Tuesday, May 25, 2010

TheWar of Northern Aggression


via Google images

All is not peachy and sunny as these North Korean babes (via Beloved Leader Kim Jong-il) would have you believe. Take a nice, good look at this...and now imagine hundreds of thousands of people being starved by the government... literally dying on the streets, on railroad tracks, in concrete, government housing.

What has been happening the last few days between North and South Korea has been personally un-nerving. Mainly because this writer, having been born and having lived under a similar closed society regime for eleven years, does not believe the international community has a solution for North Korea.

On Monday, South Korea cut off trade with North Korea, denied North Korean merchant ships use of its sea lanes and called on the United Nations to once again censure the North for what it called the deliberate sinking of one of its warships by a North Korean submarine. Forty-six sailors were killed in the March 26 sinking.

Past experience with sanctions has shown that only innocent people are affected by embargoes. North Korea's citizens have been starving in the streets for decades. And the world has yet to find solutions for dealing with closed society systems; particularly ones with nuclear capabilities (Iran--and make no mistake, Iran is a closed, totalitarian regime--if you believe otherwise you are naivé)

South Korea formally designated North Korea as its “principal enemy” in 1994 after the North threatened to turn Seoul into a “sea of fire” during the height of an international crisis over its development of nuclear weapons. But that designation was dropped in 2004, the same year the two Koreas also suspended propaganda broadcasts across their border.

The North Korean leader, Kim Jong-il, whose government has threatened an “all-out war” against any sanctions, has ordered his military and reserve forces to be ready for war, said an organization of North Korean defectors on Tuesday. Last Thursday, when the South formally accused the North of torpedoing its ship, a senior North Korean general relayed Mr. Kim’s order through a broadcast to intercoms fitted at most North Korean homes, said North Korea Intellectuals Solidarity, a Web site based in Seoul and run by North Korean defectors.

Moreover, concerns over this grave situation have shaken global markets--particularly the super-fragile European economy.

“The North Korean situation is also putting pressure on stocks,” said Philippe Gijsels, head of research at BNP Paribas Fortis Global Markets in Brussels. “In a normal environment, this wouldn’t be having such a big impact — they talk about going to war every few months, it seems. But markets are quite nervous and will take any excuse to sell off.” (NY Times)

At this point, no one has any idea why the DPRK sank the South Korean ship in March. No one has much of an idea of anything that's happening inside that country.

Secretary of state Hillary Clinton wrapped up two days of high-level meetings with the Chinese in Beijing on Tuesday with no progress on winning China’s backing for international measures against North Korea.

So where we stand is basically on the sidelines, with no viable solutions. The situation is grave; North Korea pops up, it seems, every few months with bizarre behaviour and aggressive tactics. Time and time again the international community has shown it has no answers other than imposing embargoes on an already starving population.

My father, a simple peasant at heart, once told me: often times people don't understand or thoroughly process anything but extreme violence and oppression brought down upon them. The brutes of North Korea ought to be exterminated with nuclear weapons. And with extreme prejudice (he likes to quote from Conrad's Heart of Darkness, whenever possible).

While I'm far from endorsing that hawk-ish proclamation, I can't help to wonder what exactly it would take to tame an insane cult leader.