Monday, 17 April 2017

Something Has to Give on North Korea and It's Their Turn


Well, so far at least, it seems to be working doesn't it. North Korea tried to fire another missile into the sea over the weekend but for now its atomic bomb test has not taken place.

Incidentally, for those who worry about North Korea, ask yourself this: if this is a state so dangerous how come it takes them days or even weeks to actually prepare themselves for one of these tests? Nuclear weapons are supposed to be a deterrent, a way of ensuring mutually assured destruction and thus keeping the peace. But if one side takes weeks or even months to fire their weapons the scales are not even are they? Perhaps the doves in North Korea tempted to despatch the Fat Leader should ponder that. If America is the hostile force it is portrayed as, then how come it hasn't long ago nuked them or invaded?

Here we are not much less credulous than those who live in that impoverished state and believe its bombastic propaganda, although at least most North Koreans only have one source of information and have been brainwashed all of their lives. We know that this is an isolated hermit country that started the Korean War and is only kept from humiliation and starvation thanks to the charity of others. North Korean collectivised farms have tractors donated by the European Union. It cannot keep lights on all night. It's military is hopelessly out of date. And though they are certainly very very good at frogmarching this wouldn't do them much good on the battlefield. Their southern neighbours would probably beat them hands down. Allied with the US it would all be over inside a week.

Most of us laugh at North Korea for the very good reason that it is ridiculous. But what is nearly as ridiculous is the media coverage of it as some kind of real life Bond villain complete with its own subterranean lair creating nuclear schemes to extort money from the world. Except that is exactly what has been happening under US administration after administration. They have bought the propaganda and decided to err on the side of caution. North Korea has exploited their naivety.

Apparently those who fear them have not noticed that they threaten war and thermonuclear armageddon regularly. They threaten it against anyone who makes a joke or even a movie about them. They once even threatened a west London barber. They would probably have threatened this blog by now but are too busy threatening the million or so other tweeters and bloggers who ridicule the leadership. It's a list that will have been added to this weekend. Still, I'm sure that they're getting around to me.

And yes I do know that they are in possession of actual bona fide atom bombs (not nukes) and that they are getting better at building them. They have certainly improved at making missiles too. Sometimes they even manage to fly for a few hundred yards before exploding. But it's all very hit and miss and when you are threatening the world with your weapons it is best to be sure that they actually work. For now, thankfully, they don't.

America has been trying and failing to deal with the North Korea issue going back to the 42nd president at least. Now the 45th is intent on a new approach. He is calling their bluff. And once again this blog feels compelled to give praise where it's due. Trump has probably been advised by those who know more than him, including his predecessor, that North Korea is the most pressing issue of his presidency. He also knows that time is running out. If this tiny and impoverished nation can extract concessions when it is not a threat other than a theoretical one, then what can it extract when it is a real one? Hand over Samsung? Hand over as much cheese as the Fat Leader can eat? Hand over South Korea? Trump has rightly decided that enough is enough.

Trump may be bluffing with his threats this weekend. But equally he might not. I earnestly hope it is the latter. He is said to be hugely impressed by all things military and by the capabilities of the services of which he is now commander in chief. He should be cautious of course. But he should also be prepared to use them if North Korea refuses to back down. He holds all the cards and they have bluffed successfully with no cards at all for too long. Best to hit them hard before they get to shuffle the pack.

Presumably the North is receiving a lot of angry frantic calls from China telling it to behave itself. Everyone always says that they are not as mad as sometimes appears to be the case. It all depends if the Fat Leader is willing and able to back down and whether doing so would be fatal to his leadership. His regime is a a lot less confident than it likes to appear to be. It won't take much to bring  fatty down. Stand by for the end game. He played his hand and pushed too far. America cannot allow him to acquire the weapons he thinks will guarantee his survival. They will actually seal his fate.    

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