Preface: That's right; it's GUEST WEEK! ehr...DAY!...ehr...POST!. You get the idea, right? No? Too bad.
Greetings. I am CheeseLikeSubstance, hijacking Loud's blog. I will be writing in Times New Roman (Arial, FTW! - ed) for the duration of my stay. However, as is traditional for this particular corner of the internet, I will be ranting about politics and writing in funny colors.
I guess the best place to start is the issue - or rather non-issue - of the day: North Korea. Seriously, though, what happened to that? Two weeks ago, they explode a nuclear device underground. Well, we don't know they did. After all, the only evidence we had is seismic tremors measured in South Korea. So maybe, as Stephen Colbert said, they don't have nuclear weapons. Maybe they just have an earthquake machine.
But after the initial uproar, and Bush's incredibly strong stance on the issue ("The United States is committed to diplomacy." You know, just like they were when they invaded Iraq.), the news coverage has disappeared entirely. I think we're ignoring it and hoping it goes away.
Which is just perfect, is it not? A rogue state gets nuclear weapons, and we let them have them. And when I say rogue state, I don't mean any old rogue state. Look at a satellite photo of North Korea at night. Every other country in the world is lit up. All of them. Even the places where they don't actually have light. North Korea is black. Pitch black. Like a hole in the world. And that's exactly what it is.
I don't know what we should be doing about North Korea. Diplomacy is unlikely to work, considering that Kim Jong Il happens to be totally insane. Then again, invasion could well result in nuclear detonations in, for example, Tokyo. Maybe that's the price we have to pay, though. I hope not, of course, but you just can't tell.
What I do know, though, is that ignoring it is wrong, is criminal. Ignoring them is exactly what they want. We let them build up an arsenal until their negotiating position is too strong to prevent a war. We might be able to prevent one now, but will we be able to in ten years, when they have nukes aimed at New York and Beijing? Whatever we do, we need to do it now, because the longer we wait, the more we allow him to hold the world hostage. And I don't know about the rest of you, but I want my life in the hands of as few insane dictators as possible.
So why is there silence?
Loud here: I may have a possible answer.
North Korea is being the 'squeaky wheel', and no one wants to grease it
I think this is very probable. As we hear it in my World Issues class: "You can rob a man many times, but you can only kill him once.". Kim Jong-il may be more nuts than that stupid bee, but he doesn't keep control of his country by being a fool. If Kim strikes first, his own people will be made to believe it is defensive...before North Korea becomes a non-location on major maps. Impoverished as it is, North Korea needs foreign aid. If Kim gets the aid he wants committed to his people, the message sent to other countries is clear: "get nukes! It may not be cheap, but you wouldn't spend that money on your own people anyhow!".
If we strike an North Korea now, we may avoid a nuclear price elsewhere. What we get instead is over 1 million army regulars - more than the US has - who are taught from birth that Kim il-sung is godlike, and Kim Jong-il is descended from heaven. NATO already has Afghanistan, the US and its Coalition have Iraq. North Korea would be no better a battleground than either of the first two. Granted, it would be a country - vs - country fight, and like the other two, it's not quite wrecked enough until we bomb it, but the death toll WILL mount.
We are silent, because Kim Jong-Il is betting high, and we can't tell if it's a bluff. I don't doubt that NK had at least one nuke, but how many more is a mystery. Is the Dear Leader trying to bilk the world for aid money, or is he - as my friend CheeseLike asserts - trying to make himself an imovable object, almost like a landmine? I think only he, and maybe his inner circle know the answer right now, and that's why we do not act: if we guess the game wrong, we lose big.
In short, the answer is this: Staying silent is one way to Judge what game NK is playing at. If the nuke is an attention-grabber, then our silence is the only way we can win. If the threat of a nuclear attack is real, than we have a new set of problems. Then again, hundreds of NK's artillery pieces are supposedly trained on Seoul right now. There has not been any time in years when taking out Kim wouldn't carry a high civilian price. If the man wants a fight, the question becomes: how much is too high?
Apparently, Wikipedia has refused to censor content on the Chinese government's orders. About fucking time, eh? Information may not be money yet (or ever... exchanges are too much like bartering when it comes to data) but it can be powerful. Google may be embracing the lesser evil by giving the Chinese a valuable service that would otherwise be completely unavailable, but that can't go on. While what is true may be subjective, no one should be excluded from the debate. All kudos to Wikipedia! (I ought to donate)
If I can, I will have more guest bloggers in future. Maybe I'll get GingerWolf to write a spot here, if I can. Other people who know me, send me (by MSN, or email) submissions if you like: any text format will be fine. If I am feeling benevolent, I will proofread stuff before it goes up.