World leaders tightened sanctions on North Korea on Monday in an effort to deter the reclusive communist regime’s leader from developing nuclear weapons.
No consensus exists on how to stop Kim Jong Un from his wild pursuit of developing weapons of mass destruction, but a solution Tweeted by a former Navy SEAL commander last week is so ingenious that the United Nations may just want to consider it.
When former Navy SEAL Jocko Willink was asked how the North Korea issue should be approached, he didn’t reply with a military strategy or outline a surgical strike to take out Kim. Instead of dropping bombs, Willink said, we should drop iPhones. Twenty-five million of them.
“Drop 25 million iPhones on them and put satellites over them with free wifi,” Willink wrote on Twitter on Sept. 7.
Although the idea itself is counterintuitive and far fetched, Yun Sun, an expert on North Korea, told Business Insider that the core concept might just work.
“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,” Sun said.
As a result, Kim would aggressively oppose any plan similar to Willink’s.
South Korea has carried out a similar idea on a smaller scale in the past, flying in balloons with DVDs and pamphlets. North Korea responded militarily, fearing that its image among its citizens would decline once they saw the prosperity in free societies.
Dropping 25 million iPhones on North Korea may also have a downside because it is essentially “rewarding an illegitimate nuclear dictatorship” that “we know has committed massive human rights [crimes] against its people,” Sun said.
North Korea is representative of the devastation that a late-stage communist regime wreaks upon its people. The country is dotted with at least a dozen forced labor concentration camps where it’s feared around 400,000 of lives have perished, according to The Committee for Human Rights in Korea. Kim wields absolute control by feeding a cult of personality and killing and imprisoning anyone who he deems a threat.
As a result, while sending millions of high tech gifts to North Korea might make the people rise up, it could also backfire if most of the technology is seized “exploited first and foremost by the government,” Sun said.
But despite the downside, the plan appears to fare better than other options, at least in theory.
“They’re not going to denuclearize until their regime changes and society changes,” Sun said. “This approach may be the longer route, but it has the hope of succeeding.”