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Tuesday, November 23, 2010

My Thoughts on the Recent Events on the Korean Peninsula

So, North Korea is at it again. First of all, I am an American living in South Korea. I've been here for a few years now and am not too concerned about the recent events escalating further. To me, N. Korea is like a 5-year-old bully that just wants attention. When the bully realizes nothing serious is going to happen, it keeps pushing the envelope until something finally snaps. It's like Tommy pulling Suzie's hair and the teacher just frowning and telling Tommy to stop. Tommy insists that since Suzie is wearing her hair in a ponytail, she's provoking him to pull her hair. And then, finally, Suzie gets tired of having her hair pulled and turns around and beats the living shit out of Tommy. The same is going to happen to N. Korea eventually. Sure N. Korea warned S. Korea that they considered military exercises in the disputed region as "provoking acts," but why? I think it's just an excuse so that Kim Jong-il can tell his brainwashed citizens that they attacked because they were defending themselves, even though S. Korea was aiming nowhere near the North's territory. This isn't the first time that the North has fired on S. Korean vessels near the maritime border: they did it last year and then there's the Cheonan incident (which I don't believe the North had anything to do with). However, this time they also fired on an inhabited island and injured civilians. Whether this was purposeful, I don't know, but I think the North realizes they may have finally yanked on Suzie's hair a bit too much. If the North wants to return to negotiations, they really aren't going about it the right way. Not to mention that despite all the taunts and threats, the South has continued to give humanitarian aid to the North, which makes me wonder if the N. Korean people know where the aid comes from? Talk about biting the hand that feeds you... After all, the state-run media outlets only provide limited information to the people. I'm reminded of the missile ("satellite") test they performed a little while back. Everybody else in the world knew it was supposed to be a missile and watched the thing fall into the Sea of Japan shortly after launching. However, the North insisted that it was a "communications satellite" and that it was in space right now "broadcasting propaganda" throughout N. Korea via radio. Ok....whatever you say, crazy man. The problem now, though, is what do we (meaning South Korea) do about it? If nothing is done except a slap on the wrist and an offer of more aid, what purpose will that serve? It would be rewarding bad behavior and possibly make the North think that they can do whatever they want without repercussions because the South doesn't want to become engaged in war again. If the South does retaliate, it means that more civilians will be killed, except in the North this time. North Korea has to know that they can't win...do some damage if they send everything they've got to Seoul, but they have to know they will lose. Sure the world's super powers have issued statements saying the "condemn" the North's actions with a stern look and a finger shake. If I were the North, I'd just be rolling my eyes and yanking on Suzie's hair again. I don't like war and I don't think it will solve anything except cause more problems. But can the South really just let this slide? The North has gotten the attention it wants again, but has just served to isolate itself more. Hopefully, things won't escalate further, and from the North's side, I don't think it will since they've gotten the attention they want. But have they finally yanked on Suzie's hair for the last time?