In The Shadow of the Mushroom Cloud

If you haven’t already heard…

Earlier today seismic activity in North Korea was detected. North Korea has tested (yet another) Nuclear Weapon in it’s game of brinkmanship vs. the world. Let’s just say everyone is pretty fucking hacked off about it since the biggest problem with a North Korean nuke is the belligerence of it’s owner. International Brinkmanship is the survival strategy of North Korea and this is just another tool in their arsenal.

Their entire role in the world is to threaten death and desolation on a grand scale if we don’t pay attention to them. And they have effectively solidified their rule. Now the only change that will occur to North Korea will come through mass uprisings rather than the barrel of an American tank.

Is that for the better or worse we will never no, just that the world has unfortunately become less safe.

I am interested in perspectives. I know I had a couple of Korean readers before (I noticed the hits on the blogspot blog…) so I am asking a genuine question.

I am fond of perspective. You see, we often try and put ourselves in other people’s shoes and sometimes we are incredibly wrong. I learnt a lot about Afghanistan and the Jihadi mentality by talking to afghani refugees.

So I want to ask a genuine question. What do you think about your neighbours and their latest toy? What do you think should be done or should have been done?


  1. arno says

    Speaking from a position of relative ignorance here. My understanding is that North Korea has enough traditional artillery positioned in range of Seoul to essentially destroy the city within a few hours – much faster than any substantial evacuation could take place. If that is the case, then the nukes are probably meant to scare off the US, China and maybe Japan.

  2. says

    I think we need to start letting the world know that we’re not going to give NK what it wants every time they threaten to fall down and make an awful mess. That’s what all of their crazy brinksmanship is for: get the world to give them stuff and not ask any questions for fear of making things worse. And that’s what makes things worse: the more we cave, the more we encourage the crazy ploy, the more crazy ploy we get, so the less safe everyone else is.

    At the very least, we need to start publicly saying that: a) we know NK is trying to use the threat of crazy behavior to coerce its neighbors; b) we’re not going to fall for it anymore; c) we know NK is a miserably failed state that’s acting crazy because they’re totally incapable of doing the most basic governance tasks for their own people; and d) it’s time for some real change in that region before things get even worse.

  3. GregB says

    It’s a giant mistake, born of years of self-serving western Cold War propaganda, to think that the warped regime in NK simply does this to pull hissy fits and get goodies from a compliant West. The regime both feeds off of and truly believes that the American-led west wants nothing more than the elimination of the Korean race (yes, I’m intentionally using that crudity as it is how these people view themselves–a holy, pure race).

    There is more historical evidence than we’d like to admit that US/UN actions during the Korean War directly lead to these paranoid notions about the world–massive extermination bombings of defenseless North Korean villages being but one example–and to this day we pick at those old scabs with large military exercises which clearly demonstrate our capability (and suggest the willingness) to destroy the north utterly.

    Indeed to this day both the US and North Korea remain in a state of war. It’s far past time to put aside this idiocy and start direct negotiations between the US and the NK regime. This hasn’t happened on the US side for the usual crass political reasons (one can never “look weak” due to bellicose conservative politicians). As to whether or not kleptocratic North Korean leaders will follow suit and meet with the West we can only speculate, but likely in time the regime is doomed as information spreads into the kingdom, and it’s worth trying to shape that inevitable result in ways that are more in keeping with a less dangerous world.

  4. lorn says

    The bad news is that NK has built another nuclear bomb and is sabre rattling. The good news is that every detonation of a nuclear bomb is one less bomb they can threaten other nations with. They may have effectively disarmed themselves. The US was in the same situation after dropping the bomb on Nagasaki. But unlike NK at present we were, at the time, able to feed our people and had the most productive and innovative economies on the planet.

  5. gridironmonger says

    I think China’s position is one of the more interesting and complicated aspects of this ridiculous mess.

    They would like to project an image of being powerful and important in the eyes of other nations…. but they have not stopped North Korea from doing things that China states are undesirable. They cannot even begin to pretend to be in control of North Korea (nor would they wish to explicitly claim so much — but they would prefer to have such control).

    If they take a hard line with North Korea, endorsing sanctions and cutting off trade, then they damage their domestic economy a little bit and they devastate North Korea’s economy — and hasten the collapse of the North Korean gov. They also lose their main leverage with North Korea.

    If the North Korean gov really falls, this will probably result in two outcomes — tons of NK refugees streaming into China despite whatever the risk of death that entails, and a hastened reunification of the Korean peninsula under a regime which is basically the South Korean gov (due to the larger South Korean population and economy). As such, the new united Korea would, in the predictions of the Chinese gov, maintain the close ties with the US of South Korea, including the 30K+ US military personnel on the border, but now share a land border with China.

    They are simultaneously a) in a corner, b) kind of impotent, and c) choosing between a rock and a hard place. And add to that that they made the bed they are now lying in.

  6. Saul Loia says

    “Mushroom” describes a variety of gilled fungi, with or without stems, and the term is used even more generally, to describe both the fleshy fruiting bodies of some Ascomycota and the woody or leathery fruiting bodies of some Basidiomycota, depending upon the context of the word.’.”;

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