Kim (No, Not THAT One), Mahmoud, Bibi, and Barack Walk Up to the Bar


Kim Jong-un


The current tensions surrounding North Korea illustrate very nicely how even a rather silly dictator ruling over a sub-negligible economy and a hermit-like country can tease and worry much more significant powers when and if he has nuclear weapons.  And things aren’t made easier by the fact that Kim Jong-un is young and inexperienced, and that his generals have strong personal interest in misleading him as to his military strength.  (The head of South Korea, too, is relatively new in his job, and President Obama has, thus far, faced no serious international crisis.  So we’re potentially in uncharted waters.)


The Korean peninsula by night from space.
Compare the north to the south, in terms of electrification.


You can bet with assurance that Iran is watching this situation with intense interest.  How is America reacting?  How much can even economically anemic North Korea get away with?  What leverage is this latest Kim family dynast able to wield?  How many concessions, if any, will he win?  How much power can he gain, by intimidation, over his regional neighbors?


And you can bet that Benjamin Netanyahu and the government of Israel are watching, as well, and calculating what, if anything, they may need to do in their own self-interest with regard to Iran — which is, in many ways, a possibly far more powerful regional hegemon than is North Korea is, in its neighborhood.


It may be just another Korean joke, but it could also be quite dangerous.



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  • Michael Towns

    That picture from space is proof-positive that Marxism results in the absence of civilization.

  • Jeremy

    Rumor has it that his aunt controls things which takes some of the inexperience off the table. I would bet Iran is coordinating directly with North Korea (I would).

    This also shows what happens when you keep a choke hold on people and neither finish your quarrel nor let it go. Joseph Smith’s presidential platform was interesting and years ago led me to reevaluate my own balance of justice and mercy. Wiping out an aggressive enemy that will stop at nothing while you live (lots of biblical and BoM precedent for this) is so so much more merciful than placing or maintaining a strangle hold on them and turning the thumbscrews till they crack. We have dealt very poorly with North Korea and others and we’re paying and will continue to pay for the error.

  • Eric the Half-bee

    It has been my assessment all along that this is intended primarily for internal consumption. Kim will bluster and shout, tensions will rise, but things will eventually get smoothed over to the status quo, and his credibility as the legitimate successor to the Great and Dear Leaders will be cemented in the minds of the benighted DPRK masses; he will have stood up to the Eagle and ‘won’ – and we’ll send some more ‘tributary rice’ to boot.

    • danpeterson

      Your assessment is very likely right.

      It’s just that there’s a very slight chance that it’s not . . .

  • Lucy Mcgee

    China will ultimately determine the outcome of recent hostilities. If China stopped supporting the North Korean regime, it would quickly crumble and millions of refugees would be fleeing into China. Without China, North Korea, in its current form, would not exist. To me, it seems extremely brutal and cruel that the Chinese government, well aware of the dire circumstances of the North Korean populace, continues to support this totalitarian regime as a buffer nation.

    This fact is one of many human rights abuses the first world nations continually overlook. But we do love our shiny new iPads, on which you can discover that the workers that built them occasionally hurl themselves from the upper floors of the Foxconn buildings in which they were built (nets have been installed).

  • Mark Jasinski

    One would hope that there is a Tiger Mom in the room who will take Kim aside and
    say, “Let’s think about this for a minute.”