North Korean Missile Crisis

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Is that an appropriate title? I suppose it depends on your point of view as to whether or not North Korea should be allowed to test their missiles.

Many countries around the world say no; our own president calls the missile tests a “problem.” Yet Kim Jong Il claims that he should be allowed to test the missiles in the name of defense, citing the U.S. as one of his biggest threats.

So who is right?

On the one hand, testing ICBMs is, in fact, a provocative action. Despite claims that they require the missiles as part of their defense strategy, when the entire world, even your allies, tell you to cut it out or there will be consequences, perhaps you should cut it out. Just a thought.

On the other hand, with the United States invading countries without any sort of provocation, perhaps North Korea really does have something to worry about. In fact, we told them that a missile test would provoke us, so now we even have an excuse (a paltry one, but an excuse nonetheless) to go steaming in and topple the whole regime.

I think we need to more closely examine why Kim Jong Il feels so strongly about this. After all, China, North Korea’s closest ally, didn’t want the missile tests to happen. Why, then, is the dictator so persistent? There has been much speculation, including some thoughts about Il needing to prove that he’s as tough or tougher than his father. I suspect that the real reason, or part of it, is that he wants respect. Remember how he was made fun of in Team America (also see this clip from The Daily Show and this clip from MADtv)? He has previously said that Bush’s naming of North Korea as part of the “Axis of Evil” was disrespectful and has said that Six-party talks could resume if the U.S. were to treat his country with more respect.

What do you guys think about this? Is North Korea in the right to test their missiles, or is the rest of the world in the right to tell them not to? If we wanted to test some sort of new weapon, do you think we would listen if anyone told us to stop?

I’ll leave you with this comment, paraphrased from one made this morning on The Early Show by Harry Smith, basically saying that North Korea shouldn’t be ignoring its allies, doing whatever it wants to, and acting like it doesn’t have to answer to anyone. Does that sound like any other countries we know?

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  1. Hmmm. I see your point. I do see both sides. North Korea, theoretically speaking, should be allowed to test weapons it intends for defense. That said, N. Korea is definitely not a country I would consider our ally, so I would also say that, fair or not, we have the right to ask them NOT to do so if it seems threatening to us. Sounds wishywashy, I know. But, I’m living here in the U.S., and N. Korea, as you said, also does not consider us an ally. Fair or not, I guess I selfishly (though not unjustifiably so) want my country to speak out in protection of itself.

    Of course, North Korea does not have to listen. But that’s the kind of thing that can start to escalate. Should we not have asked Cuba to back down back in the ’60s?

  2. Oh yeah, and {waving} hi Thomas šŸ™‚

  3. China may say “we don’t want you to test your missles”, but in the emergency UN meeting this morning, they refused to participate in sanctions. Something like 70% of N. Korea’s imports come from China…which makes China’s continued economic involvement the key to the problem. If we want them to stop, China has to make a move. But they haven’t. On a bit of a random, although interesting note, I saw a picture this morning on the news of the whole of Korea at night – the south was a blaze with electricity, and the north was as black as the sea surrounding it. It seems as though the elite is starving the rest of the country for its own success…which makes the goverment acting on its own behalf, rather than the behalf of those it is governing. That makes them pretty damn frightening. At the crux of the argument – do they have the right to test defensive weapons or not? – is the fact that ICBM’s are not defensive weapons. Missile shields are defensive; missiles are not. Especially those that travel (theoretically) as far as Alaska. What are they defending against? A war in another country? I don’t think so. You only have ICBM’s – and you only try to arm them with nuclear warheads – if you’re on the offensive. So, no. Fuck them. The world doesn’t need any more terror…from the middle-east, the far-east or the West. The only solution to this, though, is for other countries to handle it. China and Japan need to team up to either make N. Korea’s existence hellish and poverty-stricken, or otherwise figure out how to deter them from a nuclear/offensive course. I feel pretty confident that the only thing America could do would be military in nature…which most certainly be the wrong course of action. After all – not much oil over there.

  4. How does that saying go? The best defense is a good offense? ICBMs can be used for defense if you’re trying to create an eye-for-an-eye type situation.

    “China and Japan need to team up to…make N. Korea’s existence hellish and poverty-stricken”

    It already is, though. You even said it yourself:

    “It seems as though the elite is starving the rest of the country for its own success…which makes the government acting on its own behalf, rather than the behalf of those it is governing.”

    How much worse can things be made? If China places an embargo on North Korea, they’ll likely only end up punishing its innocent civilians rather than its government. If the government is already so oppressive that there aren’t any lights on at night, then will they be effected or even care?

    I do agree, however, that the U.S. should keep its big nose out of this, as our only option for action will likely be military.

  5. Zero Sum (the eye-for-an-eye situation of the Cold War) is not defensive, its just stupid. It just creates a trigger-happy world of tyrants, which I think we could all do without.

    And yeah, it already is hellish and poverty-stricken. I meant to say, “Make the N. Korean regime’s life hellish and poverty-stricken.”

    They might end up just somehow punishing civilians, but isn’t that how uprisings start? When the people become oppressed to the point of taking control?

    Not that I necessarily condone internal anarchy…but, if it overthrows a malevolent regime, and that’s the only non-international way to do it…I guess that’s not so bad.

  6. Oh, nice find on the pic, btw. šŸ™‚

  7. Oh, I completely agree that zero sum is a bad situation. Let’s not forget the conclusion made by Joshua (a computer) after assessing every possible outcome of the game Global Thermonuclear War in WarGames, “the only winning move is not to play.”

    Perhaps an uprising would be good for North Korea. Or perhaps they could just start with some good, old-fashioned civil disobedience. -)

  8. Of course you’d get a movie reference in there šŸ™‚

  9. zefrank’s insight

    My teachers are cool, but they’re not as cool as zefrank.

  10. Tom DIneen

    OK, I agree with the sanctions to choke the already poverty stricken to civil rebellion (anybody for tea in Boston tonight?) buut as far as a man with a button to push, it’s far scarier if they resemble all resemble real life portrayals of “Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb.”

    Anyone up for remapping all the local Bomb Shelters and creating a reference site in google?

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