North Korea carries out Nuclear Test (Nobody is That Stupid Pt. II) October 9, 2006Posted by earthlingconcerned in north korea, Nuclear Weapons.
I wasn’t planning on writing a follow-up to my last surprisingly popular post (The World Can Be Turned Off with the Flick of a Switch (But Nobody is that Stupid)) but considering the recent news coming out of North Korea, I felt it somewhat relevant to keep the discussion going. If you haven’t heard yet, North Korea has gone through with their first nuclear weapons test. The Korean Central News Agency reported the following:
The field of scientific research in the DPRK successfully conducted an underground nuclear test under secure conditions on October 9, 2006, at a stirring time when all the people of the country are making a great leap forward in the building of a great, prosperous, powerful socialist nation. It has been confirmed that there was no such danger as radioactive emission in the course of the nuclear test as it was carried out under scientific consideration and careful calculation. The nuclear test was conducted with indigenous wisdom and technology 100 percent. It marks a historic event as it greatly encouraged and pleased the KPA and people that have wished to have powerful self-reliant defense capability. It will contribute to defending the peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula and in the area around it.
It appears that the fears of much of world have finally been realized. Is the threat of nuclear Armageddon closer today than it was yesterday? Standing by what I wrote in my last post, I would say we’re just about as endangered today as we were yesterday. How can I say this? North Korea has been thought of as the bigger threat, when compared to Iraq/Iran, by most of the western world. But I remain firm in my stance nonetheless.
Not wanting to sound like I defend anything North Korea does, I’ll make it perfectly clear that I think the regime is being run in a fairly horrible way. There is nothing in there that suggests the country is being run for their population (like one would hope a ruling regime would do). Kim Jong-Il came into power by means of dynastic succession, a type of rule that doesn’t require keeping the population happy, as long as it’s controlled. It’s an extremely closed society, in an internationally isolated sense, as well as in the Karl Popper sense (re: The Open Society and Its Enemies). All of this this leads to big-headedness, delusions of grandeur, and in this case, a starving population. Let them eat cake (or grass). I see a potential for a new arms race in eastern Asia. I see some more sanctions, but nothing that would cripple the country. Cutting off the oil flow or the food aid would merely promote the destabilization of an already fragile country. Something will be done, but that something will probably end up hurting their economy ever so slightly, but they will still have nuclear weapons capabilities after the rest of the world begins to forget about what took place today. Think about what happened to India after their last tests in the late 90s (and if you can’t remember what happened, that would reaffirm my point in a way). But I’m barely an expert, browse the web for more detailed news, watch what’s happening live on the news, and ultimately wait for things to unfold and history will write itself. I still don’t believe that this news will endanger the world’s population in the long run.
I’ll refer back to my sketchy analogy about the room with the light bulb from my last post. Pandora’s box had been opened when Hiroshima was bombed in 1945. The information needed to produce the weapon is available, the materials required to put the information to use can be obtained with enough effort. More and more people in the room with the light will whisper or overhear the secret of flipping the switch. One element that remains unchanged with all of the North Korean news is that having the bomb is useless if ever used internationally today. Because the moment its used, the retaliation/response will most likely (no, I can’t predict the future) result in that country no longer having nuclear capabilities and simultaneously with that country not being around in any recognizable form. Then there’s the big argument that not everyone is a rational being and therefore ability to do some pretty horrible things regardless of consequence.
As mentioned before, and barring a polarized set of serious military alliances on a global level (like during the NATO/Warsaw Pact days), a nuclear attack against a north Korean neighbor would be horrible for that country and also North Korea, but barely anyone else. So irrationality is automatically thwarted in a way. There is the argument that modern terrorism is so scattered and decentralized that things would be drastically different if, let’s just use Al-Quaida as a popular example, got their hands on a nuke. In this hypothetical world of the future, this terrorist group bombed a major city somewhere in the world. It is true that there would be no specific country to retaliate against, but realistically, the middle east would just be bombed. Wrongfully so, maybe, but the stereotypes of the 9/11 world puts the entire region at risk if the initial attack were ever to happen. This horribly unacceptable clumping together of the entire region simply turns it into a possible target. This of course is all hypothetical, just as everything anyone may have to say about the topic. That’s the nature of the beast known as the future.
But these modern terrorist cells as the worst possible enemy is an idea based entirely on what certain governments force onto their populations. I really hate dabbling into that never ending debate but here I am. The war on terror, George Orwell, George Dubya, my cat, and a bowl of cheerios as the new world enemy. The word propaganda has been used to describe the actions by both sides of every conflict in recent memory. Freedom fighter or terrorist. Who decides? I’m slowly falling off my thought train but let’s just say that to this day there have only been two atomic bombs dropped against an enemy in a war. Nearly every day since that moment, the possibility of nuclear armageddon was something that could have happened. But nothing has happened. Maybe I’m just an optimist, but my original opinion remains unchanged. Humanity is stupid, just not that stupid.