Sunday, 16 April 2017

That Was Not a North Korean Show of Force

I don't usually write anything on Sundays other than my usual The Bible: A Very Grim Fairytale, but I have to just quickly write about the steaming pile of ordure that has been written across the spectrum vis a vis the North Koreans and their supposed show of force.

It was nothing of the sort.

It was their equivalent of Trooping of the Colour: impressively coordinated and marshalled for sure, but it hardly means they are capable of waging war with a superpower currently proposing to increase defence spending by a sum greater than North Korea's entire annual GDP. North Korea, after all, is famously incapable of generating enough electricity to keep the lights on all night. If they declared war they would probably have to call it off after a power cut darkened their situation room.

Are they making progress with their atomic, not nuclear weapons? Yes of course they are. But they are still a long way off being able to reliably make nuclear as opposed to atomic weapons. If you don't know the difference then feel free to look it up on Wikipedia. That's probably what North Korea did.

And there is no evidence that they have managed to miniaturise the technology to put atop a missile. Furthermore the missile technology leaves a lot to be desired too. They periodically fire a missile or two into the sea but that proves nothing other than that they are desperate for attention. They probably miss their targets by a hundred miles or more each time, there is no way of knowing what they were aiming at. The missiles frequently fail and, as I write this, they have fired another one tonight. It exploded soon after launch. The engineers will probably be sent to a firing squad for that.

But that nicely sums up the pretensions and delusions of this state. They want to be taken seriously but are laughable for precisely that reason. They try too hard, their bluster and angry denunciations never amount to anything. They have to smuggle in via China the technology to make their missiles and weapons work. They are based on decades old designs and rely on a Heath Robinson, make-do-and-mend approach. The same is almost certainly true of all of those missiles that trundled through the streets of Pyongyang on Saturday that seem to have so impressed impressionable media outlets. It proved nothing other than their enduring capacity to hoodwink newspapers that bridle at fake news.

The Fat Leader is desperate to prove himself on the world stage, but his desperation is showing. And he has now got himself into a standoff with a superpower and also with his neighbour and only real friend in the world, China. There is only one way that can end.

Only a couple of weeks ago John McCain insulted the Fat Leader and North Korea threatened war then too. North Korea threatens war on average once a week.

We all assume that its massive army really is capable of delivering mass casualties in South Korea if the balloon went up. But even that is less than certain. Its military is huge of course but badly equipped and held together with string. Most of its weapons are from the Soviet era. If it were ever called upon to fight it would likely soon run out of functioning equipment, ammunition and very soon soldiers too. If America chose to punish them for firing a missile or exploding another atom bomb they would quickly be exposed as a paper tiger. Conventional wisdom has long assumed North Korea is a threat and thus they have been appeased or at least tolerated. The truth is probably the opposite. For all of the headlines about terrible impending doom that is the prosaic reality. North Korea is about as much of a threat to the world as Belgium.

This weekend will pass off entirely without incident I predict and the crisis, this latest crisis, will pass. In the event that they do test another atomic weapon they risk a massive American response. They will thus likely back down. China will have been sufficiently alarmed however to ratchet up the pressure on its errant neighbour. Maybe, just maybe, the fat little tyrant has backed himself into a corner, has bluffed too far. His demise may not be far off now. Wiser heads may prevail and depose him. If there is any justice he will be tied to one of his malfunctioning missiles and fired into the sea of Japan. They will probably miss.

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