarious (histrionic), with a secondary Dauntless/dissenting (antisocial) pattern. In addition, the personality profile contained subsidiary but relatively unremarkable Dominant/asserting (sadistic), Contentious/resolute (passive-aggressive), and Erratic/unstable (borderline) features.

The amalgam of Ambitious (narcissistic) and Outgoing (histrionic) patterns in Kim’s profile suggests the presence of a syndrome that Theodore Millon has labeled the “amorous narcissist” (relabeled hedonistic narcissist in the context of political leadership studies). These personalities have an indifferent conscience and aloofness to the truth, are facile in the ways of social seduction, feign an air of dignity and confidence, and are skilled in the art of deception.

Characteristically, these personalities fabricate stories to enhance their worth and leave behind a trail of broken promises and outrageous acts, including swindling, sexual indiscretions, pathological lying, and fraud. However, the hedonistic narcissist’s disregard for truth and talents for exploitation and deception are rarely hostile or malicious in intent; fundamentally, they are not malevolent. Having never learned to restrain their fantasies, and unconcerned with matters of social integrity, hedonistic narcissists maintain their beguiling ways through deception, fraud, lying, and by charming others through craft and wit. Instead of applying their talents toward the goals of tangible achievements and genuine relationships, they selfishly devote their energies to the construction of intricate lies, cleverly exploiting others and slyly extracting from them what they believe is their due.

In summary, Kim Jong-Il may be characterized as fraudulent, self-indulgent, and conflict averse — preferring guile, craft, and cunning rather than force or confrontation in extracting or extorting from others what he considers his due; he is not a “malignant narcissist.”

The major political implications of the study are the following: First, although North Korea’s military capability undeniably poses a legitimate threat to regional stability, any claim by Kim Jong-Il with regard to his military capabilities are not to be taken at face value, but should be called into question and verified; second, Kim is relatively conflict averse and unlikely to employ military force without provocation; and third, Kim is relatively open to influence by carefully crafted diplomatic and economic means subjectively perceived as bolstering his self-serving ambitions.

May 2009 update

My 2003 threat assessment should be read in the context of August 2008 reports that Kim Jong-Il had suffered a stroke.

Although I did not find Kim to be paranoid or delusional in my 2003 assessment, it is possible for stroke patients to undergo personality changes, including an increase in suspiciousness, or to develop psychiatric syndromes such as post-stroke depression or post-stroke dementia, which may impair the patient’s mental state and cognitive functioning.

Should that be the case with Kim Jong-Il, it may exacerbate a prior siege mentality, resulting in increasingly self-defeating, erratic behaviors patterns.

Despite remaining convinced that Kim is fundamentally risk-averse, I do have a heightened concern that a possible recent-onset organic brain syndrome could impair his insight, judgment, and decision-making capacity.

In the event Kim’s medical condition should color his pre-existing, premorbid personality with paranoid ideation or delusional thinking, he is likely to become increasingly mistrustful and vigilant; irritable and thin-skinned (hypersensitive to perceived slights and easily enraged by narcissistic injury); defiant, hostile, belligerent, and vengeful (determined to “balance the books” with respect to what he perceives as past wrongs); dichotomous ( “us versus them” social perception); insular (impervious to corrective action in response to sound advice and new information); self-righteous (arrogant and acting with a sense of entitlement); and self-justifying (viewing his own transgressions either as defensive necessity or as “payback” for the malevolence or wrongs of others).

Finally, no threat assessment would be complete without verifying who is currently “calling the shots” in North Korea, so to speak. Considering Kim’s recent medical history, it could be risky to respond to North Korean provocation under the assumption that Kim Jong-Il is fully in charge.


FROM THE ARCHIVES: One Year Ago — July 23, 2009

Image: President Barack Obama and Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki
President Barack Obama and Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki make joint statements during a press availability, Wednesday, July 22, 2009, in the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington. (Photo credit: Ron Edmonds / AP)

Obama Meets Maliki in U.S.

One-year retrospective: One year ago today, I reported that President Barack Obama, in a meeting with Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki at the White House, said the United States would stick to its status-of-forces agreement with Iraq and remove all its troops from Iraq by the end of 2011.



FROM THE ARCHIVES: Two Years Ago — July 23, 2008

On the Campaign Trail: Day Nine

Two-year retrospective: Two years ago today, on the ninth day of my 2008 campaign against incumbent U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann for the Republican nomination in Minnesota’s 6th Congressional District, I issued my position statement on national security.

Patrick Immelman, 2, of Sartell runs through a field of crosses during a Memorial Day ceremony at the St. Cloud VA Medical Center, May 26, 2008. (Photo credit: Paul Middlestaedt, St. Cloud Times)

9 Responses to “N. Korea Threatens ‘Sacred War’”
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