Archive for North Korea

We Need a Global Police Force

Posted in Human Rights Abuses, International with tags , , on September 5, 2013 by Black Pumpkin

I’ve heard it said so many times now that is has become a cliché: The US is not the world’s police. OK, yes, that’s true. And it should probably remain that way. But doesn’t it seem like the world needs some policing. I am not going to argue that it should be at the hands of the US. But it seems to me that it should be someone.

Some will no doubt argue that this is the role of the UN. And perhaps in some ways that’s true. They do send monitors to elections or “peacekeepers” to ceasefires, but it seems like there should be a more robust police force in the world. Just imagine if the ICC had an actual police department with officers and detectives. And I’m not talking about “Crossing Lines” here. And believe it or not, I’m not trying to be flippant. I really do believe that the world needs some kind of global police force.

The unspoken truth is that the world is really anarchic (as an aside: I really hate that word. Not what it means or anything like that, but it is just such a weird word to say. I guess I am being a little flippant). The countries of the world do whatever the hell they want to. And it seems like they often get away with it. Do you want to make sure that everyone has a decent standard of living and gets free healthcare? Great, do it! Do you want everyone to worship you as a god and punish them with torture and famine if they don’t? OK, I guess you can do that too.

Sure, there are consequences to starving your people or building nuclear weapons. But they don’t seem harsh enough to deter those countries that want to go down that fucked-up road to do that. If I was to torture and kill my family, I wouldn’t be punished by not being able to go to certain stores. And that is essentially what we do to a country like North Korea, for example. We don’t trade with them. And we encourage others not to trade with them. But that doesn’t mean that no one trades with them. China seems to have no problem trading with them. So I guess even crazy murderous psychopaths get to shop at certain stores. That seems fair, right? Fuck no!

People that kill their own families should be punished. Dictators that kill their own people should be punished.

I don’t know if we will make the situation in Syria any better by bombing them. Even if the bombing is “precise” and there are no “boots on the ground.” But at the same time, looking the other way while someone murders their family seems like the wrong thing to do.

Journalists Freed!

Posted in Asia, Domestic, Human Rights Abuses with tags , , , , on August 5, 2009 by Black Pumpkin

I was hopeful when I read that former President Bill Clinton was going to North Korea to ask that the two journalists, Euna Lee and Laura Ling, be freed.  But I didn’t want to get too hopeful until I read that they have actually been released.  So I am very glad that Clinton did what he did.

Even if they were treated well, they should never have been arrested and sentenced to 12 years hard labor.

Of course, not everyone is happy about their release.  John Bolton has decried Clinton’s visit even if he wasn’t explicitly saying that these two journalists were not worth it.  Perhaps Bolton thought it was a bad idea to try to get North Korea to release them because they were working for Current TV which was founded by Al Gore.  And of course, one of the Clintons got them released, so that has got to get under his skin.

More on John Bolton from Wikipedia.

More on North Korea

Posted in Asia with tags on June 19, 2009 by Black Pumpkin

Please read Sporty Morty’s post on North Korea first as this is a response to his piece, but I thought it was important enough to create a new post instead of just a comment.

The nuclear and missile tests performed by the DPRK (their official designation; it stands for Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, I know it’s absurd but there it is) is something that has been roundly condemned by the world as it should be.  This is essentially what UN Resolution 1874 is all about.  We all need to keep a sharp eye on what they are doing and what they are saying, but I don’t think that North Korea really wants to go to war.  I know that seems counter-intuitive based on the recent developments, but I firmly believe it’s true.

The regime in the DPRK is absolutely ruthless and heartless, but I don’t think they are suicidal.  And I have to imagine that they understand that if they were to really do anything foolish like attack Hawaii, or even come close to it, they would be in for a world of hurt.  Granted, we are already engaged in two wars but there is no doubt that Obama would not hesitate to take out Pyongyang if we were really threatened and especially if we were attacked.  But as I said, I don’t think they want to go to war.  So why are they doing the things they are doing?

They know that they are despised, and that, of course, doesn’t bother them.  But what they want is not to be attacked.  And they want more stuff for themselves.  So why would they act so provocatively if they don’t want to be attacked.  Well, it’s posturing.  They want to show the world that they can strike targets that are relatively far away so it would be unwise to attack them at all.  Also, with the addition of nukes they are saying that if you attack us, we will start WWIII.  I think they are trying to put themselves in Russia’s place during the Cold War.  If they get hit, they will try to destroy everyone around them and the US if possible.  They are essentially trying to show the world how dangerous it would be to attack them.  It may seem crazy, but it might work.  And when you consider how close Seoul, South Korea is to North Korea (about 50 miles), I certainly hope that we don’t have any real confrontations with them.

Also, I think they want to use this “leverage” that they are trying to create by showing how tough they are in negotiations for more aid or fuel or whatever.  Kim Jong-Il only wants these things for himself and doesn’t really care about taking care of his people, but there is only so much that it can get from China (it’s main trading partner).  And so they are trying whatever they can to get more.  Unfortunately, I don’t really think this tactic will work all that well, but no one said that Kim Jong-Il and his people were the smartest political leaders.

So while I think that we need to keep a careful eye on North Korea, I am fairly confident that we will not be going to war with them anytime soon.

I certainly hope I’m right.

War with North Korea?

Posted in Asia with tags , , on June 18, 2009 by Mort the Sport

It seems that quite a bit has been happening while I was vacationing in Kings Canyon. (I had a great time, hiking, staring up at immense trees–the treehugger in me felt all warm and fuzzy inside [and outside].) Stepping back into BNG, I feel as if I’m trying to jump onto a moving bus. It’s almost unimaginable that more could be going on in the world of foreign policy. Several situations are going to blow up, have blown up, or are steadily deteriorating. But there’s one story that stands out. Never mind the problems with the elections in Iran; never mind the Netanyahu’s administration unwillingness to give an inch. These developments pale in comparison to the big news that North Korea plans to test one of its long range missiles on a US state or territory. Are the North Koreans crazy? Or is this exactly the right time for them to strike? The US can ill afford to enter into yet another war, but if North Korea openly attacks us, I don’t think Obama will stand by and do nothing. The thought of another war is unsettling. North Korea’s truculent response to UN Security Council Resolution 1874 is frightening. It’s like we’ve backed a rabid alley cat into a corner, and it intends to gouge our eyes out with infected claws. North Korea doesn’t really have that kind of capability, but they do seem to have the potential to provoke the US into some sort of military response. The US military is already gearing up to go into action should North Korean shoot so much as an arrow in our direction. Then there’s the added worry that a missile could get by our defenses. What if said missile has an active warhead with some atomic capability? Am I just fantasizing at this point, or is this a very real possibility? It seems that North Korea has very few options, or they would be considering another course of action. The question is, will they fire a warning shot, as it were, or will they try to do some real damage?

North Korea Jails Journalists

Posted in Asia, Human Rights Abuses with tags on June 8, 2009 by Black Pumpkin

Two journalists, Laura Ling and Euna Lee, working for Current TV were sentenced to 12 years hard labor by the North Korean government.  They were working on a story about the trafficking of women near the Chinese border with North Korea.

I commend these women for doing what they were doing.  I can only imagine the courage it must take to do something like that.  And I don’t think I can think of a worse place to be than in a North Korean prison.   In this LA Times article, it explains just how bad it can be.  It is really unbelievable.  I certainly hope that the Obama administration is doing all it can to ensure the release of these two women who have done nothing wrong.  I know we don’t have the best relationship with North Korea, but this is something that I think deserves immediate attention.

North Korea jails US journalists (BBC)