B.R. Myers Responds to Criticism About His Belief that North Korea’s Nuclear Weapons Are Intended to Unify the Peninsula


ROK Drop favorite B.R. Myers has been one of the strong advocates of the viewpoint that the overall goal of North Korea’s nuclear weapons program is to force the withdrawal of US troops and create a confederation of the Korean peninsula under North Korean terms.  This viewpoint has apparently led to a lot of criticism by people who think the nuclear weapons are just to keep the US from trying to militarily remove the Kim Regime and that the North Koreans are not stupid enough to think they can actually unify the peninsula on their terms:

Image of B.R. Myers from the Korea Herald.

Oddly enough, the most furious people are on the softline or apologetic part of the Pyongyang-watching spectrum. They never get this worked up when North Korea is called a gangster state, a drug-running operation or a giant gulag. Nor do they express such fervent opposition to (say) imperialist proposals for the US and China to get together and decide the fate and political character of the peninsula on their own.

No, it seems that the craziest, most reprehensible thing one can possibly say about North Korea is that it wants to unify the peninsula with as little bloodshed as possible. And apparently the worst thing one can say about the South Koreans — “INSANE” “psychobabble” even – is that the North might have reason to believe they wouldn’t fight to the death against such an effort. (Needless to say, I never said South Koreans are ready to “give away” their republic, as “T.K.” is no doubt well aware.)

I repeat: it is self-styled progressives and liberals who find these ideas so scandalous. True, I have often clashed at conferences with South Korean conservatives who bristle at my emphasis on the North’s nationalism. Being nationalists themselves, albeit of a more moderate sort, they think it makes the regime look too respectable, dignified, legitimate. I am told to chalk up the unification drive to a communizing urge — “it sounds scarier that way,” I was helpfully advised — or to the regime’s evil desire to cause as much suffering as possible. But the other side of the spectrum now seems far more upset.

Particularly striking is the general tendency to identify the idea as my personal thing. “T.K.” has not yet questioned the sanity of South Korea’s Minister of Unification, though he too is alarmed by increasing signals that Pyongyang wants to use its nukes to take over the peninsula. And many quite moderate analysts in South Korea have been saying much the same stuff since the 1990s. But for the Westerners now raging on Twitter, this is my trademarked idea. (As it becomes harder and harder to refute, the tendency will no doubt go in the opposite direction.)  [B.R. Myers]

You can read much more at the link, but B.R. Myers is not the only person who has been advocating this viewpoint.  It makes me wonder if the criticism he is receiving is caused more by the fact that his viewpoint is gaining traction with people inside the Trump administration?



I am a US military veteran that has served all over the world to include in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Korea. I have been blogging about Korea, Northeast Asia, and the US military for over 10 years.


  1. I think it is a pretty good opinion. nK works to drive the wedge between the US and South Korea. They work the issues right it could work out. No I don’t think nK will attack south, but in their playbook they won’t have to. nK setting the conditions so the idiots in the south invite them in (like the Olympics).

  2. We’ve already had one lefty coup. Not impossible that they’d lay out the unification mat and abrogate the US-ROK alliance.

  3. I think you may be right, that is, the attacks are not on Myers’ actual positions (which are well-reasoned and, imho, convincing), but based on the skewed belief that if the Trumpistas like these ideas then there must be something wrong with the ideas. Confirmation bias, I think we call that. I don’t like Trump one bit, but his NK policies, so far, have been a lot more straightfoward than Obama’s. And however much respect I have for Obama, the bulk of his foreign policy, again, imho, sucked.

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