So if “the Intelligence operations” say that Canada is planning to invade the U.S. next week with its fearsome army of mecha-wearing genetically-engineered super-soldiers, we all just shrug and say “Gee, I guess they must know better than I do!” As citizens of a democratic republic, we are ultimately responsible for the decisions made by the people we elect to lead the country. Yes, we may take into account that the military and intelligence services have access to information we don’t, but we can’t just stop there. We have a free press, we have all sorts of sources of information on the Web (of widely varying credibility and accuracy), we have the possibility of people within the military and intelligence establishments using the free press to leak all sorts of classified information to the public (with the leakers having all sorts of agendas of their own). Of course it would be easier if we could just sit back and say “Oh, I’m sure those smart fellas at the Pentagon and the CIA and the White House all know exactly what they’re doing”, but no one ever said being a citizen of a democratic republic in the nuclear age was “easy”.
Why is North Korea suddenly going crazy? One, they know that the US military is focused on Iraq, and so we can’t easily deploy more force to the region any time soon. So now is a safe time to rattle the sabers. Two, North Korea is starving to death. They are threatening war and nuclear devastation in an attempt to blackmail the US into sending them food and fuel oil. I personally believe that North Korea really has no intention of actually using its nukes, they just want the nukes for extortion purposes.
And so China, Russia, South Korea and Japan are all perfectly happy to demand that we pay off North Korea, since we have the deep pockets. But North Korean force can’t really threaten the US. The real threat is to South Korea. If a second Korean War breaks out a large portion of South Korea is going to be devastated, win or lose. So South Korea hopes we pay up to defuse the situation, even if the North is bluffing.
Three, Bush suspended oil shipments to Korea. Four; Bush, ever the diplomat, called Kim Jong Il a “pygmy”.
China holds the key. Pressure has to be brought on China to thereupon bring pressure on to North Korea.
In the last decade, the North Koreans have been spending beyond their means, without doubt. As I said in another thread recently, any country which has it’s priorities so far out of whack as to let their peoples fall into a series of famines caused through mismanagement, whilst ALSO spending money it doesn’t have on a military program it can’t possibly prop up in real terms WITHOUT causing further harm to the indiginous population of North Korea, is a country which honestly deserves nothing but contempt and ridicule.
Still, the threat of nuclear assault is one which has to be taken seriously, whilst concurrently sorting out the problem surreptitiously.
Personally, I’m rather content with how the US Administration is handling the matter right now. The North Koreans are doing everything possible, with the exception of actually starting a fire fight, to be a collective pain in everyone’s ass. It’s very much like the kindergarten child who insists on throwing tantrum after tantrum after tantrum.
Nonetheless, my perception of the situation is this… the US Administration recognises that North Korea is begging for attention, and to make public statements right now which are reactions to such attention seeking behavior would play entirely into the North Korean’s hands. Moving B52 abd B1 bombers around the shop is part of the statesmanship involved - it says something without saying something.
Moreover, I also perceive the US Administration as being very much aware that China is the only country which can TRULY bring sufficient pressure to bear on the North Koreans to get them to pull their heads in.
Indeed, the total lack of public comment by both the US Administration and China at the moment actually says positive things to me if truth be known. My gut feeling is that some frantic “behind the scenes negotiation” is taking place, and one day the truth will come out. Certainly, whatever happens, North Korea will remain an economic basket case unless South Korea comes to it’s rescue.
And for North and South Korea to reunite to sort out NK’s economic woes - in a manner similar to East and West Germany? I don’t perceive that China would overly object, IF the US were to withdraw it’s forces… no, not at all.
I am not particularly concerned about this threat for two reason. First, I live on the eastern seaboard, so I’m safe, right? Second, how many missiles and nukes does North Korea have? Seems to me that even if they were to carry out their threat, once they’ve shot their wad, they would be completely and utterly naked and exposed to massive, no, make that total retaliation. Even someone as crazy as a shithouse rat (read: Kim-Jong Il) has to realize that this dog don’t bark.
Um, hate to hijack here, but what’s the reliability of that article? It’s primary source is a Korean man in Tokyo who has “links” to North Korea. Furthermore, the article states that North Korea has 100 (nuclear) weapons already. Even more astonishing is that anyone could believe North Korean missiles could strike any American cities that far in, especially NYC and DC.
Yeah, we suspended oil shipments that we agreed to if they agreed to stop their nuclear program. They started up their nuclear program, we stop the oil shipments. The oil shipments were nothing more than extortion anyway. We don’t owe them oil in return for them not nuking us.
And why should the president of the US refrain from disrespecting a totalitarian dictator? The North Koreans are the ones begging for oil and food, how about THEY be the polite ones?
Its eminently logical - if NK doesn’t really want a conflict.
See, if they don’t want a conflict (and while they put on a big tough guy act, it seems they dont’ want a war because they’d be trashed in a real fight) then it makes sense to put them on hold or deal with them quietly. And in fact, the US gov has put out feelers via South Korea. Attacking NK would be stupid, however, and pointless, although I would enjoy crushing their government to non-existance.
The key thing is that they cannot conquer the South and they really need the oil we provide. Sicne they cannot get it without us in the bargain, they want to threaten and bluster us into submission. Bush isn’t having it, so they want to up the ante. But I think they aren’t suicidal; or at least North korea’s real power, the military, isn’t. In any event, NK doesn’t have anything to do with global terrorism.
I don’t think the government of North Korea has a right to exist let alone the right to relatiate. They have a long history of aggression including incursions into S. Korea, kidnapping Japanese and S. Korean citizens, and let’s not forget the violation of human rights against their very own citizens. To argue that N. Korea has a right to defend themselves is like arguing that a bank robber has a right to shoot the security guards in self-defense.
We should nuke the bastard, they have gone to far. They threaten the world security, I hate him because he wanted to kill my da. They are EVIL!!!
LALALALALALA LAI don’t want to listen about Nk, LALALALALA LALALA
Honest to God: ** SSigned ** was a typo… spooky.
i didn’t say it wasn’t justified; but punitive actions always have consequences that may not be in America’s best interest. I think we should take the long view of the impact of our actions, not just automatically exert our authority every time we think another country is misbehaving.
The arrogance of this statement is doubly scarey when it is obviously shared by the leader of the free world. Discretion is the also the better part of diplomacy; or in the words of my father, “You catch more ants with honey than with vinegar”.
Fair enough. Though I actually said almost no standing army in Iraq, which is a somewhat weaselly qualifier, but I think it’s appropriate. From your link:
Which, compared to North Korea’s current strength, is pretty minimal.
Check out the table of data at the bottom of that page too. I’m left with the impression not only could the US kick Iraq’s ass with ease, but also that North Korea could make short work of the task themselves, if they chose to do so.
It really only serves to prove my point. If we’re going to talk about how big the “players” are in the global environment, North Korea is a bigger fish by far. And suggesting that Iraq is more of a credible threat to US forces than NK seems even more ridiculous to me now.
By the way, thanks for the link!