3/29/13 38th Parallel Jitters

What is going on over in Korea? And why?

The still wet-behind-the-ears North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, and the United States seem to be purposefully escalating themselves on the way to an incident of some sort. What motivates this behavior? Is it similar to two turkey gobblers (it is turkey season here in Mississippi) strutting and drumming over the nearby hens? Who will be the winner here? Who will get the hen? Is there a hen to win?

Of course, the young gobblers have all the hormones and drive to pass their genes on to a new generation, but it is the older, full-grown gobblers that nature entrusts with the job . . . the young ones flee pall-mall in disarray, a mass of bleeding spur marks, not gobbling quite so loud, or drumming quite so hard, so as not to be noticed and invite another lesson from the old long-beard. Is this what is happening in Korea?

Where is the hen the strutting gobblers are about to fight over as they strut and drum in decreasing radius circles, displaying all their feathers in a dance as old as reproduction? Who will be the winner?

I reckon that Kim Jong Un has a lot to prove to his own people. I reckon we aren’t going to allow him the opportunity to prove it. I also reckon that South Korea has been around long enough to bear the responsibility and expense of defending itself. No wonder they had all that capital to invest and grow their country into an economic powerhouse; they didn’t have to invest much of it protecting themselves from their megalomaniac cousins to the North.

Every day brings news of an escalation in tensions. One would think that the North Koreans are so nervous that they are about to soil their pants. I don’t think America is about to wet its pants, but maybe we should be feeling a bit of pressure from increasingly urgent bladder demands. It is possible that this could escalate until either or both gobblers get within striking distance and then the fight is on. If so, what will be the outcome? And for what purpose?

History has shown that engaging the North Koreans is not going to be easy. America has shown that it is unwilling to bear the public scrutiny of making a war cruelly severe and brutal, thus, perhaps, bringing about its early end. We are too fastidious and prissy in trying to maintain our good-guy image, addressing UN concerns, building coalitions, careful lest we involve the Russians or Chinese and have this escalate into something that we absolutely don’t want. Well, what I don’t want is for us to be messing around with North Korea, period. Leave them to their own devices. If they attack the United States of America, let it be because of their own foolishness, not because of our provocation. Any cornered animal is dangerous and will attack with great force and resolve. Why would we back them into a corner?

We should keep in mind that we are not dealing with regular people, here. Our idea of having them backed into a corner and their idea of being backed into a corner are most likely two different things. Our perception is the key to our understanding . . . either one may be wrong, but real-world consequences, the results of which are correctly perceived, can be the result. No one wants a nuclear armed North Korea, but it is too late for that. No one wants a North Korea with ballistic missiles that can reach the US mainland, but it may be too late for that. If we felt that a strike from North Korea was imminent, we would have to execute a first-strike to disable them as best we can. If they feel like an attack is imminent, an escalation to nuclear may be sudden. I don’t know why everyone just can’t settle down and enjoy a steaming hot, spicy Korean dish, and drink a beer or two . . . take the weekend off . . . enjoy some time with the family.

Things are certainly complicated. Sending a B-2 Bomber all the way from a base in the US didn’t help matters. Inviting border incidents will not help. Nor will disabling direct military and communications hot-lines. I laughed when read that a military direct-hot-line used for faxes had been disabled by the North Koreans. I wonder how dueling, escalating faxes sent over this line might read.

“Stop your foolish threatening of the Superior North Korean nation, peoples, and leaders or we will be forced to taunt you a second time,” the unsigned fax from the North might read.

“We are not threatening you, just doing routine military exercises,” the fax from the South might read.

“Total world annihilation is a heavy price to pay for doing nothing but spinning your wheels in futile demonstrations against our sublime leader,” read the return fax from the North, upping the ante.

“Just kidding,” read the reply back from the South. “We noticed that your fax machine is a Samsung. Bwahahahaha!”

Unable to face this most recent loss of face, Kim Jong Un called a double-extra-super-secret-emergency meeting of his advisers. “We must make fax machines of our own! This is an embarrassment to the country. Who is responsible for our purchase of fax machines from the South? Well! Speak up!! Who? I demand to know!!”

Somewhere, in a third floor cubicle, in some white-washed, nondescript, poorly heated office building in Pyongyang, a low level clerk in the Democratic Peoples Office of Office Equipment Acquisition was eating a bowl of ramen noodles in pepper-laced chicken-esque broth. This was the 11,756th time in a row he had eaten the same thing for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. As far as the North Korean leaders could determine, Kim Kim-Kim was the one who had issued the purchase order to Korean Import/Export PTY, LTD, for the acquisition of the fax machine used to send the transmissions to the South Korean military leaders. Kim didn’t have any input in the decision making process about the acquisition of the fax machines, he just signed the properly executed purchase order and sent it on the the lowest and best bidder, the Korean Import/Export PTY, LTD, who was not the lowest bidder, but was determined to be the best bidder, because the owner just happened to the brother-in-law of Kim Jong Un. Kim didn’t know that a full company of North Korean troops was on the way to detain him for intensive questioning, else he would eaten his noodles faster, though he might have enjoyed them less. Kim had never seen an electrical hi-potential testing machine before. He would soon know what they looked like, and how there were other applications for them besides electrical testing. His intensive questioning would most likely last the rest of his life, which he may later wish were much shorter. Whether it would be shortened by a bullet, or accidental nuclear incident, he would not know, and by that time he wouldn’t care.

Kim heard some commotion out on the street as the truck ground to a halt and the company of troops exited in formation and began storming into the building. He had seen this before. He was glad he was merely a low-level clerk, because these guys always came for the big-shots.

“Uh! Oh!,” he said to himself, slurping his noodles, “Someone is in big trouble.”

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