My Short Rant on North Korea
To sum up my feelings on this situation, I will say this: If I were President, I would agree to one on one talks with Kim Jong Il just so when he came into the room I could punch him in the face a couple of times and then leave.
Yes, I know that sounds childish but North Korea bothers me. I couldn't care less about their flopped nuclear test or all of their lame drum beating. What irks me is that in principal, they are trying to blackmail everyone in Asia and the United States. Here you have this "third world" country and their nutty leader testing nukes and then saying that they are still for a nuclear-free Korean Peninsula. Then they make statements like its the United States' fault that they have nukes and they would stop producing them if we agreed to bi-lateral talks. That sounds a lot like blackmail to me. Kim Jong Il and his advisors are acting like a little kid that isn't getting enough attention so he goes and does something stupid to piss all of the grown-ups off.
On top of it all is the fact that your average North Korean is more concerned about where his next meal is coming from rather than what his nutcase dictator is doing. Anything that happens to North Korea because of all of their posturing isn't going to affect Kim Jong Il and his buddies, its going to screw over the already mistreated average North Korean citizen.
The UN and all of its "sanctions" against the North Korean government is pretty much pointless as well. About the only country that is doing anything productive is Japan and that is just because they are one of North Korea's biggest export partners so by forbidding North Korean vessels to enter Japanese ports, they are cutting a lot of money out of North Korea's legitimate income.
Which leads into where the problem is going to arise. If North Korea can't make money legally, they can always ramp up their arms dealing and money laundering practices. I worry more about the arms dealing than anything just because it is one more thing the US government can use as an excuse to execute air strikes against the country. Next thing we will see in the news is more evidence that ties North Korea to Iran as far as supplying weapons and nuclear know-how to the country. Once Bush has ammunition like that, it will be a matter of months before stuff is blowing up. That is if China doesn't beat him to the punch.
China has dominance issues and doesn't like it when one of its vassal states doesn't follow orders. The fact that North Korea has been alienating China for several months now and making it look like China has a reduced diplomatic influence in the region can only serve to anger the already militaristic giant. If there were to be a border mishap or another nuclear test that sent radioactive debris into China, I can see the country dispensing its own justice on its reclusive neighbor.
The bottom line is that none of this bodes well for North Korea. They are pissing off their only allies in China and Russia. They are tempting Japan to go nuclear and ramp up its military and South Korea is already warning its troops that attacks over the border could again become a possibility. Just a tidbit for those of you who don't follow Asian history or politics, the two Koreas are still technically at war and have been for the better part of five decades now. The only reason that the US has troops on the South/North Korean border is to act as a tripwire to pull the US into the fight if North Korea were to ever invade South Korea. The fact that the US wants to pull troops off of that border ticks off and worries the South Koreans that live near it. Not only are they afraid of being attacked but US troops are also a great source of income for them and when US troops leave the area, the money goes with them.
On top of all of it is the fact that the United States is getting involved. Honestly, the US really shouldn't butt into this ordeal because its one that needs to be resolved by the Asian countries themselves. The problem stems from the fact that we have treaties with South Korea and Japan that say that we will do our best to protect them should the need arise. That and there is a lot of money to be had in those two countries. Oh yeah, we also like having places in Asia to park our bombers and fighters when they aren't blowing something up. What the United States doesn't understand is the Asian mindset. Asian countries hold mean and long lasting grudges. Western countries get into an arguement and then settle it over a couple of beers, Asian countries might resolve their differences but they NEVER forget them. China still thinks its the center of Asia and believes that the other Asian countries still care about what it thinks. Japan is just pissed off because all of the other Asian countries are still mad at it for stuff it did in World War II. Japan is trying to forget the past because, quite honestly, its ashamed of it and if the other countries were to also forget about it, then politics could get back to normal from a Japanese perspective. The Koreas are just kind of there, which is part of the problem. North Korea is sick of being forgotten and not getting its way. South Korea is tired of worrying about it but not powerful enough to act on its own and all of its dealings with the US have made it kind of the bastard child that none of the Asian countries want because the US carries too much sway within it and that makes the other countries nervous. Australia should have a little bit of a say in the goings on but they won't because their white. That sounds really bad but its true, geographically speaking they are about the only other big country that should have a say but they won't because they are too different of a culture to truly grasp what Asian people are thinking in regards to North Korea. Russia is the same way but they have a bit more power because of the past political similarities it shared with North Korea. The problem with Russia is that it has too many of its own problems to really be bothered with all of this.
It all boils down to the fact that in the end, something will need to be done about North Korea. All of their button pushing is ticking off way too many people for it to go unnoticed. The question is, how long will it go on for before steps are taken to put the country back in it's place and who will take those steps? I for one hope its not the United States. We have never had much luck in dealing with Asian affairs and I do not believe the US can militarily sustain three major conflicts at the same time, we are having enough problems dealing with two as it is. Asian countries need to handle this and the rest of the world needs to observe and give advice from the sidelines. The Asian countries need to learn how to settle their issues without US intervention because whenever we get into it, we mess it up. Will it turn out this way, I doubt it.
I just hope that when its all said and done, the North Korean people aren't heavily hurt by it. They have to worry about enough as it is and most of them cannot control or don't even fully understand what their government is doing. I just am unsure as to how the world can deal with the North Korean problem without hurting the North Korean people. Time will tell, I suppose.