Heather Hastie on the problem of North Korea

I call your attention to a new piece at Heather’s Homilies, “The problem of North Korea.” Like many, I’ve been concerned that the fact that a wacko is head of state in both the U.S. and North Korea makes the peninsula a powder keg, a possible site for a nuclear war. Heather has convinced me that, insofar as Trump listens to Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis, the danger is less than I thought.

Go over and have a look at her piece. As usual, it’s thoughtful and thorough. Here’s a cartoon of what I worried about, taken from Heather’s post:



  1. Posted May 3, 2017 at 10:50 am | Permalink

    Any second now he’ll realize I am truly crazy, and I win the chicken game.

  2. jeffery
    Posted May 3, 2017 at 12:03 pm | Permalink

    If there WERE a “Satan”, the situation on the Korean peninsula would be one of his greatest achievements (in addition to making people believe that the Wholly Babble and the Koran are the literal word of God): a population held hostage, under horrid conditions, by a megalomaniac, brutal. self-indulgent despot who has created his own religious “cult of self”. He holds not only his OWN people hostage, but all the millions living just a short distance across the border in South Korea; civilian casualties would be horrific in any conflict, and he KNOWS that everybody knows this. Decades worth of sanctions have caused no change in the NK regime’s behavior: they routinely lie, break agreements, and currently, when admonished about doing this or that, will turn around and immediately do it again out of sheer defiance, as would an unruly child. His regime is, to all accounts, heavily involved in the international drug trade and counterfeiting (and whatever other contraband will make them “hard” currency); he “farms out” his own people to work in other countries at slave wages, and holds possibly hundreds of thousands of his own citizens in brutal labor camps. Even if Kim started cooperating with the international community, it would only guarantee that he would remain in power and that these abuses would continue.
    The ONLY “solutions” seem to be either the application of sanctions to the extent that the population, his “power-base”, all starve to death (and, of course, he and his military would be the last to do so)or that of a “targeted strike” on him and his entire inner circle, which, given the paranoid nature of the regime and the decades-old brainwashing of the army and populace, would probably still end up provoking a violent response from them. Little help can be expected from China, as they’re dead-set against having a Democratic, unified Korea with close ties to the U.S. on their border; it would destabilize their own system and end up, as the “reconstruction” progressed (estimated to cost at least four trillion dollars itself) with hordes of Chinese trying to cross into the “new” Korea in an attempt to better their lives. Toss in the centuries-old “tradition” of the ingrained Chinese belief that Koreans are “subhumans”, and you have a TRULY diabolical situation. If there WERE any kind of “easy” answer to the problem, it would have been tried by now. The U.S. really has no business “policing” the affairs of other countries, and our “experiments” in regime-change have not turned out well (that’s putting it mildly), but the growing threat of a nuclear strike from NK (and they have numerous subs that could launch missiles from nearer the U.S., or even blow themselves up, offshore, in a “dirty bomb suicide-strike”), not to mention the drug trafficking and counterfeiting of U.S. dollars, DEMAND that SOMETHING must be done. No matter what happens, it’s extremely doubtful that it’s going to be good…..

  3. Ken Kukec
    Posted May 3, 2017 at 12:59 pm | Permalink

    … insofar as Trump listens to Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis …

    Trump hasn’t given much indication that he listens to Tillerson. His selection to head up Foggy Bottom seemed to be more of a reality-show casting decision by Trump than the choice of a key advisor.

    Trump does seem to have an authoritarian jock-sniffer’s regard for General Mattis, especially since Mattis has a cool nickname. Once Mike Flynn got kicked off the White House lawn, the three four-star generals in Trump’s cabinet (technically, two in the cabinet and one as National Security advisor) look to be his best selections. They may represent the world’s best hope for avoiding a conflagration.

    • infiniteimprobabilit
      Posted May 3, 2017 at 8:57 pm | Permalink

      I find it quite ironic (though far from unprecedented) that we’re looking to the military top brass to be the voice of sanity.

      (As an aside, the two bad-hair loonies have just cost me $300. That was the cost of swapping my air ticket to Vladivostok via Seoul, to one via Changchun. Seoul is just 20 miles from the Nork border, so flights could well be delayed or disrupted. Changchun is 200 miles safely inside China, well away from the Norks and, incidentally, from any gung-ho trigger-happy Navy gunners who can’t tell an Airbus from a MiG.)


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