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What’s wrong with this picture?

So what is the righteous benevolent one, Kim Jong-loon up to? Meeting slightly idiotic former sports stars is harmless enough, assuming said former sports star can turn a blind eye to the murder, torture, rape and brutality that is Yodok camp.  Google it.  Rodman could have.  Personally, I try not to cuddle up to murdering sociopaths, but each to his own.

Setting aside trivia, he maybe fancying a war.  Well, on the face of it, he is sabre rattling a-plenty and making all manner of blood curdling threats, but as in all things North Korean, we must ask, is he actually doing it? This is a guessing game, but as far as I can tell, it looks like Kim is indeed bossing this. The military maybe driving him, but one way or another, he is in the lead.

So question the second, does he actually want a war? Surely not. We have no real way of knowing how intelligent this Korean Commodus is. If you were a tutor, would you give him a ‘B’ grade? So pretty much the entire education structure in the North will have told him he is bright as hell and it’s hard to get an idea of your limitations when no-one tells you that you have any. Nonetheless, there must surely be someone in the North who would say “Er, look, you might be the fattest bloke in North Korea but attacking the USA and/or the south would be bloody stupid”

Maybe it’s the Fuhrer complex when no-one can say “No Sir” Maybe it’s the whole ‘Iraqi invasion of Kuwait’ syndrome when it’s obvious to all and sundry, except for the perpetrator, that the idea is stupid, but I don’t believe this.

The reason I don’t believe an invasion or an attack is imminent is simply this. If you are about to attack, you don’t advertise it. The North could hardly have been more bellicose and they must be aware of their limitations in terms of fuel supplies for tanks, trucks and aircraft. Technologically they are a joke compared to the USA. Their pilots would never see the jets that killed them and they would have no means to even engage the stealth bombers that could visit Pyong-Yang after dark.

Similarly, even if you could deliver the primitive nukes (there is some suggestion they are too big to put in a missile) would you honestly not expect the North to be a glass car park ten minutes later? Who would vote for the end of their own total power even in a reduced fiefdom like the North?

So, never rule out insanity or erratic decision making, but I can’t see any serious shooting, the odd artillery duel notwithstanding. So what is he up to? It’s the age old story of distracting your own populace from their empty stomachs by conjuring up an external threat coupled with a bit of blackmail. He is after food, fuel, money, a bit of international attention and possibly some internal power consolidation.

Predictions are a dicey business, but I just can’t see this coming to anything. Not deliberately anyway, but rattling the sabre is a risky old business.


  1. Mr Ed says:

    North Korean air force on show in this fine Top Gun ‘tribute’

  2. RAB says:

    Never try to second guess Stupid. Stupid is as stupid does…

    This may well get very nasty indeed.

  3. Lynne says:

    We get crap like this every time NK runs out of western danegeld. Looks like the sanctions are biting hard.

    The question is, are the Yanks going to pay hard currency to shut the fat little twat up one more time (they’ve paid NK to shut down the Pyongyang reactor in the past – seen as victory over the western oppressors) or are they sick of playing the game and set to call his bluff?

  4. Mr Ed says:

    Kim Jong-Un is actually the secret love child of Dr Strangelove, but his father rejected him because he was dyslexic, and shipped him off to North Korea.

    He is now planning a Worldwide unclear war.

  5. John Galt says:

    Not sure why North Korea would need more “Danegeld” as they have been producing $100 US notes for at least a decade which are undetectable outside a US Treasury Department laboratory.

    My personal view is the Kim Jong Un is just setting his mark down with posturing and rhetoric. He knows that without backing from China his totalitarian state would fold like a cheap suit.

  6. RAB says:

    How very dare the Norks produce funny money, why that’s the US Govt’s job!

  7. Ljh says:

    The fat kid starting a war is irrational but what about his fantasy life and all that hardware and power he just got access to; using it may feel irresistible.

  8. dcardno says:

    For a long time, NK’s strategy has been to appear Weak, Crazy, and Belligerent. Weak – so there is no need to attack them; Crazy – so their belligerence (and sudden shifts between belligerence and pacificism) would be plausible; Belligerent – to gain attention, wrest concessions from the west, and feed the domestic personality cult by periodically sitting a Kim at a table with the Americans, the Chinese, and the Russians with those three seemingly (at least in NK’s internal reporting) treating him as an equal, or even a feared adversary.

    This has worked stupendously well for roughly 60 years – we now have a third generation knock-off in the big chair. An actual attack against the south (much less the US) will end NK, at least in its current form, and certainly end the Kim regime (including loyal hangers-on) – ergo, NK will not attack unless conditions in NK are such that the regime thinks they are about to lose whatever they have now.

    The only player with a real interest in keeping NK in place is China – they are simultaneously terrified of a couple of million starving Korean refugees, and of a successful South Korean annexation of whatever is left of NK, leaving them with a dynamic, economically successful, industrialized and thoroughly westernized state on their immediate border – look at the problems they had (and have) with Hong Kong – and the colony had no heavy industry, and virtually no industry at all compared to South Korea. Accordingly, it is China that has to control Kim v 3.0 – and for the same sixty years they have played the same sort of brinkmanship game; allow NK to appear threatening, then collect a reward for ‘reining them in.’

    The only way out of this game is for the US to make it clear to China that they won’t play, but I don’t expect that Obama will have the nerve to take that strategy – so I see another round of food aid, plus whatever other concessions Kim can bargain for. We might at least go a step down that road if Obama had the with to tell China that NK is their problem to deal with, and then make it stick – but I don’t expect that, either. This isn’t necessarily a slight on Obama – he’s not the first President to face this, and his predecessors didn’t deal with it eiher.

  9. dcardno says:

    I happened to run into this piece on NK. Funny, that no one (at least, in this PBS article) ever thinks to connect the dots between the catastrophic outcome in NK, versus the exuberently successful one in SK, and the relative forms of government and openness to trade. Oh well…



  10. Phil B says:

    I wouldn’t be worrying too much about sourcing some Sun Protection factor 5,000,000 sun tan cream for when the canned instant sunshine falls. The North Koreans are the puppets of the Chinese and won’t do anything unless given express permission by Beijing. My reckoning is that the Chinese want to flex their muscles via a proxy and give O’Bummer a shit test. “Let’s see just how strong the US’ resolve really is” without directly challenging the US itself.

    The NorKs don’t have the capacity to hit the US with a missile – they might sneak one in on a cargo ship and detonate it in (say) Long Beach or San Francisco.

    One at Pearl harbour (being the home of the US Pacific fleet) and another at San Diego detonated simultaneously might be a very strong possibility which would seriously cripple the American ability to respond in a timely way so that the instigators can get up to mischief such as invading South Korea.

    By the time that the Atlantic fleet can deploy, the US will be presented with a Fiat Accompli (which ISN’T an Italian car). The Chinese can then claim it was all the NorKs’ fault, so sorry and all that but might was well keep things as they are after the fighting, eh?

    I doubt that the NorKs have more than one or two nuclear bombs, unless China supplies a few on the quiet.. but China IS building up a formidable fleet well able to project power and has already “suggested” that American influence should stop at the Hawaiian Islands and their sphere of influence stop there too …

    Of course, if Obama backs down without fighting (and I doubt he has the testicular fortitude to defend either his own or any other countries attacked), then the same thing results. China gets what it wants, invades all of Korea after the NorKs have invaded the South and can claim to be the “peacekeeper” in the peninsula.

    If this scenario or a variation on it plays out, watch out Taiwan and every other independent country in the Western Pacific including Australia and New Zealand (where I am).

    Remember the Chinese curse “May you live in interesting times”?

  11. Write here says:

    There is a point where, while ratcheting up the aggressive statements, you have to do something or back down. Just saying you are going to attack is different from attacking, and the suspicion that Fatty the Third as the Chinese call him is pushing things to a brink to gain concessions is about right.

    Fat boy needs to be fed, after all.

    What the Norks tend to do is engineer a small incident they can plausibly deny. Apparently a couple of small subs have gone missing and there is a US destroyer out there. After all, you never know when a sea monster might rear up and swallow say a South Korean ship or another boat. If I were the US navy I would get ready to look for torpedo trails.

    There is also the issue of firing missiles across japan, which reasonably could be seen as an act of war. Happily for the Norks, Japan doesn’t have the military clout it used to have and Washington seems to be unsure how to react to that.

    There is every evidence that fatty is anxious to keep his military working on ‘preparation’ to keep the elements in the army who think he is, er, a fat waste of time from pointing guns at him instead of at the border. Despite the rhetoric there is a fair bet the man is either a plump puppet (maybe dancing to China’s tune to see how soft the Yanks are; under Obama’s rule they may think fairly soft) or his own people mistrust him.

    Fatso may be too young to think about consequences. He may even think that war is like a computer game where you can reset and start again. Even his ageing generals weighed down with medals may not know that the US can pound North Korea until it is a glowing hole, and not miss the weapons fired.

    China is the mysterious player in this, and while largely remaining the only thing stopping Kim going nuts they may well be gaining something from this that we cannot tell.

  12. BigFatFlyingBloke says:

    China, to my knowledge, are OK with SK annexing NK long as US forces don’t move beyond where they are now and unless they are playing a dangerous game of double brinkmanship the fact that China has backed the sanctions and is making noises that they are increasingly or have already lost patience with NK doesn’t bode well.

  13. Penseivat says:

    It is said that in the land of the blind the one-eyed man is king. In the land of the starving, the double-chinned man is king.

  14. dcardno says:

    I disagree (to an extent). NK does nothing without Chinese consent (or at least, acquiescence), since NK is the bug and China is the windshield in their relationship.
    If China has truly lost patience with NK that might be good news. If they have not, it is just China arranging to collect a greater toll from the west (think Spratleys or Paracells) for “reining in” their attack Chihuahua.

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