North Korea

Is it just me, or do you too feel a smidgen of sympathy for North Korea? I mean, I know that the people are starving, there is no press freedom, the whole place is an ecological disaster, the countryside is protected by soldiers, every other person is a spy and that’s only such a low percentage so that there is a sufficient number to be spied upon, the football team consists of robots (not really), there is considerable cruelty to animals, children are educated beneath broken light-bulbs in converted salt-mines, but apart from that

The country is the first one not to join in the global Obama fan club. There may be other skulkers, of course, but North Korea is the only one to have come right out and cocked its snook and thumbed its nose and stuck out its tongue and said Yah Boo. Earlier this week, it released a warhead into the ether – not a nuclear one, but one which could have been, could have been. I am not quite sure who was telling what about the event, but the North Koreans are said to have sent a satellite up with their rocket which is even now broadcasting revolutionary songs. I do not know if this is true. Obama has reported them to the UN, who have yet to do anything, so no change there.

The thing is, while Russia, France, China, Great Britain, Israel, India, the USA and maybe a few others have nuclear arsenals, it’s a bit (in any sense) rich to complain about the plucky North Koreans, who, if their leader is anything to go by, wear sensible boiler suits (a bit like Winston Churchill), and who do not appear to be doing anything other than bringing a kindly smile to the faces of common people everywhere.

I was very influenced when in my teens by Koestler’s book The Ghost in the Machine, which pointed out that there was an exponential growth in both the population of the world and also a parallel growth in the stockpiling of nuclear weapons. At that time, half a century ago, there were enough to destroy the world over, several times. Presumably there has since been an exponential growth in the number of times. Koestler also suggested it was like leaving a child in charge of a box of matches in a room full of gunpowder.

But is North Korea really the child here, or just a circus turn? I am more bothered by the various submarines patrolling the depths, packed with the stuff which goes Goodbye Forever. The problem is not North Korea; it;s the playground into which they have not been formally invited.


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