• 40 mins Iran Prepares To Export LNG To Boost Trade Relations
  • 3 hours Keystone Pipeline Leaks 5,000 Barrels Into Farmland
  • 9 hours Saudi Oil Minister: Markets Will Not Rebalance By March
  • 14 hours Obscure Dutch Firm Wins Venezuelan Oil Block As Debt Tensions Mount
  • 18 hours Rosneft Announces Completion Of World’s Longest Well
  • 20 hours Ecuador Won’t Ask Exemption From OPEC Oil Production Cuts
  • 24 hours Norway’s $1 Trillion Wealth Fund Proposes To Ditch Oil Stocks
  • 1 day Ecuador Seeks To Clear Schlumberger Debt By End-November
  • 1 day Santos Admits It Rejected $7.2B Takeover Bid
  • 1 day U.S. Senate Panel Votes To Open Alaskan Refuge To Drilling
  • 2 days Africa’s Richest Woman Fired From Sonangol
  • 2 days Oil And Gas M&A Deal Appetite Highest Since 2013
  • 2 days Russian Hackers Target British Energy Industry
  • 2 days Venezuela Signs $3.15B Debt Restructuring Deal With Russia
  • 2 days DOJ: Protestors Interfering With Pipeline Construction Will Be Prosecuted
  • 2 days Lower Oil Prices Benefit European Refiners
  • 2 days World’s Biggest Private Equity Firm Raises $1 Billion To Invest In Oil
  • 3 days Oil Prices Tank After API Reports Strong Build In Crude Inventories
  • 3 days Iraq Oil Revenue Not Enough For Sustainable Development
  • 3 days Sudan In Talks With Foreign Oil Firms To Boost Crude Production
  • 3 days Shell: Four Oil Platforms Shut In Gulf Of Mexico After Fire
  • 3 days OPEC To Recruit New Members To Fight Market Imbalance
  • 3 days Green Groups Want Norway’s Arctic Oil Drilling Licenses Canceled
  • 3 days Venezuelan Oil Output Drops To Lowest In 28 Years
  • 4 days Shale Production Rises By 80,000 BPD In Latest EIA Forecasts
  • 4 days GE Considers Selling Baker Hughes Assets
  • 4 days Eni To Address Barents Sea Regulatory Breaches By Dec 11
  • 4 days Saudi Aramco To Invest $300 Billion In Upstream Projects
  • 4 days Aramco To List Shares In Hong Kong ‘For Sure’
  • 4 days BP CEO Sees Venezuela As Oil’s Wildcard
  • 4 days Iran Denies Involvement In Bahrain Oil Pipeline Blast
  • 7 days The Oil Rig Drilling 10 Miles Under The Sea
  • 7 days Baghdad Agrees To Ship Kirkuk Oil To Iran
  • 7 days Another Group Joins Niger Delta Avengers’ Ceasefire Boycott
  • 7 days Italy Looks To Phase Out Coal-Fired Electricity By 2025
  • 7 days Kenya Set To Give Local Communities Greater Share Of Oil Revenues
  • 7 days Rosneft, China To Deepen Strategic Cooperation
  • 7 days New York Listing Unlikely For Aramco IPO
  • 7 days China To Invest $83B In U.S. Shale
  • 8 days Aramco To Spend $100 Billion In Capital Expenditures Next Year
Alt Text

Putin Aims To Profit From China’s Silk Road Initiative

Despite U.S. sanctions on Russian…

Alt Text

Uzbekistan, Tajikistan Set To Rekindle Energy Ties

In signs of improving energy…

Alt Text

Kyrgyzstan Unveils Revamped Transnational Gas Pipeline

Kyrgyzstan officials and the head…

North Korean "Insanity" Part of Geopolitical Game

North Korean

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un may be colorful, but he isn’t crazy.

There is logic behind the intensified war rhetoric, and while it may be convenient for the American public to believe that they are about to be attacked unprovoked by the unhinged dictator of an eerily isolated country, the truth of the matter is that the US and its allies have been doing some offensive posturing that has Pyongyang very much on edge.  

North Korea on Tuesday threatened to attack the US and South Korea with “lighter and smaller nukes”. This threat has prompted South Korea to threaten to strike North Korea’s military command if “provoked” and the UN to move closer to slapping new sanctions on Pyongyang’s banking sector and diplomats.

The sanctions resolution was introduced by the US and China and specifically targets North Korean bankers and overseas cash mules. It also targets diplomats and seeks to lend added strength to air and sea cargo inspections going in and out of North Korea.

While mainstream media outlets are wont to describe North Korea’s rhetoric as increasingly bold, the threats and recent tests of long-range rockets and nuclear weapons are not the result of bravado, rather of fear.

Related Article: North Korea: Preparing for War

The US and its East Asia allies (namely South Korea and Japan) have been preparing for an offensive on North Korea ever since the death of Kim Jong-il. They see a window of opportunity in the instability of the fragile succession. 

Pyongyang has no choice now but to rattle its sabers--and rattling them at traditionally quiet South Korea is the most effective strategy. This is where North Korea can do the greatest damage, and if it feels that a US offensive is imminent, South Korea will come under attack. At the same time, an attack on South Korea will be the final justification for an all-out US-led offensive on North Korea.

Right now, Pyongyang is hedging its bets on whether the US is willing to sacrifice its ally to this conflict.

Is North Korea confident enough in its nuclear capabilities to act as a deterrent to a US-led regime change effort? The nuclear tests are meant to demonstrate that confidence, but they also demonstrate fear. 

The North Korea saga has been a long one, and threats have waxed and waned, always with various talking heads tossing about the idea of a major regional war. What’s different this time is that the US has clearly gone on the offensive and pushed Pyongyang into a dangerous corner. But there’s another potential geopolitical twist to this saga …

Sending NBA hero Denis Rodman to Pyongyang to entertain Kim Jong-un—a die-hard basketball fan—was said to be a goodwill gesture from Washington. Clearly, Washington’s policy decisions are nearly as colorful as Pyongyang’s.

Denis Rodman, oddly enough, is a tool (in the instrumental sense of the word). This is where it gets interesting. The US can take its preparations for an offensive against North Korea to a certain point. This point must be impeccably balanced with the aim of upping the ante in negotiations with Pyongyang. Once this is achieved, Washington’s new “pivot” towards Asia plans can enter another more delicate phase—a phase that recognizes the geopolitical importance of North Korea as an ally against China.

Related Article: How Far Will the US Go to Derail Iran-Pakistan Pipeline?

Certainly, this must be what the most cynically astute minds in Washington are thinking. At the same time that the US and South Korea undertake carefully designed war games that simulate an offensive on North Korea, Washington sends in Denis Rodman in a push and pull effort.

China has to play along for now because it understands that a nuclear weaponized North Korea could be a formidable blackmailer. North Korea could capitalize on this new geopolitics, or it could choose to attack South Korea and start off a major war. The ball, it would seem, is in Denis Rodman’s court. 

By. Jen Alic of Oilprice.com

Back to homepage

Leave a comment
  • Mark Breen on March 09 2013 said:
    What evidence can be offered to support the claim that the U.S. and it's allies have been preparing such an offensive? One would think that there would be any number of sources one could cite to support such a claim; the author only links to her own previous column. Non linear thinking is all well and good, but simply saying so does not make it so, and certainly does not qualify as thoughtfulness.
  • Mike on March 11 2013 said:
    Mark, the sort of evidence that you are talking about is the sort that gets you a long stay at Guantanamo Bay, did the whole Wikileaks thing pass you by?
  • Ronald Wagner on March 12 2013 said:
    We have stopped sending them free food and have blocked expensive gourmet items. This must be upsetting to them.

    North Korea is a puppet of China. They could shut him up very easily by not supporting this sock puppet.

    He is meant to distract us from the threat of China in the South "China" Sea. Oil and gas are at stake. That is the real reason we got involved in Vietnam.

    If North Korea ever attacks South Korea, we will have to destroy their very large armed forces, and it may involve nuclear weapons. That is what McArthur wanted to do. North Korea is ending the peace treaty so that gives us an excuse.

Leave a comment

Oilprice - The No. 1 Source for Oil & Energy News