Monday, May 25, 2009

North Korea's City-Busting Nuke, a New Missile, and Diplomacy

North Korea is an impoverished, mountainous country with a possibly-crazy dictator, missiles that could reach several other countries, and - most likely - nuclear bombs. If North Korea doesn't have atomic warheads now, there's every reason to believe that the country's leaders will soon.

'Obviously,' it's the fault of America.

"As the international community condemned North Korea's nuclear test and missile launch on Monday, analysts said the tests signaled Pyongyang's growing disillusionment over the U.S. refusal to conduct bilateral talks...." (LAT)

"...disillusionment over the U.S. refusal to conduct bilateral talks...." Not "disappointment," note: "disillusionment." Perhaps the Los Angeles Times writer intended only the literal meaning of "disillusionment:" "freeing from false belief or illusions." (Princeton's WordNet) I think it's at least as likely that the emotional connotations of "disillusionment" were intended, as well: as in chagrin or letdown. (

Particularly 'letdown,' since that can imply that North Korea has been let down, betrayed, by America.

Which, from one point of view, is accurate. North Korea's leadership wants to be treated just like the big countries: China, India, France, places like that. Just one problem. North Korea isn't just like China, India, or France.

The Los Angeles Times article's "bilateral talks" refers to Kim Jong Il's preference to avoid six-way talks about North Korea's nuclear weapons program. These talks involved:
  • The People's Republic of China
  • The Democratic People's Republic of Korea (North Korea)
  • Japan
  • The Republic of Korea (South Korea)
  • The Russian Federation
  • The United States of America
I think I understand why Kim Jong Il and company would prefer "bilateral talks" with just the United States. That would give North Korea status, as a country that can demand one-on-one negotiation with America.

Then, when Kim Jong Il's government decided it was tired of following whatever agreement was reached, it would be the fault of America - the only other party to the agreement.

A big plus that I see to the six-way talks is that it involves countries which are at least as concerned about a nuclear North Korea as America is: Much of Japan and China's population is within range of North Korean nukes, for example, and the Russian Federation has a valuable port city, Vladivostok, that's at risk.

I hope that North Korea is using its nuclear bombs as diplomatic bargaining chips. Because their chips are getting bigger. North Korea's first nuclear bomb had a modest one kiloton yield. The latest one seems to have been a ten kiloton bomb. By comparison, the one used over Hiroshima was a 22 kiloton bomb.

What the current administration will do is anybody's guess, but at least President Barack "Obama called Pyongyang's actions 'a matter of grave concern to all nations.' " (CNN)

And, keeping things interesting, North Korea seems to have tested a new missile today. It's called the Musudan-Ri missile, and could carry a nuclear weapon. It's got a range of up to 2,500 miles. Among other places, it could hit Guam. (FOXNews)

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Note! Although I believe that these websites and blogs are useful resources for understanding the War on Terror, I do not necessarily agree with their opinions. 1 1 Given a recent misunderstanding of the phrase "useful resources," a clarification: I do not limit my reading to resources which support my views, or even to those which appear to be accurate. Reading opinions contrary to what I believed has been very useful at times: sometimes verifying my previous assumptions, sometimes encouraging me to change them.

Even resources which, in my opinion, are simply inaccurate are sometimes useful: these can give valuable insights into why some people or groups believe what they do.

In short, It is my opinion that some of the resources in this blogroll are neither accurate, nor unbiased. I do, however, believe that they are useful in understanding the War on Terror, the many versions of Islam, terrorism, and related topics.