Ex-Navy SEAL Has Novel Idea to Defeat North Korea

It involves lots of iPhones and WiFi
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 12, 2017 7:53 AM CDT
Updated Sep 16, 2017 1:11 PM CDT
In this 2015 photo, a man sits in front of portraits of the late North Korean leaders Kim Il Sung, left, and Kim Jong Il, right, as he uses his smartphone in Pyongyang.   (AP Photo/Wong Maye-E, File)

(Newser) – Forget nukes and sanctions. A former Navy SEAL and current author has a more innovative idea for bringing down North Korea's regime. "Drop 25 million iPhones on them and put satellites over them with free wifi," tweeted Jocko Willink. This caught the attention of Business Insider, which floated it by an expert on North Korea at the Stimson Center, a think tank in DC. The bottom line? It's not as far-fetched as it might seem. "This approach may be the longer route, but it has the hope of succeeding," says Yun Sun. North Korea's leaders realize the peril of opening up its estimated 25 million citizens to the world, says Sun, pointing out that Pyongyang has responded militarily to much simpler balloon drops of pamphlets and DVDs from South Korea.

"Kim Jong Un understands that as soon as society is open and North Korean people realize what they're missing, Kim's regime is unsustainable, and it's going to be overthrown," he says. The internet is available in North Korea to a select few and on a limited basis, Slate explained in a previous post. For example, grad students at the Pyongyang University of Science and Technology have access, and while they're closely watched, the monitoring is almost unnecessary. "North Koreans learn self-censorship from an early age," writes Martyn Williams. "It’s key to survival," and few would risk the consequences of going to banned websites. In the meantime, the UN is sticking with more traditional approaches: On Monday, it imposed the toughest sanctions yet. (We suffer a dangerous knowledge gap when it comes to understanding the North.)

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