When it comes to North Korea, the Trump administration has been quick to rattle sabers regarding the threat of nuclear missile testing although it turned out the Naval Armada was traveling in another direction for maneuvers in the Indian Ocean. Fortunately, the last big North Korean missile launch was another flop–some news sources cite possible secret cyber countermeasures. However, the dropping by the U.S. of the largest non-nuclear bomb in Afghanistan and launching a cruise missile attack on Syria does seem to convey a message that the Commander in Chief is prepared to use the military–increasing tensions and risking war. Fortunately, however, it appears that wiser heads are prevailing and the President is realizing that international relations and threat of thermonuclear war will have horrific long term consequences.
Is it possible that a country could actually act like a destructive cult? If there is such a place on Earth, it seems that the regime in North Korea fills this role. Take a look at my BITE model and it is obvious that Information Control is near total as well as the other three components: Thought Control, Emotional Control and Behavior Control.
There is absolute ideology and submission to the great leader, Kim Jong-un. He has made himself look just like his grandfather Kim Il-sung. The danger for everyone outside this regime is that he has amassed nuclear weapons. The former Russian engineers and nuclear scientists hired after the fall of the Soviet Union have empowered the country to make nuclear bombs. If they continue to master the missile technology, then the regime might be able to not only attack South Korea and Japan, but also the United States.
North Korean citizens seem to either live in adulation of the fearless leader according to their massive public displays. They are not allowed to think negative thoughts or express them, for fear of being arrested, imprisoned, tortured or possibly even killed. It is a closed society and apparently even the Chinese government, their biggest ally has been unable or unwilling to influence Kim to stop. It remains to be seen if the current political situation changes in a positive way. I certainly hope so.
However, I think it might be a good moment to revisit the ATF and FBI’s handling of attacking the cult compound of David Koresh in Waco, resulting in a nearly two month siege that ended in tragedy. April 19th 1993, the FBI did a final military style assault to put gas canisters meant to drive the members out. But many cult members died. This assault on the compound by the U.S. government is seen by many extremists as justification for domestic terrorism, including the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing by ex-Desert Storm army soldier Timothy McVeigh. McVeigh had read the Turner Diaries by neo-nazi William Pierce and this reportedly was part of his radicalization.
Cult leader David Koresh had sex with at least one underage girl and well as all the other women members. But the government said they had evidence that the group was illegally making automatic rifles. Instead of luring Koresh into town and placing him into custody and then having him give orders to turn over the weapons, the ATF stormed the compound and a major gun battle erupted. Four federal agents and six members of the Branch Davidians were killed. Koresh saw himself as Jesus and had prophesied a fiery apocalypse. The FBI did not understand cult psychology and miscalculated David Koresh and his followers. They assumed the group would submit to threat. Instead, as I predicted at the time, the Davidians fought back–seeking the glory of martyrdom.
Using the Waco tragedy as how not to take on a cult leader, I thought it might be good to add my voice to experts who urge caution and indirect methods, including diplomacy, to de-escalate a situation that could destabilize the entire planetary and governmental ecosystem.
North Koreans have been unduly influenced to expect a fight at any time and to defend against one at all costs. As a recent article by Reuters, they are not afraid of war or of using nuclear weapons against anyone they deem a threat. As a nation, they will defend Kim Jong-un’s ideology at any cost. Without rational leadership, there is no real hope of them backing down.
So, what can be done? I believe there is a need for a radical reframing of how the world views cult influence. We need to look at the methods being used to control North Koreans and find ways to combat them. By raising awareness and welcoming any defectors, we can fight the influence that has taken hold in North Korea.
One person helping defectors is Peter Daley. He has made it his mission to help anyone lucky enough to escape North Korea. Daley’s site has many stories about his work with refugees. This type of loving acceptance can go a long way in making a difference on a global scale. Unfortunately, Daley’s attitude is not one that is universal. There have been many instances where those looking to escape have been met with hostility from other countries. As I have previously written, cult defectors need compassion and help to recover.
If the wall of information control by North Korea can be penetrated, and citizens see that there is help available to them, they might be more likely to defect and seek freedom. Once they are safe, we can learn from them what is happening and better plan ways to dissolve the threat. Many people do not remember that many in the North have relatives in South Korea. Numbers of supporters inside the country will start to dwindle and the North Korean forces will lose strength. It will not be an easy task, but strategic interactions have the ability to keep people safe and hopefully end the cult regime that has taken hold.