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The Scum Gentry journal - An Alternative News Source
Political news and world politics from a different perspective.

North Korean Nuclear Crisis: An Analysis by Trevor Duncan

North Korea is a sort of misshapen political science experiment wherein a peninsula was divided between capitalism and communism. The South enjoying the patronage of the West while the North “enjoyed” the regional hospitality of the Communist regimes in China and the Soviet Union.

The totalitarian left did what it normally did, and culminated in the rule of a dictator with a personality cult at the ready in North Korea. The moderate capitalist forces did what they normally do: they turned the South into a high-end economic power featuring manufacturing as its main focus but will probably turn out to be somewhat unsustainable.

There was a war where the two sides were separated by a demilitarised zone (DMZ) at the 39th parallel. Millions of mines being seeded into the no-man’s-land in between the two, and armoured forts rose up like the type that Roman Legions used to build on the Danube and the Rhine to guard against potential barbarian invasions.

None of this is particularly germane to the current day, except that it does help to set the scene.

There are a few facts which will very much help us with looking at the situation of North Korea today.

The first is their trade statistics.

North Korea is the 119th largest export economy in the world. For those of you doing the math at home, that rates as not very good. North Korea’s annual GDP is 12.4B USD, with its trade deficit (mostly with China) somewhere in the neighbourhood of seven hundred million dollars.

Currently, demographic statistics are not very reliable as few sources are allowed into the DPRK (Democratic People’s Republic of Korea), but I’ve heard word-of-mouth type rumour that North Koreans are so poor that their caloric intake has decreased to the point where they tend to be a few inches shorter and several pounds lighter than their South Korean brethren.

I will take this short moment to point out that South Korea’s annual GDP is somewhere around a hundred times that of its northern neighbour.

With most of the population either working coal mines or refining iron ore and the rest being subsistence farmers desperately scrabbling at North Korea’s war-torn hills and rugged terrain for enough food to feed everyone, you might have started to wonder over the course of the last few paragraphs, “How in the world are they threatening the planet with nuclear weapons?”

This is the question, isn’t it? How, indeed?

The North Korean government is on record as threatening the United States and others with submarine-bound nuclear arsenals, including ICBM-type nuclear tipped weapons. The North Koreans threw a massive military parade in mid-April, displaying to the world a series of apparent nuclear missiles which many outlets wondered after the authenticity of, as they appeared almost out of thin air while the Korean peninsula is under heavy surveillance.

The current administration of the United States of America is both primary target and the party most taking umbrage to the hostility of the North Korean regime. While also being hostile itself, the United States has another thing in common with North Korea: it is also nuclear armed, but probably much more genuinely so.

Here is a fun web page which details the state of the most prolific nuclear arsenals in the world and their dispositions.

You can plainly see that the United States possesses enough nuclear weapons to not only wipe out North Korea, but turn it into glass, then dust, then also evaporate the sea it is floating on.

The reason the United States does not do things like this is because North Korea has a big brother, and North Korea’s big brother is the reason we’re in the situation that we’re in today. There may also be some quaint notions about fair play and human rights and decency and so forth, but its rarely provable.

North Korea’s big brother is nuclear-armed as well, and its name is China.

China has repeatedly refused to countenance direct military action against its smaller neighbour, correctly (under international law and custom, which we will quickly discuss in a moment) interpreting North Korea and its environs as her own backyard, and therefore her responsibility to police.

As far as why it has chosen to allow North Korea to conduct its business in that special way in which it has done so has, I think, more to do with China’s respect for potentially imaginary international law than for anything else. Russia and China are both thoroughly vilified by the United States for their refusal to allow interference in sovereign nations (most recently an attempt to keep the United States out of Yemen and Syria) on the basis of any number of factors by way of Security Council vetoes. Their explanation for this has always been that UN law is supposed to protect national sovereignty until and unless definitive proof of crimes against humanity or grievous human rights violations or desperate pleas for help from a recognised government become apparent, no intervention is desirable.

From a political realism sort of viewpoint, this is much more likely to be a cover for those countries to continue conducting illegal arms deals, human trafficking and black market trade under cover of non-interference in those countries. No one can spy on their traders if no one is allowed into the country, right?

On the other hand, we can’t prove they’re doing that, are probably also doing that, and we also have to confront the fact that it actually is the base purpose of the United Nations to protect sovereignty and thereby prevent another global war. This is a bit of a let-down for Neoconservatives, so you tend to get a lot of warmongering in the GOP-led United States Congress these days.

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