Let's face up to facts about North Korea
I try not to comment very often about international problems or situations in these pages. Afterall, we have enough questions and concerns right here in our own town that needs thought and consideration.
But once in a while, some international problem will arise and I just can't stop thinking about it until I write something. This week North Korea has been on my mind a whole lot.
As baby boomers were all taught to "duck and cover" when the nuclear attack drills took place in our schools. For those of us that grew up in metropolitan areas, we knew that if our city had over about 20,000 people, the Soviets had a nuke just ready for us. Little did we realize that the duck and cover maneuver would never have to be used for real during the cold war, nor would it have done much to protect us had the unthinkable ever happened.
I also remember they told us we would probably have 15-20 minutes warning should Russian missiles be launched towards America. More than enough time to get into a shelter, particularly when one is in school. But I always wondered what we would find afterward if we did get to that shelter and was able to emerge from it. Would it have been a world most of us wanted to live in? Or would we just die from radiation poisoning or a permanent winter that would wipe out all the crops in a short period of time, where everyone on earth would starve to death?
Now that North Korea is a nuclear power, what do we have to worry about that we didn't before? What we have is not a world where MAD (Mutual Assured Destruction) kept the chance of nuclear war at almost zero for 60 years.
However, what we have today it quite different. This Pacific rim country has little scruples about selling off it's technology that can affect us without any warning at all. I have little concern about the North Koreans firing off a missile and putting a warhead in the middle of Price or even Seattle, Wash. Even if they did succeed in either of those scenarios, or any other direct attack upon United States territory, we would have a very good place to ship used up nuclear power generation waste from now on: the Korean peninsula would probably be more irradiated than the sun from the retaliation. Their leaders know that too.
No, what I fear is the sneak attack by terrorists who slip a Korean aided bomb across our border and then let go with an blast that could make 9-11 look like a kiddy parade.
Right now the North Korean leadership is really enjoying tweaking the giant's nose, because they know there is little we can do about their nuclear program without taking direct military action. Basically in a United Nations address on Saturday, the North Korean delegate to that body told the whole world, including their strongest ally, China, where to go over the whole mess.
For the last 60 years less than five percent of the population on this planet has made the world wag it's tail when it wanted to; the United States economic power could create such waves that we could do that. Now a country with less than 1 percent of the worlds people is doing the same thing, but with fear, rather than money.
Some people talk of a military option; what fools we would be in our own state of affairs to jump into that unless we were directly attacked. I can tell you if we did that, it could cause a domino affect so great that those of you driving Korean and Japanese cars might never see a new one again. Even if we could take out North Korea without some kind of nuclear conflaguration, the prospect of having South Korean or American troops at their southern border would make China very nervous, I am sure. It would be another crisis in the making.
The answer here is something else. It's called diplomacy, and I realize as most of us view that as a very weak option. The North Koreans are not interested in the six way talks that were halted some time back, they want to talk directly to us in negotiations. The Bush administraton doesn't want that because it feels too much like giving into a terrorist state that the president labeled a few years ago a part of the axis of evil.
Certainly, even if we sat down and talked to them, during that whole conversation they would be plotting more devilment. With most of their people starving, the direction of the countrys leadership has been that of a person obsessed with building up his or her muscles, while neglecting intellectual exercise for their brain. Eventually that kind of one sided preparation catches up with the person doing it and with countries as well.
But will it catch up soon enough, before the worst can happen?