The Surreal Case of North Korea

North Korean Missiles

A friend of mine recently suggested to me that I write a post detailing what I think about North Korea.

In fairness, I have no idea what to say.

This is a country like no other on earth. One that lives through unimaginable brutalities every day, and which we in the west are content to let linger in a long, horrible nightmare that has, for the people of this hermit kingdom, lasted over 50 years. See the movie Kimjongilia if you want to know what life is like in this benighted country. It will horrify you. My brother in law, who’s a film director, once interviewed a survivor, which seems the only appropriate word to use, of North Korea. He asked the man’s South Korean handler if his story was particularly terrifying.

He said no. They’re all like that.

We turn a blind eye because…I’m not entirely sure why, to be honest. I imagine it has a lot to do with not wanting to antagonize China, given what happened last time the west tried to extirpate this vicious bunch of thugs. Read Kissinger’s Nixon in China for an account of how Mao’s China went to war to defend this stupid little republic.

And because they have nuclear weapons.

It seems pretty clear now that this is the case. North Korea now has a small nuclear bomb that it is capable of putting in a missile. A missile that could potentially eradicate part of Japan, South Korea, US Bases in the Pacific Ocean, or even, and this is the ultimate nightmare scenario, if unlikely, the continental United States itself.

We all woke up a little less safe this morning. But my first thought goes to the people of Japan. How unfair that one country should have such a sordid nuclear history to begin with, and now have to live with the almost daily threat of annihilation.

And needless to say, the people of North Korea have a lot less reason to be hopeful now. No one will be coming to liberate them from this hyper-repressive regime anytime soon. The risk is now too great.

The ultimate outcome depends a lot on what China decides to do. China remains the DPRK’s biggest supporter. Indeed, without Chinese aid, it’s doubtful the people of the country could survive at all, let alone that the regime could possibly survive.

But of course, China likes this. China enjoys having a client state under it’s control. It feels that this is natural. And as such, is unlikely to do more than slap the young Kim-Jong Un on the wrist.

But in the end, today’s developments signal the likely freezing of the status quo on the Korean peninsula. I’m not really listening to the threats. I tune them out. This is such a ludicrous regime that it actively benefits from racheting up the international tension like this. I imagine they’re bluffing. I don’t think they’d do it. Bomb a nearby country, I mean. I don’t believe that even they are that twisted.

And if they are? If I’m wrong? Well, to quote probably the greatest president the United States never had, they should prepare to be ‘blown off the face of the earth with the fury of God’s own thunder.’