Monday, April 8, 2013

Much ado about nothing

Haven't been paying much attention to the news lately, but on the rare occasions when I did in the past week, it seemed like North Korea and its one or two nuclear warheads and its one-step-above-an-ox-cart delivery system were the main topics of discussion. Listening to the professional bloviators and fear-mongering politicians, you'd think that North Korea and its figurehead of a leader, Kim Jung Un, posed a global threat akin to the alien spaceships in the movie "Independence Day." If you believed the bloviators, you'd believe all Kim has to do is push a button and most of the West Coast will be transformed into smoldering rubble.

The truth is, of course, that if Kim pushes a button, it's far more likely that North Korea (or at least its launch facility) will be the site smoldering. North Korea doesn't exactly have a lengthy track record of successful launches of anything. Their long range missiles are more likely to blow up (or fizzle out) on the launch pad than they are to make it off the ground, and when the missiles do launch successfully, they don't seem to go where they were supposedly aimed. If North Korea decides to bomb Seoul, odds are they'll accidentally nuke Pyongyang instead.

As for North Korea posing a threat to the United States, pshaw. There's been a lot of blathering about a North Korean missile hitting the west coast, but when you listen closer, it turns out the "west coast" is actually western Alaska. As in the Aleutians. Somehow I find it hard to believe the North Korean military would waste one of its handful of warheads by trying to bomb Tanadak or Ugidak Island. Wiping out a seal colony wouldn't seem to have much propaganda or tactical value. Besides, the North Koreans, isolated and nuts though they may appear, are aware that for every nuclear weapon they have, the U.S. has 3,000 or more. They know that if they were stupid enough to ever use a nuke, they'd be utterly annihilated in less than an hour. The posturing and threats are bizarre, but they're not real. They're theater designed to help keep the Kim family in power

Still, I can understand why the Japanese and South Koreans would be nervous. There's always the possibility that the ongoing puppet show that's designed to make Kim Jung Un appear as militaristic and batshit crazy purposeful as his father and grandfather could get out of hand and a missile aimed at Seoul or Tokyo could be accidentally launched. But given that all the actual experts on North Korea are pretty much in agreement the whole build-up to "war" is designed for internal consumption as a way to shore up the Kim family's position, I don't see any reason for the media in this country to spend as much time obsessing about the non-threat as they do.


  1. You like to use "Pshaw", don't you??

  2. Pshaw. You're imagining things again.

  3. I didn't actually know any of these details, but the "threat" didn't even get my heart rate up.


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