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Mar 26 2013

One hopes the North Koreans haven’t completely lost their minds

We can only hope the North Koreans haven’t completely lost their minds and are angling for something tangible. On first glance that seems like a safe bet — they surely know any aggression toward the US would be suicidal — but then again history is full of idiots who drank their own koolaide and condemned themselves, their regime, and their innocent population to endless horror:

CBS News — North Korea, angry over routine U.S.-South Korean drills and recent U.N. sanctions punishing it for its Feb. 12 nuclear test, has vowed to launch a nuclear strike against the United States and repeated its nearly two-decade-old threat to reduce Seoul to a “sea of fire.” Despite the rhetoric, outside weapons analysts have seen no proof that North Korea has mastered the technology needed to build a warhead small enough to mount on a missile.

On Tuesday, the North Korean army’s Supreme Command said it will take “practical military action” to protect national sovereignty and its leadership in response to what it called U.S. and South Korean plots to attack.

“From this moment, the Supreme Command of the Korean People’s Army will be putting in combat duty posture No. 1 all field artillery units including long-range artillery units strategic rocket units that will target all enemy object in U.S. invasionary bases on its mainland, Hawaii and Guam,” Reuters quotes the North’s KCNA news agency as saying.

I don’t even want to think about what might happen to NoKo if they seriously tried to hit the US with a shitty Hiroshima knock off nuke atop a wobbly primitive rocket. Because just the attempt would put us in a position where we might not be able to afford waiting around for them to get it right. This means war. Or rather it means one-sided utter destruction with potentially millions of men, women, and children killed or maimed who had nothing to do with the decision to provoke us.

But you never know. Even in free countries with great access to all kinds of info people choose instead to believe some crazy shit. The so-called learning and discovery channels on cable are now riddled with complete nonsense about ghosts, ‘real’ stories of Biblical miracles, and finding bigfoot. If something as zany took root in the senior NoKo leadership, it’s conceivable they might convince themselves we are a paper tiger who could be knocked over by one shot.

12 comments

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  1. 1
    TGAP Dad

    The North Koreans are like a petulant child demanding attention, and throwing ever more forceful tantrums. On the one hand, they really don’t have any capability to strike a U.S. target with a nuke – at least not one delivered by missile, bomber or sub. On the other, we did totally lose our shit over a lucky one-off by a loose confederation of terrorists, and responded by invading two countries, one of which had nothing to do with it.

    The North Koreans don’t really have to do a massive strike to draw us into a war, all they’d have to do is hit one visible target to start the dominoes falling. We’ll do the rest all by ourselves.

    They did however torpedo a South Korean ship in 2009. It’s probably wise to keep that in mind…

  2. 2
    Deen

    Despite the rhetoric, outside weapons analysts have seen no proof that North Korea has mastered the technology needed to build a warhead small enough to mount on a missile.

    Then again, I don’t think you need a nuclear warhead to turn Seoul into a “sea of fire”. Conventional warheads probably work just fine for that. Same for a good old-fashioned carpet-bombing. Similarly, for attacks on Guam or Hawaii, conventional warheads could still do plenty of damage.

    But I agree that North Korea is most likely posturing for their home audience. I hope we’re right.

  3. 3
    busterggi

    Three generations of NoKo leaders claiming to be gods has finally convince the latest that he is. NoKo isn’t a communist country at all, its a theocracy.

  4. 4
    Nentuaby

    Nota Bene: Seoul (pop: 10,000,000+) is in artillery range from North Korean soil. There is a *godawful* amount of artillery parked on that very soil for that very reason. Naturally that’s also very easy range of a very wobbly rocket indeed. If they ever decide they want to kill a lot of people, they can certainly do it.

  5. 5
    Donovan

    North Korea reminds me of a chihuahua locked behind a fence. Nothing you do will stop the yapping. You can’t ignore it, you can’t force it to stop, and tossing your shepherd over to the rat-dog’s side is frowned on by a jury of your peers. Sure, it might just jump the fence and end the era of annoyance with shit-just-got-real time, but what is it going to seriously do to a full grown America? It’ll hurt like hell, but it can’t kill us.

    All we can and ought to do is tell China to muzzle their damned dog and treat it for parasites. Embarrass the hell out of China, make every opportunity to point out it’s China’s mutt, and pay it no further heed. The more aggressive we behave, the more wound up it’ll get at its own eventual expense.

    Trust me on this. I read the Dune series and now know a thing or two on diplomacy. I got this.

  6. 6
    StevoR : Free West Papua, free Tibet, let the Chagossians return!

    Hard to know what the North Korean dictatorship is thinking or what their capabilities are.

    They are in huge trouble in terms of economy, culture and are such a closed and messed up quasi-communist, quasi-theocratic One Party state with a cult of personality dictator of dubious sanity. I don’t know what they’ll do or how seriously their rhetoric really is – except that the wild threats the North Korean dictatorship is making are worrying. If they do mean what they say rather than bluffing then it’s going to be really ugly and a lot of people will die very nasty deaths.

    @1. TGAP Dad :

    On the other, we did totally lose our shit over a lucky one-off by a loose confederation of terrorists, ..

    Incorrect. The 9-11 attack on the Pentagon and World Trade Centre was NOT a one-off event. Even if you ignore previous attacks by Al Quaida outside America such as bombing embassies in Africa, kidnapping and murdering Daniel Pearl and the bombing of the USS Cole there was also the previous 1993 attempt to destroy the World Trade Centre in New York.

    Also seemingly minimising and downplaying a horrific terrorist attack that killed about three thousand innocent people? You really think that’s a good idea and a not pretty monstrous attitude to take? You think that 9-11 should have been ignored and shrugged off and had no consequences for the terrorists and the nations sheltering and supporting them?

    FYI. Saddam Hussein paid Palestinian homicide -suicide bombers families financial rewards and encouraged anti-Semitic Jihadist terrorism and also plotted the assassination of the first president Bush as well as using chemical warheads against the Kurds among so many other gross human rights violations.

    They did however torpedo a South Korean ship in 2009. It’s probably wise to keep that in mind

    Very true. Plus the North Koreans shelled a South Korean village last year or year before too killing again many innocent people. They are dangerous, have form of committing crazy self-destructive acts and it does seem possible that the dictatorship of the “People’s Republic” has determined to take the area down with it if it is in process of collapsing.

    Again, its hard to know just what is going on with North Korea and how credible a threat they pose. That they do pose *some* threat and could and may well wreck enormous carnage is however, clear enough.

  7. 7
    StevoR : Free West Papua, free Tibet, let the Chagossians return!

    @5.Donovan : “Trust me on this. I read the Dune series and now know a thing or two on diplomacy. I got this”

    If I recall right, diplomacy in Dune was often very far from successful & brute force and the threat of it kinda prevailed more often there.

  8. 8
    lorn

    Some time ago, a couple of years, a friend sent me links to a couple of sites that carried relatively unfiltered NK propaganda. It was interesting stuff. As I remember it the major points where:

    NK is a worker’s paradise and ahead of all other nations.

    To the extent it is not the finest nation citizens in NK can take comfort in 1)knowing they are one of the few nations that knows the truth; 2) led by a leader who trusts his citizens with the truth. 3) conspirators, both foreign and domestic, are to blame.

    Taking it all in it slowly dawned on me that there were a lot of parallels between NK propaganda and right-wing rhetoric in the US. The common assertion of US exceptionalism has a lot in common with NK assertions. Both cases suggest a common dilemma: how do you introduce reality to a population which has been systematically immersed in lies?

  9. 9
    Kilian Hekhuis

    The biggest threat to world peace would not be a war between the US and North Korea, but a potential Chinese involvement, just like the previous time. Only this time, China is a tad bit “bigger”.

  10. 10
    Ben P

    The biggest threat to world peace would not be a war between the US and North Korea, but a potential Chinese involvement, just like the previous time. Only this time, China is a tad bit “bigger”.

    China is a sticking point with North Korea, but but we’re not nearly as far apart as many think.

    I think China’s biggest concerns are, more or less in order:

    1. Keeping their economy humming along to the best extent possible.
    2. Not having to deal with a large North Korean refugee crisis.
    3. keeping the US from expanding its sphere of influence in Asia and from establishing more bases on China’s doorstep.

    Priority 1 requires that China keep at least on good enough terms with the US that we will still buy the stuff made in their factories. They need those exports and the associated hard currency more than we need the imports.

    I think recent evidence (China siding with us on North Korean sanctions) shows that China knows as well as we do that North Korea is a liability. This tells me that if the North Korean situation truly becomes dangerous, we could probably buy their tacit acceptance to any actions we have to take in North Korea. I’m sure they’d ask major major concessions, but we could probably find common ground.

  11. 11
    Ohbama Stalin

    North Korean Tourism

  12. 12
    Kilian Hekhuis

    I’m not sure you’re not too positive on China’s motives. Siding with sanctions doesn’t hurt China. Bordering a unified Korea dominated by the US may be a bit too much for them. But history will tell…

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