Monday, October 09, 2006

Some Strangelove From the DPRK

It looks like the North Korean government, perhaps heartened by the display of propaganda on this blog, (sorry folks!) decided to go ahead and test their very own atomic bomb. While reports are still filing in, it looks like this is serious. This is opposed to as the not so serious, "sorry guys we only meant to give
you a good scare" atomic bomb test. We know those happen all the time.

While everyone is covering the story, the wikipedia page on the subject, seems to be doing the best job of aggregating all of the content.

After the Democracy Bomb (US), the Communist Bomb (USSR) the Fish and Chips Bomb (UK), the Wine and Cheese Bomb (France), Asia's Bomb (China), the Jewish Bomb (Israel), the Hindu Bomb (India), the apartheid Bomb (South Africa), and, of course, the Islamic Bomb (Pakistan), we have,the Fourth World Bomb or, if you like, the Backyard Nuke.

If North Korea can do it, so can you.

The reason that I'm joking about this very unfunny business is simple, there's not much that we, as citizens of the (more or less) free world, can do.

The NYT, in its great habit of stating the obvious, leads off with an editorial that states:

Let us all agree: North Korea's government is too erratic, too brutal, and too willing to sell what it has built to have a nuclear bomb.

This is true, but Stalin also brutal and so was Mao, indeed if the Purges and the "Great Leap Forward" showed us anything, they were also pretty irrational. Yet we learned to live with their bombs. North Korea is unstable, but so was South Africa when it built its weapons and so is "Major non-NATO ally" Pakistan today. Yet the US and India live with the "Islamic Bomb" only a few minutes as the Scud flies from New Deli.

At this point, in my opinion, the "best of worst actions" is inaction. Here's my "idiot's guide" to our chocies.

Option A: Sanctions on everything except minimum food and fuel oil. Result: Kim makes due with less cognac and starves his people some more, the status quo endures. US credibility takes a hit, Iran takes note.

Option B: Complete sanctions. Result: Kim threatens to send a horde of starving grandmothers over the border at gunpoint, Chinese reconsider sanctions, US protests, China threatens to dump Treasury bonds, US reconsiders bullying its chief creditor. Sanctions fail, status quo ensues.

Option C: Armed response. Result: Kim starts burning Seoul with his big guns. General War. 50,000 dead Americans, 1 million dead Koreans.

Option D: Deterrence. Send Kim congratulations for joining "the club" and a pair of gold launch keys as a token of our esteem. Invite him over for talks at the ranch now that he is "in the neighborhood." Also include an autographed photo of the Minuteman missilee wing targeted at his palaces, just a little reminder that since he is now a MAD man, he is also a marked man.

Option D is purposeful inaction, also known as deterrence. We can, and should, supplement this with talks, indeed offer the DPRK a "Grand bargain" if he is interested and we can verify that he is keeping his word. Otherwise we should just let Kim&Co know that if he takes his new toys out of the sandbox, or shares them with his "friends," his ass is glass. It may not be pretty, and it doesn't give us any room for lofty rhetoric, but it has worked for 60 years, and I believe it will work now.

And now, direct from the newest part of the Imperium Google, YouTube, some good old fashionedd Strangelove. This one's for you Kim.


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