March 31, 2011

The view from Pyongyang

In "Protips for Increased Dictator Longetivity," The Cold Equations draws attention to the view of a North Korean official on the fate of Libya's seven-year-long accord with Washington:
An unidentified North Korean Foreign Ministry official condemned the ongoing coalition airstrikes on Qadhafi forces and told state media that Tripoli was tricked by the West into giving up its nuclear-weapon technology in "an invasion tactic to disarm the country."

In exchange for diplomatic recognition and economic aid, Tripoli surrendered technology that included a largely complete warhead design and 4,000 uranium enrichment centrifuges capable of generating fissile material ...

"The Libyan crisis is teaching the international community a grave lesson," the official said, emphasizing that the North's strategy of building up its own military was "proper in a thousand ways" and the only assurance of stability for the Korean Peninsula.

High-ranking officials in Pyongyang tracking the air assaults on Libya "must feel alarmed, but also deeply satisfied with themselves," Korea University professor RĂ¼diger Frank wrote in a web posting.

The Qadhafi case was "at least the third instance in two decades that would seem to offer proof that they did something right while others failed and ultimately paid the price," Frank said. He cited the former Soviet Union's determination to stop its military buildup and to "abandon the political option to use their weapons of mass destruction," along with ex-Iraqi strongman Saddam Hussein's acceptance of international WMD monitors into Iraq.

"To put it bluntly in the eyes of the North Korean leadership all three countries took the economic bait, foolishly disarmed themselves, and once they were defenseless, were mercilessly punished by the West," Frank said.

"It requires little imaginative power to see what conclusions will be drawn in Pyongyang," the professor said, asserting that any high-level North Korean voices who supported nuclear disarmament "will now be silent." 

44 comments:

Anonymous said...

I guess Koreans do have higher IQ, even the bad guys. Rotfl.

Anonymous said...

I guess there won't be any Ping Pyongyang Diplomacy.

Anonymous said...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vGC9XtnHSU0

We should bomb South Korea to save the pigs. Sickening.

Anonymous said...

If you're a dictator, being paranoid pays.

Svigor said...

Pyongyang: "How come I never get invaded?"
US: "Too far from Israel."
Pyongyang: "Pay attention to me now Capitalist running dog!"

Marchenu said...

"...the professor said, asserting that any high-level North Korean voices who supported nuclear disarmament "will now be silent." "

-I didn't think that anyone living in N Korea who disagreed with a policy from Kim would voice their contrary opinion anyway...

Josh T said...

N Korea should be S Korea's problem, not ours. We should have ended our military involvement there after setting the south up to deal with them.

Anonymous said...

Well, this is obvious. If the neocons thought that Saddam actually had WMDs, they would have never attacked him. They said they attacked him because he had them, but in fact it was because he didn't - politics is fun like that. If he did, his entire people (Sunni Arab Iraqis) would have been far better off now. By not obtaining at least a chem or a bio deterrent, he had failed his people, got himself and his sons killed. It's a dog eat dog world.

Anonymous said...

How can a Sooper Power be so wrong, from the files marked, The Lessons of Smarrrttt Powwwwrrr?
Great Hoshizaki America, "Pay attention to me now Capitalist running dog!" Would be perfect skit for SNL except their writers are mostly PC droids & Zombies!

anony-mouse said...

'Pyongyang: How come I never get invaded?'

Er, Pyongyang did get invaded (October 19 1950 the city itself was captured by American-led forces.)

Chicago said...

Iran, as well as the North Koreans, can see what happens to a country that can't defend itself against the US and it's allies. Most likely they are redoubling their nuclear efforts and won't be sweet-talked or threatened out of it. The other "axis" leader, Saddam Hussein, was hanged, a fate Ahmadinejad and Kim won't allow to have happen to them.

Anonymous said...

Don't worry Steve, the Chinese will not give up their nuclear weapons.

Kim Il Jong XIV said...

Big differences regarding North Korea vs and nearly all the other potential or actual nuclear threats (like Iran, Pakistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria, etc):

* Not in ME near Israel or oil

* Not Muslim with attendant problems for all non-Muslims and even Muslims of a different strip

* Resource poor, small and economically irrelevant

* Isolated nation with no religious, political or economic regional unification threat

* High IQ (Iran also has a proportionally decent sized high IQ subpop)

In fact, it seems N.Korea is the Rodney Dangerfield of the Axis of Evil. It has to take extreme steps to get any respect or even be noticed (like periodically firing long range delivery missiles over Japan).

Even with nearly total economic/political isolation, old school oriental despotism and mass starvation in N.Korea, the likelihood of a nuclear exchange is far greater with India, Israel and certainly Pakistan.

That's why the US and much of the rest of the world ignores the nuclear threat from N.Korea. It must drive the Dear Leader there insane with jealousy that no matter how irrational he tries to appear, he still can shake down the West for more "foreign aid".

N.Korea and Cuba today are like the USSR and PRC pre-1970s. It's only a matter of time before they compromise and abandon their isolation. Like the USSR & PRC, both will probably do relatively well given the high human capital both possess.

David Davenport said...

Pyongyang: "Pay attention to me now Capitalist running dog!

But maybe it will be the NK's turn for some thunder from above some day.

It's premature for you peaceniks to congratulate yourselves.

Bantam said...

This point was masterfully developed last week by Jonathan Schwarz.

Anonymous said...

Pat Buchanan said as such after the Axis of Evil speech. He said that the US would guarantee nuclear proliferation because nations would come to see that only those without nuclear weapons would be susceptible to American attacks.

international Jew said...

It's big brother China, and not a handful of dirty bombs, that guarantees North Korea's security.

Anonymous said...

Well Libya was already in a de facto civil war when we decided to get involved. Hussein's problem was invading other countries and then after losing, not letting the UN do its job. If he *did* let WMD monitors into Iraq, 2003 wouldn't have happened. I don't see how North Korea's case can be compared in the way this supposed Ministry official says it can.

Paul Mendez said...

Here is a question for those more knowledgeable about air defense systems than I:

If I were an evil dictator, would it be cost-effective for me to build an elaborate missile air defense system with mobile radars and an extravagant number of decoy radars?

I'm guessing that the transmitter is the cheapest part of an AA radar. Seems to me the receiving, interpreting and communicating the results are the hard part. So why not build 5,000 bogus mobile radars with transmitters and shuffle them around, switching them on and off. How much can a dummy radar and a radio transmitter cost, if produced in quantity? $1,000? $5,000? Considering that a Tomahawk is said to cost $1 million a pop, the ploy would be to give the US so many targets it could never be 100% assured of taking them all out. 1,000 decoy radar sites at $5,000 a pop is still a tiny fraction of a nuclear weapons program.

Would the US risk losing a $30 million F15 -- plus crew -- if there was the chance I still had a few SAMs and radars in reserve?

On a similar note, individual GPS-jammers are cheap and readily available. Since the most affordable smart munition in the US arsenal is the JDAM, which relies on GPS, could jamming degrade US bombing capabilities enough to change the equation?

Anonymous said...

Add South African whites to the list of foolish self-disarmers.

Anonymous said...

Pyongyang is safe for other reasons. China will block any UN resolution for military operation. Russia may join China.
South Korea, though officially still at war with North Korea, is not eager for a 'liberated' North which it will have to support if unification happens. It's gonna be costly, though in the long run, it might be good for the S. Korean economy--unlike East Germans who got used to socialist welfare and became resentful of instability under democracy, North Koreans will likely work for any wage after so many yrs of deprivation.

And the US isn't so much worried about NK having nukes as NK selling nuclear technology to OTHER countries.
Also, NK problems are a good excuse for the US to maintain its 'imperial' presence in the Pacific.
This is why China may be having a change of mind. Wikileaks revealed some Chinese sentiments along the line of 'unification of Korea under South Korean government is okay with us.'
Thus far, China valued North Korea as a buffer against American power in South Korea and Okinawa. But China may now be thinking... if Korea unifies, there is no rationale for US to remain in Korea anymore. With US military gone, there will no longer by ANY US military base on the East Asian mainland.

China may view Korea as a kind of thorn on its side in the 20th century. For 1000s of yrs, Korea was generally the obedient tributary state to China, a sort of mini-me. But in the first half of the 20th century, Korea became the launching pad of Japanese aggression against Manchuria. And then in the second half of the 20th century, Korea became the satellites of Russia and US against China. Thanks to the Korean War, North Korea became as close to China as to Russia. But US presence in South Korea was seen as a threat, and so China zealously supported North Korea.
But Chinese may be revising their view on this.

For Koreans, 20th century may be remembered as a major anomaly in their history. From mini-me of China for 1000s of yrs Korea, for a time, turned into mini-me of Japan and then of the US.
With rise of China, unification of Korea, and the withdrawal of US in the future, Korea may return to being the mini-me of China, its natural state given the geopolitical realities. China HEFTY, HEFTY, HEFTY; Korea wimpy, wimpy, wimpy.

Maybe South Koreans don't want unification for this reason. If US departs after unification, Korea is stuck between Japan and China, less reliable and neutral than good ole Uncle Sam.

airtommy said...

I didn't think that anyone living in N Korea who disagreed with a policy from Kim would voice their contrary opinion anyway.

All dictators have advisors and they are influenced by them.

Whiskey said...

The article is stupid. Any desire to fundamentally affect the MAIN security interests of the US will bring that nation, inevitably, into conflict with the US. In addition, being relatively weak, with few patron/protectors, against a Democrat seeking a distraction (Serbia and Clinton) or an uncaring, weak President (Libya and Obama) will bring air but not ground forces.

North Korea is under China's nuclear umbrella. So, they can do what they want. Iran has since 1979 been in a state of War with the US (embassy hostage taking was an act of war) and got only part of its navy sunk in 1988 for all its provocations. Saddam made deals, didn't keep them, and got only ineffective (in removing him) air strikes.

The article is stupid because it presents the US security policy (keep the oil flowing cheaply, maintain sea power, control over key geographic areas) as "evil." It could come from Code Pink, Feministing, or MoveOn.

Whiskey said...

Most of the erratic nature of US military action has been a lack of definition of US priorities and interests. Dem politicos tend to get involved, post JFK, in "humanitarian" stuff to "prevent genocide" or somesuch. Clinton was dogged and still is by Rwanda, the people he cares about most (rich White elites) care most about that.

Does the US have vital interests in securing ME oil and the sealanes? Sure if you don't want $10 a gallon gas. If you like paying $4.50 now or close to it (in SoCal at least) wait until you pay twice as much! See how much money you have left for food. Or how expensive THAT is.

Serbia was not a vital interest. Still less, is South America (which is why Venezuela, or Bolivia, are anti-American hotbeds). If Obama had kept his mouth shut about Khadaffi must go, neither would Libya be a vital interest. Once committed, however, hostile interests like Iran (wants oil high) must be intimidated, thus its vital to "win" in Libya and be seen as winning by Iran, the Muslim Brotherhood, etc.

The US has the vital interest of keeping the ME flowing cheaply. I'm appalled at the ignorance/fantasy of most posters here akin to an Obama fest featuring unicorns and rainbows. That means continually impressing hostile powers to lay off pushing oil up. With posturing that is believed short of war best of all. Machiavelli, Sun Tzu, Musashi, Ike, Churchill, and Clausewitz all agree on that point.

I don't see why folks can't understand that basic concept.

Hapalong Cassidy said...

Well, according to Hollywood and the Video Game industry, North Korea certainly does represent a threat to the U.S. I refer to "Homefront" and the remake of "Red Dawn." Now, think about how high Korean IQ must be in order for them to pull off an invasion of the USA. They must have Space Alien-like IQ.

Anonymous said...

"Korean IQ must be in order for them to pull off an invasion of the USA. They must have Space Alien-like IQ."


Koreans don't have to invade the US. Why bother? Free movement to US from Korea. Low barrier to citizenship or permanent resident status. Easy entry into educational services. Once obtained, highly successful. High social acceptance for those that speak English, by all racial groups in the US. Koreatowns for those lacking English. Fairly easy movement vertically through class lines.

And for Koreans without the ability or means to travel to the US, they get all they want via media and returnees.

The point of having a high IQ is making invasion unnecessary.

Read the Sun Tzu.

sabril said...

"Er, Pyongyang did get invaded (October 19 1950 the city itself was captured by American-led forces.)"

Yes, but who wants to let facts get in the way of a nice juicy anti-semitic whine?

none of the above said...

The examples that are relevant here are not only North Korea (has nukes, belligerent country run by a lunatic, not attacked by the US) and Libya (nearly had nukes, somewhat belligerent country run by a lunatic, attacked by us), but also India (has nukes, relatively decent democracy with rule of law as poor countries go) and Pakistan (has nukes, dysfunctional alternating military dictatorship/shaky corrupt democracy, somewhat belligerent, intelligence agencies in bed with terrorists and Taliban). We have good relations with both India and Pakistan, despite the fact that we're essentially fighting a war with the allies of the Pakistani intelligence service, some of it inside Pakistan. I assume that without Pakistan's nukes, we'd simply have invaded them and now be trying to set them to rights, too.

Obviously, if you're Iran, Syria, or any other country that worries about US intervention, you want nukes or some other meaningful deterrent.

Anonymous said...

REPLY TO WHISKEY:

"The US has a vital interest in keeping ME oil flowing"...


A HUGE myth. NOT TRUE at all.

Total imports of petroleum to USA.
(Top 15 countries.)

(Thousand barrels per day.)

Canada...................2,826
Mexico...................1,366
Saudi Arabia.............1,102
Venezuela................1,030
Nigeria..................1,007
Algeria..................565
Russia...................531
Iraq.....................470
Columbia.................332
Angola...................316
Virgin Islands...........276
Brazil...................274
Ecuador..................178
United Kingdom...........155
Kuwait...................147

(SOURCE): U.S. Energy Information Administration.

Additionally much could be done to expand domestic production in the USA. The main problem is environmental opposition. Canada also has vast untapped resources in its west, especially in the Tar sands.

It is a complete canard that the USA is reliant on the middle east for its energy needs or must defend them with military force. Consider the recent activity in Libya. Libya accounts for just barely 1% of the global oil export market and very little - if any - of that goes to the USA.

The TRUE reason for America's obsessive involvement in the middle east is because of political pressure from the Zionist-Jewish lobby.

I hope Mr. Sailer will print this.

ATBOTL said...

"The US has the vital interest of keeping the ME flowing cheaply. I'm appalled at the ignorance/fantasy of most posters here akin to an Obama fest featuring unicorns and rainbows. That means continually impressing hostile powers to lay off pushing oil up. With posturing that is believed short of war best of all. Machiavelli, Sun Tzu, Musashi, Ike, Churchill, and Clausewitz all agree on that point.

I don't see why folks can't understand that basic concept."

This post is truly Whiskey's magnum opus.

sabril said...

"Total imports of petroleum to USA."

It does seem pretty likely to me that an interruption in the flow of oil from the Persian Gulf would have a dramatic impact on oil prices everywhere, including the United States.

"The TRUE reason for America's obsessive involvement in the middle east is because of political pressure from the Zionist-Jewish lobby"

What possible difference does the situation in Libya mean for Israel? Everyone there hates Israel and hates Jews, just like you.

Is there any evidence to back up your claim?

Anyway, after the US recovered Kuwait, we surely could have pressured the government there to recognize Israel. Why didn't we?

David Davenport said...

... China HEFTY, HEFTY, HEFTY; Korea wimpy, wimpy, wimpy.

Big Brother Uncle Sugar STRONG, STRONG, STRONG, especially with new weapons currently in development:

... Another, more ambitious development currently at an early conceptual phase at DARPA is ArcLight, a missile system designed to engage surface ships or other targets at ranges of 3,000 miles. The missile’s terminal stage will be accelerated by a rocket booster to the edge of the atmosphere where it will reach hypervelocity speed, gliding over thousands of kilometers to reenter the atmosphere and reach its target in less than half an hour. A similar concept will be demonstrated early next year by the second test of the DARPA/U.S. Air Forces’ Falcon HTV-2.


The Triple Target Terminator (T3) is a DARPA sponsored program demonstrating next generation air dominance weapon. Concept Photo: via DARPA
A different mission also pursued under DARPA’s advanced weapons program is the Triple Target Terminator (T3) air dominance weapon. With this program the agency is developing a high speed, long-range missile that can engage enemy aircraft, cruise missile and air defense targets.
( Air defense targets = surface to air antiaircraft weapons. ) It will be designed for internal carriage on stealth aircraft like the F-35, F-22 and F-15SE, or externally on fighters, bombers and UAVs. T3 would allow strike fighter aircraft to rapidly switch between air-to-air and air-to-surface (counter-air) capabilities. Both Raytheon and Boeing were each awarded $21.3 million contracts to develop the new missile, which is expected to enter flight testing in 2014.

http://defense-update.com/wp/20101121_new-missiles.html


TTT(T3). Doncha like that alliteration?

Anonymous said...

@Anon
As though the price of oil/levels imported from Canada/Mexico would be anywhere close to what they currently are if Saudi Arabia's 11,000 bpd stopped going to China and Europe.

Anonymous said...

"The US has the vital interest of keeping the ME flowing cheaply. I'm appalled at the ignorance/fantasy of most posters here akin to an Obama fest featuring unicorns and rainbows."

We are all living in Petropolis.

David Davenport said...

I mean, do we want a party where the majority of voters believe in Creationism and oppose abortion(even for underclass idiots who are overbreeding)?

You're making friends and influencing peepul.

Steve S. is firmly opposed to abortion.

none of the above said...

Anonymous:

I'm no expert, but I think most oil-exporting countries, including Saudi Arabia, would hurt themselves way more than they'd hurt us by ceasing to sell oil on the world market. What the hell else do Saudi Arabia or Kuwait or Nigeria or Iraq or Libya have to sell the rest of the world, that would bring in anything like that kind of money?

One day, we will have a cheaper, better alternative to oil. Maybe that will be electric powered cars recharged from nuclear plants. Maybe it will be efficient algae-based biofuels. Or gas extracted from coal. Or whatever.

When that happens, the prospects of big oil producing companies will be truly grim. Places like Saudi Arabia and Kuwait have had oil wealth flowing in for so long, their entire societies have adjusted to it. I imagine things will get bloody and horrible in those countries. Even in countries like Mexico and Russia and Venezuela, where they're not *just* oil producers, I imagine the change caused by oil not being the world's fuel anymore will tear those countries up. Suddenly, the constant inflow of wealth that had been being used to prop up much of your government and corporate wealth has just stopped.

Svigor said...

Rewritten in light of Anony-mouse's Obi-wan observation:

Pyongyang: "Why you no rub me wrong time since nineteen-fifty-free?"
US: "Too far from Israel."
Pyongyang: "Pay attention to me now Capitalist running dog!"
Pyongyang (thinking): "Fuck! I make nuke and still no date! What a girl gotta do?"

Svigor said...

Iran, as well as the North Koreans, can see what happens to a country that can't defend itself against the US and it's allies. Most likely they are redoubling their nuclear efforts and won't be sweet-talked or threatened out of it. The other "axis" leader, Saddam Hussein, was hanged, a fate Ahmadinejad and Kim won't allow to have happen to them.

That's the thing about these smaller countries and their nuke programs, innit; they're not so useful offensively against us, but defensively, against an encroaching carrier group or armored division? Mastercard, baby.

Svigor said...

But maybe it will be the NK's turn for some thunder from above some day.

It's premature for you peaceniks to congratulate yourselves.


I'm no peacenik. I just don't trust the crooks running the show on "our" side.

And if it does become NK's turn, we'll probably find China's policies relatively unchanged this go 'round.

Much like we'd respond if China wanted to "set Mexico straight."

Sideways said...

"The US has a vital interest in keeping ME oil flowing"...


A HUGE myth. NOT TRUE at all.

Total imports of petroleum to USA.
(Top 15 countries.)


While it's true that we don't get much oil from the ME, it's also true that if they stopped shipping we would still have to pay much more as scarcity drove the price up.

Of course, Whiskey is still a lunatic who doesn't seem to have noticed that Saddam and Gaddafi were both happy to sell their oil before we invaded/attacked them.

Anonymous said...

http://www.grist.org/cities/2011-03-31-chinas-ghost-cities-and-the-biggest-property-bubble-of-all

Pagoda Bubble in China.

Anonymous said...

Great Leap Upward?

Anonymous said...

On China.

Good article on a good book.

http://www.tnr.com/book/review/chiang-kai-shek-pakula-taylor

Darjole said...

Poor countrymen :(