Saturday, May 30, 2009

Back to the War

Been following the news from North Korea lately? If I wanted to sleep better at night I should probably stop. Actually at this point I’ve mostly decided to ignore it although it has lead to several rather unpleasant thoughts lately.

If it’s a shooting war stay or go?

How do I get my money out? Better, can I get my money out?

If it gets really ugly Philippines, China, or Japan?


Why all the questions you might ask? Well essentially North Korea officially stated yesterday that it will no longer abide by the 1953 armistice because South Korea has agreed to join a particular non-proliferation agreement that had originally been pushed under BushCo. Essentially the agreement says that if there are ships that are suspected of transporting weapons of mass destruction or components in territorial waters than the country responsible for the water can stop, board, search, and seize any such materials.

The North threatened to stop abiding by the armistice treaty if South Korea got on board. South Korea got on board. North Korea is threatening serious military response if South Korea boards a ship.

Now what does it mean for those on the ground? Korea, as usual, is just Korea. I go to work, I do my job, we laugh about pop singers, talk about boys who wear pink shirts, and generally ignore what is going on in North K. It means there will be less GI presence in my local bars for a while. It also probably means NK and SK are going to sink a couple of ships at each other.

Here is the thing, this has all happened before (and it will happen again for you BG fans). I was here in 2002 when South Korea and North Korean had a spat of ship sinking. Politicians were angry, there were some shots fired on both sides. Everyone pulled them out and put them on the table. A year later we had talks and general disarmament until 2006. In 2006 North did it again. More talks. More business and usual. So North Korea has a history of this. It gets it’s panties in a wad and holds the world hostage mostly to get food aid, money and assurances that it is being respected. In a lot of ways North Korea is like that megalomaniac bully you knew in school, the short one with the bad attitude who didn’t actually beat anybody up but had two troglodytic body guards that would snap two and kick the shit out of you at one word. Yeah, North Korea is that kid.

Granted there is a serious problem here. Remember back in April when North K sent up it’s satellite cum long range missile test? And, did you catch in the news that two days ago Iran is saying that it now has a long range missile that would be capable of hitting all kinds of targets. Coincidence?That’s the problem with this situation, while NK may well be playing king of the hill and playing it up for the drama points, at the end of the day they are in their own special way making the world a slightly less safe place to be.

At the moment it is totally possible that North Korea could really lose it and actually move on the ground. They have during one or the other of the recent uprising in the last six years threatened to turn Seoul into a sea of flame. For those of us south of Seoul worse case scenario the best thing to do is sit on ones hands and wait it out. In the meantime though work, school, drinking, and debauchery as scheduled.

1 comment:

Tony said...

I think it is a lot of saber rattling nonsense but you never can tell who may be harmed in such displays of political and militaristic stupidity. Also, I would not doubt there is a tie between North Korea and Iran working their nuclear proliferation programs. You know, the AXIS OF EVIL and all. Hang in there but keep alert and keep your head down as you run to the nearest flight out.