I have come to the reluctant conclusion that in international relations, a certain separation from reality bordering on insanity is required. And in some cases, it’s very, very easy to slip across the line from separation from reality into true insanity.
Witness North Korea. They have a remarkably simple approach to foreign policy: whatever they do that others don’t like, it’s either no one else’s goddamned business or a justifiable act of self-defense. Whatever anyone else does they don’t like is an act of war. It’s supreme narcissism: I want it my way right now, and whatever you want doesn’t matter. It may work fine in certain cases, such as when the demanding party is in a position of absolute power, but otherwise it is pretty much doomed to failure.
Kim Jong-Il is used to getting his own way within the walls of his prison nation. He is the warden, the supreme power, the only true “decider,” and whatever he says goes — or whoever questions him goes. He’s trying to export that philosophy, to demand that the rest of the world bow and scrape before his will as he has come to expect from his own captive citizenry.
It is that mentality that leads him to declare that he, of all the nations in the world, can freely test-fire his missiles into international airspace and waters, even across other nations’ borders, without a by-your-leave or a courtesy “this is only a test” announcement. And if anyone should happen to challenge — nay, even question — that belief, then that is not only an affront to Kim Jong-Il, but to the nation of North Korea itself (for, after all, “l’etat, c’est moi,”), and an assault on the very reality on which the nation is based. It could be no less than an act of war.
As I said, such an attitude is fine — if one has the means to enforce it. “It ain’t bragging if you can do it.” And Kim Jong-Il believes that his nuclear weapons (or, at least, the world’s uncertainty as to whether he possesses them or not) give him the leverage to back up that demand.
It may be time to remind him of a few facts that might have an untoward effect on his beliefs:
1) The nation he is threatening is the one that invented nuclear weapons.
2) It is also the only nation to ever use those weapons in anger.
3) He has, at most, a handful of nuclear weapons, and we are a very, very big nation.
4) We have a hell of a lot more of them, the ability to deliver them to any spot in the world, and he has a very small nation.
5) Our national resolve is largely dependent on the occupant of the White House.
6) The current occupant of the White House has already invaded and overthrown two governments who pissed us off.
One of the side effects of the tremendous, almost incomprehensible, increases in technology in general and telecommunications in particular is to make the world smaller. “Halfway around the world” is, in many cases, utterly irrelevant. In my own case, I “work” with a half-dozen people on Wizbang, and we’re scattered across the east half of the country (and that is purely coincidental; they could be literally anywhere.) I have two blog-friends who live in Texas and Costa Rica respectively, and I get along better with them than I do with some of the people in my own apartment building, whom I see on a daily basis.
North Korea has chosen to separate itself from the community of nations. They have, in effect, built a big wall around their home and issue dire imprecations to any of the neighbors who think of “interfering” with what they do there. As a man’s home is his castle (Kelo notwithstanding), that’s fine and well within his rights.
But behind those walls, Kim Jong-Il is building bombs — bombs big enough to cause carnage and mayhem far beyond his walls’ ability to withstand. He’s also playing with big fireworks, the type that could easily burn down his neighbors’ homes. And amidst it all, he’s insisting that anyone who tries to get him to stop — even by asking nicely, or simply loudly — will be treated as an intruder, an invader, a trespasser, and shot on sight.
Kim Jong-Il needs to be reminded that while he may not be a part of the community, he is still among one. North Korea, like it or not, is a part of the Earth, not located on the moon. (Which, if it were the case, would make life much simpler — we could simply let FrankJ settle the matter for us.
It’s got to the point where someone has to go over to Kim’s house, knock REAL LOUD on that fence, and inform him to knock it off. It’s gonna take the biggest, strongest guy in the neighborhood to do that, and that, quite frankly, is the US. And soon, because the longer we wait, the more unpleasant the conversation will be.
It is my understanding that Tomahawk cruise missiles make excellent door-knockers…
(Yes, I am aware that China is the unmentioned element in this equation. I’ll address that part at a later date.)