"How did it come to pass that an opposition's measure of a president's foreign policy was all or nothing, success or "failure"? The answer is that the political absolutism now normal in Washington arrived at the moment--Nov. 7, 2000--that our politics subordinated even a war against terror to seizing the office of the presidency." - Daniel Henninger - WSJ 11/18/05
"the slovenliness of our language makes it easier for us to have foolish thoughts." - George Orwell

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

North Korean Military Celebrations: Kim & the Gang, Keeping the Funk Alive!

Today Kim and the Gang celebrated the North Korean People’s Army’s 75th birthday, which as described by the NY Times consisted of:

“Columns of soldiers accompanied by missiles and rockets marched through Pyongyang today under the eyes of the North Korean leader, Kim Jong-il, in a bold display of defiance by a country that has been engaged in a nuclear standoff with the United States.”

The credit for the strong show of support is given, by the North Korean state run media to Kim and his “songun” or “army-first” policy. Songun policy dictates that the army comes first with regard to receipt of food, medical care and any other resources necessary. This policy is attributed to the strong feelings of nationalism in North Korea. This has “also stoked xenophobia among the North Koreans. It stressed a belief that the North Koreans were under attack from the Americans and that the only way out of their economic suffering was to build a strong military.

“The show of might today illustrated just how hard it will be to wrest nuclear arms from North Korea now that they have become firmly entrenched in North Korean nationalism.”

Former South Korean government strategist, Nam Joo Hong said of Kim:

“Kim Jong-il won’t, and he can’t, give up nuclear weapons. It goes against the very premise of songun.”

Peter Hayes director of the research entity, Nautilus Institute agrees:

“I do not believe that Kim Jong-il will trade off nuclear weapons for mere economic benefits. The main benefit from becoming a self-perceived ‘dignified nuclear state’ that was 5,000 years in the making is political, not economic.”

Adding to these concerns is the fact that:

North Korea’s armed forces, which have 1.2 million regular soldiers, are the world’s fifth largest in number, and the third largest if its 6 million reserves are added.”

Although a big army and this is no call for an invasion, Saddam Hussein had a rather large and imposing army at one time as well. However, even though their air force rarely flies and tanks rarely roll due to fuel shortages, they do have a large supply of chemical and biological weaponry.

A scant week or so ago, April 14th to be exact “the first deadline for North Korea to shut down and seal its main facility for manufacturing nuclear weapons fuel expired.”

The deal to shut down the nuclear reactor, excluding the issue of nukes was reached in February and as of today the reactor hums along.

According to North Korea this has stalled because the frozen funds have supposedly not thawed, although “authorities in Macao have since said they would release the funds to their owners, but none of the account holders have come forward.

So, good news all around considering the “great news of the Iranian agreement to talks,” and now this. Anyone detect a pattern????

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