Monday, October 09, 2006

Nuclear Kimchi, DC Tyranny

It seems to me that we Americans pay a very high price for the shortness of our attention span. Some have lamented that the North-Korea-tests-a-nuke sensation has served Republican interests by diverting attention from Foleygate. To me, though, both are distractions from the more fundamental matter of America's self-awarded status as World Manager. The reality and legitimacy of that status is so deeply taken for granted on both sides of our political duopoly that few really think about it. Naturally, the U.S. is going to run the world; the only questions are: which U.S. political party will supply the managers and policymakers; and how efficiently will they discharge their duties?

Looking at the news story, it's clear that the Entire Responsible World is officially miffed; indeed, there seems to be a competition in the Rhetoric of Miffed-dom:
North Korea came under harsh international criticism after claiming to have carried out a successful underground nuclear weapons test on Monday.

China, a close ally of North Korea, denounced the claimed test as "brazen" and South Korea said it would respond "sternly." The United States said a test would constitute a "provocative act."

South Korea's president said Pyongyang's claimed test "broke the trust of the international community."

President Roh Moo-hyun said it brought "a severe situation that threatens stability on the Korean Peninsula and in northeast Asia."

South Korea would "react sternly and calmly" with "appropriate measures" in close cooperation with the international community, he told journalists after a summit with new Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

Abe told the same news conference his country would work "to make ways to implement action for a tough resolution."

Australian Prime Minister John Howard called for financial, trade and travel sanctions, saying a "strong international response is called for."

CNN's Dan Rivers, speaking from the demilitarized zone between North and South Korea, said the key question now was what China -- which effectively allowed North Korea to exist economically -- would do.

The apparent nuclear test was conducted at 10:36 a.m. (1:36 a.m. GMT) in Hwaderi near Kilju city, South Korea's Yonhap news agency reported, citing defense officials.
Well! It does indeed appear that the international community is in full outrage mode. I however, do not hold citizenship in the international community; I'm an American subject, and I have an intense -- and queasy -- interest in what my supervisors will do.

It occurs to me, first, that in developing and testing a nuclear weapon, North Korea has done nothing more than many of its accusers have already done. These accusers with dirty hands include Russia, China, and -- last but far from least -- the U.S. Why is a nuclear-armed North Korea more ominous to the peace of the world than a nuclear-armed America? Let's poll the contestants:

= = = = = = = = =

How many times have you used nukes in a war? (US, 1; NK, 0)

How many times, in the last 25 years, have you launched a military attack on another country? (US, 10; NK, 0)

Do you have the means of delivering nuclear warheads to distant targets? (US: Let me count the ways. NK: Assuredly: Tae-po-dong ICBM, sort of, and paddleboat!)

Are you a duh-mocracy? (US: Oh, yes, and we have the restrictive ballot-access laws to prove it! NK: the Dear Leader will always be kept in powerleadership by the unanimous demand of his adoring People!)

Is your chief executive a megalomaniac imbecile? (US: Yes, and it's hard work, too, real hard work, protectin' the Murkan people and all. NK: Urgle gurgle ZEEP! Pop, fizz, hiss.)

= = = = = = = = =

Yes, fearsome weaponry in the hands of murderous thugs is a big concern, all right. But most of my worries center near the Chesapeake Bay, not at the north end of the Korean peninsula. And no foreseeable electoral result is likely to change that.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

Powerful post!! This is the most chilling part:

How many times have you used nukes in a war? (US, 1; NK, 0)

How many times, in the last 25 years, have you launched a military attack on another country? (US, 10; NK, 0)

Do you have the means of delivering nuclear warheads to distant targets? (US: Let me count the ways. NK: Assuredly: Tae-po-dong ICBM, sort of, and paddleboat!)

However, most Americans are too nationalistic, er, excuse me, patriotic, to recognize such shortcomings in our own front yard. {"shortcomings" - what an understatement!}.

Perhaps the real danger will be if NK sells the weapons to Iran.

Bartleby said...

How many times, in the last 25 years, have you launched a military attack on another country? (US, 10; NK, 0)

Thanks for your kind words, Pam. The 10 US attacks may be too few; they're just the ones I could think of offhand since 1981:

1. Lebanon
2. Grenada
3. Panama
4. Iraq (take 1)
5. Somalia
6. Serbia, Bosnia, etc.
7. Sudan
8. Haiti
9. Afghanistan
10. Iraq (take 2)

Of course, Bush II isn't done yet, and who knows who succeeds him ... the leading Demo contenders aren't exactly principled antiwar folk, and God knows there ain't much in the GOP bullpen.