Monday, 25 January 2016

North Korea (DPRK)

Again I mention the references to the importance of empathy over there in the right column (or probably missing if you read this on a phone).

I wrote this below at The Guardian recently, after North Korea's latest nuclear test.

It was interesting that one person commented TLDR. I learned that TLDR means 'too long, didn't read.' No empathy possible without thought. The translater of TLDR had a nice comment:

  • It's important to recognise that North Korea's behaviour is much as one might expect of a country locked in a broom cupboard for over half a century. Also to recognise that in that time North Korea has been subjected to more overt [nuclear] threats than any other country, including the breach in 1974 of US policy never to confirm or deny the presence of nuclear weapons when US Defense Secretary James Schlesinger affirmed the location of nuclear weapons in South Korea aimed at the north.
    And to recognise that in the 1990s the US failed to meet commitments agreed with North Korea.
    While also recognising that North Korea's attempts at independent technical innovation have more often been ragged than not, and North Korea's ventures in trying to follow China in more open economic relations with the world were terribly timed and they were badly burned especially by the 1979 oil shock... as well as by lousy trade associates.
    And recognising that they have tended to fulfil all the dreadful sarcastic characterisations of North Korea by both US military planners and the whole rang of media pundits and commentators. Be careful what you wish for and plan and militarily manoeuvre against. It is plain that the annual summer reinforcement exercises between the US and South Korea are carried on in a manner to antagonise North Korea, to prod North Korean electronic intelligence and cause agitation in the North Korean leadership. While no more under civilian policy control on the US side than was Douglas MacArthur when in 1950 he wanted to carry the Korean War to Beijing, nuking all the way, until Truman yanked him out.
    And in this situation, particularly worryingly, recognising that reports of widespread use of crystal meths in North Korea, including by leaders, may be true ... and that in consequence decision making may be coloured to say the least.
    In longer history, Korea has had the difficult role of living between China and Korea, with different culture and language more closely related to Finnish and Turkish. A hermit kingdom. Remembering for comparison that up to 150 years ago, in Japan, attempt to leave that country was punishable by death. And that thus there are traditional values deep in the tormented psyche of Pyongyang.
    I come back to the 'locked in the broom cupboard of Asia' analogy with which I began. Having had some role in the 1970s in Australian efforts to recognise and open the door to North Korea, under Whitlam's policy of recognising realities, which saw also recognition of Beijing and Hanoi. Against hostility and ridicule from Washington, Seoul and a wider range of countries that should know better. Over and again, fixing the Korean Question has been put aside, left to be seen as soldiers see it, while other issues given priority in Washington... till we get to this appalling point. Getting the demon we caricatured. But still some have to venture into engagement with the broom cupboard. On terms other than castigation and stick waving.

    Some effort needs to be made to see the world as seen from Pyongyang if ever we are to resolve issues with Pyongyang. And not with ridicule and sensationalist description as seems the norm in the west. So often we succeed in proving to Pyongyang that opening to the world is very dangerous. Sit for a moment in Pyongyang and try to understand Donald Trump. Consider the wisdom and success of US policy in the Middle East. Consider what has happened in countries recently open to 'democracy' and the west. To liberation, like Libya and Syria and of course Iraq, Afghanistan ... and the USSR. Baby it's cold outside. All our perspectives are distorted, all our hands are dirty. Let's step back from righteous giggling out here. At least setting off a bomb stops the giggling, let's see how those Americans react with shit in their pants: that's what they are thinking in Pyongyang, let's get some respect round here, respect the way they've sought respect out there.
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    Too lazy, didn't read... Too bad, it was interesting.

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