Wednesday, October 4, 2006 at 11:18 AM

Why do world leaders even give North Korea’s president the time of day…

Posted by Anthony L. Hall

North Korean President Kim Jong-Il is a temperamental and insecure man. Only this explains his habit of making nuclear threats from time to time. Whenever he does, he commands the international attention he craves so pathologically and extorts the aid his people need so desperately…

This explains why he’s s jealous of the way the international media are still savoring the spectacle Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez made of himself at the United Nations recently. Not to mention the the coverage they’re giving to, inter alia, the most sensational sex scandal to rock U.S. politics in decades; the unexpected suspense now hovering over the reelection of Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva; the arrest of Russian spies by Georgian authorities that has Russian President Vladimir Putin threatening to deal with them even more harshly than he dealt with the unruly Ukrainians (he cut off their gas supply after they voted out his puppet president and refused to pay the shocking price increases he demanded); and, perhaps most galling of all, the balloting at the UN that will inevitably elect South Korea’s Ban Ki-Moon to replace Kofi Annan as Secretary-General.

This time, Mr Kim’s temper tantrum – expressed in his patented passive-aggressive manner – was vented in the specious declaration that “extreme threats” by the Americans have escalated their nuclear brinksmanship to a dangerous level and forced him to bring out his nuclear weapons, instead of continuing to play with his big conventional guns. Never mind that no one outside of his “hermit kingdom” has ever verified that he has the nuclear weapons he keeps threatening to deploy.

Nonetheless, when it comes to psychological warfare, this North Korean gnome manages to jerk the world’s chain every time. Indeed, true to form, statements of concern from world leaders about what Mr Kim might do followed his antic declaration with Pavlovian predictability. But one wonders why – given his record of idle threats – these world leaders even give him the time of day?

But then I got an email last night from a relative in the Bahamas aping their statements of concern about North Korea. I was stupefied! Because the only threat to her idyllic life is the potential economic fallout from the ongoing dispute at the Grand Bahama Port Authority (which owns, controls or regulates virtually all businesses on the island) over the estate of its co-founder, the late Edward St. George, that threatens to send the local economy into a tailspin.

Therefore, I feel obliged to clarify that – despite his posturing – Mr Kim is like a traditional school-yard bully who is a pain in the ass on the playground but always falls in line when the school bell rings. Besides, notwithstanding the (irrational) fears he incites, he has proved a remarkably stable, reliable and peaceful leader juxtaposed to others like Chavez and Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

More to the point, however, even if Kim possesses nuclear weapons — as he professes, like Saddam Hussein, he will use them on his own people to maintain absolute grip on power before launching a preemptive attack on South Korea, let alone on his useful boogeyman, the United States. And, it is far more likely that fanatical Taliban sympathizers in Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) would share nuclear technology or even nuclear weapons with terrorists before the devoutly hedonistic Kim does.

Finally, Cold War tensions between the US and Soviet Union never provoked leaders of either country to violate the universally accepted nuclear doctrine of Mutual Assured Destruction (MAD). Likewise, no matter how much North Korea provokes tensions with the United States, we have good reason to believe that Kim would never dare violate that doctrine. Indeed, if the past 53 years is prologue, then the “volatile” stand-off between North and South Korea will never escalate much beyond the cross-border stare down depicted in the picture to the right.

Clearly, Mr Kim is not about to launch an Hitlerian blitzkrieg across Asia or, worse, launch nuclear missiles across the Pacific. Therefore, the U.S. and other world leaders should quit coddling him every time he throws a temper tantrum. Instead, they should let him pine away and follow the strategy of containment I outlined in this article, here, entitled Resolving the North Korean Menace!

Because, really, “the only thing we have to fear is fear itself.”



  1. October 4, 2006 at 10:22 pm

    Good one.
    By the way, the Grand Bahama economy is already in shambles.

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