Privileged citizens allowed to live in Pyongyang lined the streets in late 2011 to mourn the death of their “Dear Leader”. People threw themselves down and wailed almost comically in a show of unadulterated passion for the State. I would say the incentive to act with grief was high, considering a work camp or death would be the consequence for anything alternative. North Korea is under the grip of raw, unfiltered Authoritarianism that is starting to mimic a Pharaoh-like hereditary rule of half-god kings. There is no State on earth that is more diametrically opposed to the Liberty Movement.
So, as Libertarians, what do we do about it? It would be one thing if they kept to themselves. However, since assuming his reign, Kim the Third has been saber-rattling at an alarming rate. North Korea has initiated several missile test launches, performed provocative military drills and conducted an underground nuclear detonation to put a cherry on top. Now with threats to nuke a major US city on the west coast, can Libertarians really turn a cheek, be friends and hope they play nice? Where is the line drawn with consideration to the Non-Aggression Principle? The initiation of force is immoral, and self-defense is moral.
To be fair, the United States bullied its way into the affairs of the peninsula in the 1950s to engage in a hopeless and bloody attempt to “contain” the spread of Communism. As you can see, the conflict was so effective that it ended in a perpetual state of war through a shaky cease-fire and the buildup of one of the most militarized areas on earth. Ever since, the US has had tens of thousands of troops stationed in South Korea, kept a strong naval presence parked offshore and set up a grid of air bases capable of bombing the totalitarian regime into oblivion. The North Korean Army has an aged but expansive arsenal of equipment and highly trained ground soldiers. If the Korean War were to re-engage, there is no doubt it would be extremely violent on a massive scale.
The solution that many Libertarians would come up with is simple: Leave them alone! It is absolutely reasonable to assume that North Korea builds up a massive show of force because of the United States. It is an instinctual and primitive reaction to prepare for war when the enemy is pointing weapons at you. It is the height of hypocrisy for the Global American Empire to chastise a nation for being hostile while holding a gun to their head with a round chambered.
Let’s assume a Libertarian gets elected President in 2016 and vows to stop intimidating North Korea. The President reaches out to all disenfranchised nations of the world and promises a new era of world peace. The new President does what Ron Paul suggests and starts to trade with everyone on an equal basis. What does the President do if North Korean tanks roll in as American troops roll out? What if the day the last solider leaves South Korea, the North attacks? Technically, we are not being threatened and we are not being attacked. Where would the justification for helping the South Koreans come from, if any at all?
It is a very hostile and dangerous situation indeed, but there is a silver lining. The American public is weary of war. The US has been at war for over ten years in Afghanistan, Iraq and the indefinite global war on terrorism. The federal government will be hard pressed to sell preemptive war with North Korea. Couple that fact with the nation going through fiscal crisis after fiscal crisis and the continuously slumping economy; it would take an outright attack by North Korea for the US to go to war. As for the here and now, the best thing that could be done is to avoid conflict at all costs. One person dying for the State and special interest is one too many!