Wednesday, June 24, 2009

North Korea's Still There, Still a "Serious Concern"

If I'd said that North Korea's Kang Nam cargo ship was headed for Syria, I'd probably be wrong. It looks like it may be on its way to Myanmar/Burma. As it is, what I said was, "...let's say the Kang Nam is headed for Syria...." (June 19, 2009) I've discussed the elusiveness of certainty in another post. (May 14, 2008)

Today, American and South Korean officials think that the Kang Nam is headed for Myanmar (the ruling junta doesn't like the name "Burma"). The officials could be right.

If they are, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea is in violation of a United Nations Security Council resolution. Kim Jong Il's news agency echoed the usual response:
"...The new U.N. Security Council resolution requires member states to seek permission to inspect suspicious cargo. North Korea has said it would consider interception a declaration of war and on Wednesday accused the U.S. of seeking to provoke another Korean War.

" 'If the U.S. imperialists start another war, the army and people of Korea will ... wipe out the aggressors on the globe once and for all,' the official Korean Central News Agency said...." (AP)
I seriously doubt that Dear Leader's country would fare well in a full nuclear exchange between America, The Russian Federation, or any other world power with contemporary weaponry.

That isn't really the point, I think.

The Korean Central News Agency's report may be intended mostly for internal consumption, to show how resolute and/or powerful Dear Leader is. But there is a chance that someone in North Korea's leadership may believe the official propaganda. If that's the case, and somebody like that gets a decision-making position, Honolulu, Anchorage, Tokyo, Beijing, and Vladivostok could be in very real peril.

Right now, North Korea's development of nuclear weapons and ICBMs, coupled with what can be seen as the occasional break with reality, are a "serious concern," as a senior Chinese military officer said. (Reuters)

According to the Reuters article, it looks like China and America may be expanding communication and cooperation between their armed forces. This is nothing terribly new. The two nations wrapped up their 10th annual round of talks between high-level military officials. (Xinhua)

That doesn't mean that China and America are getting ready to bomb North Korea.
"...Lieutenant-General Ma Xiaotian ... said China believes that peaceful dialogue is the way to resolve the dispute.

" 'We hope for and encourage positive steps and more stabilizing measures' regarding North Korea, Ma said...." (Reuters)
American leaders don't seem at all eager to use force, either. As an American military source said, "...'This is a very delicate situation and no one is interested in precipitating a confrontation.'..." (June 19, 2009)

I certainly hope that "peaceful dialog" can end the threat that North Korea's Dear Leader and his court pose. That would be nice.

But, as I've written before, sometimes the world isn't all that nice.

Assuming that the Kang Nam is bound for Myanmar/Burma, and is carrying contraband, the USS John McCain may hail the ship and demand permission to board. If the Kang Nam's captain says 'no,' the U.N. Security Council resolution permits American authorities to ask the military junta that's running Myanmar/Burma if they would please inspect the ship.

Since there's a good chance that they're the ones who ordered the contraband, I think the results of such a search would be open to skepticism.

In this particular case, I think America would have a hard time justifying military action against the Kang Nam. Myanmar/Burma is a mess, and I think its people and the world in general would be better off if the ruling junta wasn't in charge there. But helping the junta beat down its critics isn't all that much of a direct threat to American security.

In the short term, of course.

As for the apparent cooperation between China and America: It's significant, and important, but I don't think it means that America is coming around to China's point of view: or vice versa. We've seen something a bit like this before.

Back in the late 1930s, as the new German Chancellor's regime was starting to remold Europe politically and eugenically, the Soviet Union and America dropped their differences and cooperated against their 'serious concern.' What's happening to day isn't an exact parallel, but I think there are similarities.

Related posts: In the news:

1 comment:

Brian H. Gill said...


That's another topic - and a well-worn theme. Still seems to go over well in some quarters, though.

That sort of thing works best, I think, when facts aren't mixed in. ("Carter Meetings Proof: Hamas a National Liberation Movement! Reality Check, Please" (April 19, 2008))

I agree that Palestinians - particularly those who are on the outs with Hamas and related organizations - aren't doing well, economically. But 'it is the fault of the Jews.' doesn't seem to be all that's involved.

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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.