Updated January 08, 2016 10:41:24>
> Photo: North Korean leader Kim Jong-un delivers an address in Pyongyang. (Reuters/KCNA)
The world has every reason to be concerned that North Korea's belligerent behaviour might tip over into active aggression. But Kim Jong-Un's threats are really about keeping control, writes Damien Kingsbury.
North Korea's claimed success in testing a hydrogen bomb - a thermonuclear weapon significantly more powerful than an atomic bomb - has set the world on edge.
Any testing of a nuclear weapon by a non-signatory to the Nuclear Weapons Non-Proliferation Treaty, especially a rogue state such as North Korea, is cause for concern.
That such a weapon has been tested by a political leader seemingly as, if not more, unhinged than his father is especially worrying. On the positive side, however, there is real doubt as to whether the weapon tested was an H-bomb.
More importantly, any genuine threat of North Korea using such a weapon is remote. This is because, even in the bizarre world occupied by North Korea's leadership, there is an overwhelming understanding that any offensive use of such a weapon would result in the immediate retaliatory destruction of the entire North Korean state.
There is, however, a twisted logic to North Korea's belligerent affront to world opinion and the bellicose triumphalism of its announcement of the test.
North Korea is facing two inter-related problems. The first problem concerns the maintenance of a totalitarian state that privileges a small elite, and the management of divisions within that elite. The second problem concerns North Korea's diplomatic and economic isolation and its deep, widespread and debilitating poverty.>
> Photo: North Koreans watch a broadcast of the hydrogen bomb test announcement. (Reuters: Kyodo)
There is no reliable information on the extent of poverty inside North Korea, given the extremely high level of government censorship and restrictive limitations on outside visits. However, such information that has been able to be retrieved strongly suggests chronic hunger and occasional mass famine for much of its population.
One tried and true method of bonding even a subjugated population to a political cause, however, is to identify the cause of such hardship as coming from outside and even greater threats of attack. North Korean media regularly lambasts South Korea, Japan and the United States in terms that seem to imply that it is only North Korea's assertive military readiness that stops these countries from starving or attacking it.
Claims of having a powerful new weapon, then, play directly to countering this supposed 'threat' and to reinforcing the necessity of the North Korean people's unity.
As a result of its military belligerence, North Korea has laboured under various economic sanctions for decades. These had some negative impact on its people. And since it embarked on a nuclear armament campaign, these sanctions have been significantly increased and have for more than a decade imposed real hardship on the country.
While there have been some moves, from time to time, towards easing such sanctions, delays in the progress of talks has regularly resulted in North Korea engaging in a military provocation. The logic appears to be that, if reciprocal countries do not act far or fast enough, North Korea will threaten them with precisely the types of actions that led to sanctions in the first place.
Within North Korea's shadowy leadership, there also appears to be factional divisions, based on those who prefer a more confrontational and a more conciliatory approach to the rest of the world. The confrontationalists established an upper hand during the reign of Kim Il-Sung.
Since Kim Jong-Un's ascension to leadership in 2011, he has confirmed himself within the confrontationalist ranks. Not to do so, especially for a young and previously unproven leader, might have seen him vulnerable to a hardliner's coup.
Recent missile firing and now this supposed H-bomb test are consistent, therefore, with Kim Jong-Un confirming his confrontationalist credentials, as well as attempting to bond the North Korean people.
While the world has every reason to be concerned that bellicose rhetoric and belligerent behaviour might tip over into active aggression, such a course appears unlikely. Kim Jong-Un wants, primarily, for the world to come begging for him not to unleash his threatened 'sea of fire' and to withdraw its sanctions in supplication, despite the country's actions producing the opposite outcome.
But, at least as importantly, in a country where hard-line, vested generals appear to hold much real power, Kim Jong-Un is also riding a tiger, paraphrasing Winston Churchill, daring not to dismount for fear of being eaten.
>Damien Kingsbury is Professor of International Politics at Deakin University.
First posted January 08, 2016 09:51:45
Comments for this story are closed.
08 Jan 2016 10:20:19am
North Korea should be the least of our concerns. As we speak Europe is letting millions upon millions of male fighting age Arabs and Africans pour deep within their borders. It's the equivalent of opening the DMZ and having the North Korean military take over Seoul. If Europe falls, the rest of the civilised West will not be far behind. Don't sell out your future for emotions.
08 Jan 2016 10:37:50am
" Europe is letting millions upon millions of male fighting age Arabs and Africans pour deep within their borders." but the ABC and lefty reports tell us they are all families. Shame the ABC live video feed show the reality that there are few women AND easy 75% are as the more truthful reports claim are males aged between about 15 and 30.
08 Jan 2016 2:00:23pm
What are you talking about? "Lefty reports". I don't understand how you get this impression. News reporting varies a bit, but generally they report similarly. Most sources come from international news companies, such as Reuters and the bbc as well, so I think your analysis is a bit unreasonable.
Back to pH's comment though, I find any nuclear armament development worrying: nuclear engagement is I think the second biggest threat to the global civilisation (the first being climate change).
However this article outlines that NK would not use nuclear weapons because of instant retaliation, but this assumes:
- The NK government actually cares about it's people
- There are no mistakes, i.e. no accidental orders or detonations that cause harm
- Perfect attribution i.e. how do we know who ordered an attack?
- Cohesive and sane government
I think we all know the fallacy of assuming the above is true. Therefore I think all countries, not just neighbouring ones, need to reduce this threat as much as possible. This can only end badly otherwise.
08 Jan 2016 2:03:14pm
Its the men of the age group you mention that are most likely to be conscripted/press ganged, who are the casualties and if lucky are captured and allowed to live , or , more likely to be executed by the Saudi ( what great allies they are !) backed
Why would they stay?, why shouldn't they flee a very high probability of being killed?
08 Jan 2016 10:46:23am
No - actually a lunatic with his finger on the button is a much bigger concern than a bunch of people trying to make a life for themselves.
08 Jan 2016 12:26:43pm
"a lunatic with his finger on the button is a much bigger concern than a bunch of people trying to make a life for themselves."
I have to disagree.
A lunatic with his finger on the button is a clear conventional threat. Sooner or later someone will take the threat seriously and kill the lunatic. Nobody else will care and most will be secretly glad of it.
Contrast a million unarmed people trying to swarm your border and set up shop in your country. Finding a way to stop them is far more complicated. The methods to turn them around are less likely to be accepted by the global community, especially if you have to start using force.
08 Jan 2016 12:50:54pm
In the mean time, we can have the ABC try to jump away from any suggestion that anything that occurs anywhere in Europe could possibly be caused by some of these million + people whom's documents and histories have not been verified, yet stories believed.
No one knows how many fake passports have been purchased, the number of applicants in each country or the acts that people where involved in in their home country or countries between.
Is anyone brave enough to invest in Europe now?
08 Jan 2016 2:29:33pm
You mean the ABC has not given disproportionate coverage to some petty crimes in another country on New Year's Eve because some of the perpetrators may have been Muslim migrants?
08 Jan 2016 3:27:30pm
Youve hit the nail on the head Gary.
Meanwhile the '1000s' of assailants in Cologne that the usual posters on here for the past few days have assured us were muslims from the middle east has, once again, proven to be false.
The authorities in cologne have made arrests, and far from it actually being 1000s of middle eastern men it actually turned out to be a few dozen or so citizens of Germany, including being born and bred Germans, who were the perpetrators.
From actual up to date reports from reputable news sites it doesnt look like ANY of the perpetrators were refugees at all.
08 Jan 2016 4:27:21pm
It would appear you do not let facts be an inconvenient truth to your rants. Between you and Zing you get about 2 out of every 10 comments on this subject half right. Are you stuck in an ideology that truth cannot enter or are you just too stubborn to admit you get most of this wrong? Don't worry about a reply, I won't read it.
08 Jan 2016 12:36:26pm
Try telling that to the women of Cologne . . .
08 Jan 2016 12:58:42pm
I agree. The women of Paris, Oslo, Birmingham, London, etc. etc. would also agree. After having volunteered to host this group of 'disadvantaged' refugees, they choose to turn on their host countries; the countries that provide shelter, welfare, safety.
08 Jan 2016 1:46:42pm
It is not that they choose to turn on their hosts, they do not see them as hosts.
They see it as a right to be there, and they are told this repeatedly by the media. They are also told by their own culture that women alone at night are fair game, and that they are entitled to take what they wish. This is endorsed by weak politicians who refuse to insist that the self selected arrivals modify their behaviour.
We saw it in a small way on our own beaches, where the failure of authorities to condemn such behaviour led to violence, which was then blamed on "racism".
No doubt there are already twitter feeds condemning the women of Cologne for not being sufficiently tolerant of other cultures to accept being groped against their wishes, and accusing those who publicise the identify of the attackers of racism.
08 Jan 2016 2:00:13pm
If the women weren't appropriately dressed, out after dark and or not chaperoned by a relative they are to blame. How can a male be asked to control himself? We know because it has been preached here in Australia.
08 Jan 2016 2:12:14pm
Mel, all the perpetrators of the Paris attacks were born and raised in France or Europe, except 1.
I think we need to be cautious of assuming that we are immune and secure simply by preventing migration. If anything all these events have taught us the borders actually don't mean much anymore, and this is a cross-border problem.
Instead you need to look at root causes and deal with them. These causes are disaffection and turmoil and instability in the ME. Deal with these and you've dealt with the problem.
08 Jan 2016 4:05:50pm
1 - The problem is we simply can't deal with the mess that is the ME. We are seen as infidels and interferers; and they only allow us into their countries when it suits them. Otherwise they disdain 'Westerners'.
'We' will never resolve the problem in the ME. We are wasting our time, money, and lives over there.
2 - The problem of religious extremists within the ME has now spread throughout the world. Acts of religious terrorism are happening increasingly throughout the world, and in some cases, insane Christian extremists even go so far as to retaliate. This suggests that what 'we' are doing in the ME is not working.
3 - The new and most urgent problem is how do we protect ourselves from the acts of potentially thousands in Australia, or worldwide possibly hundreds of thousands of insane Muslims? The reality is religious extremism is the more immediate threat to the average person on the street, than one singularly insane person in NK.
I was in the RAAF, and prior to that worked for a private airline. Not once in my career of flying in many and varied aircraft, in sometimes appalling flying conditions, was i ever scared.
However now, every (underlined) time I fly to visit friends, go on holidays etc, I have a thought in the back of my mind at least once, as to whether the aircraft will be destroyed by Muslim terrorists. Sadly, if I see Arab men sitting together on an aircraft, the number of times I have that thought is increased. Likewise if I go to a concert hall or other area where people in great numbers gather, I always hope I make it home.
I feel robbed by terrorists. Robbed of my enjoyment of flying, and robbed again because prior to 9/11, and deployments to the ME, I now look at Arab men, and women with the burqua (because I don't know what's underneath it) with an element of fear.
I mourn the loss of the appreciation I had of the Islamic culture. It has a wonderfully rich and varied history, some of the worlds most beautiful architecture, contributions to medicine, mathematics, astronomy etc. Not to mention the people who built and developed a once wonderful culture throughout the millennia and no doubt today as well.
Bottom line, I agree with Zing (for the first time ever) and some of the other posts. Lots of lunatics freely running around the world, are more scary than one lunatic in NK.
I apologise if I have caused any offence to Muslims with my comments above. These comments are a reflection of my honest feelings and were not written with any intent of malice.
I still have great respect and admiration for wonderful moderate Muslim icons such as Waleed Aly, and hope his such thinking eventually prevails around the world.
Unfortunately it is a sign of the times as to how terrorists have affected me and my thought patterns as an individual. Sadly, I suspect I'm not the only one who has such t
08 Jan 2016 12:40:19pm
Of ever bigger concern is the overgrown bushland surrounding all our towns about to explode and burn us out. Perhaps we could organise to do something about it as our government organisations are either unable or unwilling to deal with the problem.
Rescuing and aiding those living on the floodplains washed out of their homes should also be a priority. I don't suppose any other country is mounting an aid fund to send us money to help out with our current disasters.
Or the tens of thousands of self funded retirees forced below the poverty line by our callous representatives.
With the terror of the wide brown land as it is North Korea is the least of our worries.
08 Jan 2016 1:34:25pm
Combine that overgrown and dried out bushland and grassland with crazies from a demographic unmentionable here on the ABC and you have something really worth worrying about.
It will happen, and when it happens we will say we knew all along it was going to happen, but until it does, and probably even after it does, don't dare mention it.
08 Jan 2016 2:33:15pm
That is a truly terrifying thought, brings a whole new dimension to the 'lone wolf' scenarios. If a handful of them got together with a bic lighter each in strategic positions they could do a lot of damage.
08 Jan 2016 3:32:35pm
Perpetual wars and nuclear bombs!
I think it was Albert Einstein who said,
"Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity; and I'm not sure about the universe."
08 Jan 2016 11:05:57am
Look at the people attracted to terrorism - not in the last ten years but in the forty years before that. It includes Christian terrorism and many other types.
Look again at leaders who have subjugated their nations - and the amount of democracies which remain democracies but are in fact, police states.
Look at the amount of "holocausts" which have occurred in the same time.
Terrorism is a minor threat in this world compared to these others.
Your afraid - that someone might kill you. Your terrorism threat however, is minor and when you live with the threat daily - when attacks occur every week, you soon learn that the terrorism threat is minor. We survive it.
You - however - are reacting in fear and trying to keep it out.
You cannot keep it out - and when it occurs - it is sad but has little impact on anything, not life as we know it - or our culture - except to make us security conscience.
Your fear is the same fear of "aids" or any of the health threats we get from time to time. The fear of "this is an unknown risk and I have to change the way I protect myself."
And like these things, when it is known and understood -we shrug and take a few precautions - and then go on our way as we will cope.
Don't be afraid.
You will survive terrorism also - and in a few years - it will be another terrorism threat and not Islam.
08 Jan 2016 11:30:21am
You present a massive oversimplification. The threat from hoards of Muslims is not simply terrorism, although that is definitely one of the most obvious and immediate ones so you are forgiven for focusing on it.
The worst threats are long term and can be generalised as the destruction of the native cultures of the hosting nations. On the most basic biological level European birth rates are not high enough to sustain a majority of the population as the invaders breed at rates far higher. On a less observable level we leave our already weakened culture vulnerable to attack and hijacking by Muslims who unlike us respect their ancestors and seek everyday to preserve their influence in the future.
Everyone is in danger, not least our children, daughters and sons who will one day grow up in a place which people today run to the West to escape.
08 Jan 2016 11:44:24am
or the children of the 'invaders' will prefer to live in the new world, not the one their parents fled from, and one that is not familiar to them.
we'll have to wait and see. One thing I agree on, it is a massive social experiment.
08 Jan 2016 11:46:32am
I don't think the threat is Islam but overpopulation in general. I remember reading somewhere that Nigeria's population (currently 173 million) is projected to grow to 800 million with 50 years. Clearly this is unsustainable, not just for Nigeria, but for the many other countries with the exploding global populations projected to reach 12 billion people in 50 years. There is no question that this is economically and environmentally unsustainable and that major wars of various kind (resource wars largely) will be coming our way. Since such wars destroy the infrastructure and civil order of such conflict countries then we should expect more Iraq's, more Libya's, more completely destroyed nation states. The problems we all face are global, not local, and they will require global solutions. Personally, I think our species and our leadership lack the emotional maturity to make the right decisions or act together to meet these challenges.
08 Jan 2016 12:05:31pm
I suspect a lot of the problems you speak of could be solved by isolationism. If third world countries are 100% left to their own devices as in no aid, support, military intervention, etc.. Then their populations would begin to slowly drop and plateau at some more sustainable level.
For the last few decades we have been pumping unbelievable amounts aid and support into these third world nations, focusing largely on women and children. This of course helps raise the birth rate and reduce child immortality, etc.. But you still have the same failed nations led by similar failed peoples and the problem ends up becoming far worse in the long term, but now as you noted on a global scale.
The other possible solution would be strict colonialism, but I suspect that would be emotionally unappealing to most.
08 Jan 2016 12:36:00pm
Actually pH you will find that with better health and education comes lower birth rates not as you propose higher ones.
This is because better health care means better child survival rates and so people do not need to have 8 children in the hope that 4 live - it is what used to happen in the west too. And improved education, especially in women, shows time and time again to reduce family size. It is also important that women gain political influence too.
08 Jan 2016 2:06:37pm
Actually pH you will find that with better health and education comes lower birth rates not as you propose higher ones."
That's not correct in the case of Syria. The general increase in prosperity and healthcare has caused a serious population "boom" in that country, in the past twenty years or so. Syrians are not just fleeing civil strife. They are relocating to escape their own excessive fecundity: too many Syrians. By middle east, and even worldwide standards, I'm sure women's education and literacy standards are quite high there.
08 Jan 2016 4:16:11pm
Jack11: Maybe I don't know if this is true or not. An increased population does not by itself mean an increased birth rate, indeed you could have a decreased birth rate and an increase in population if for example the average family size has gone down by two but the survival rate to adulthood has markedly improved as well as life expectancy.
08 Jan 2016 12:14:25pm
You'd have to think there would be a massive population shift within those fifty years or a huge civil war. Already the conflict between Islamists and Christians is fierce. What other divides there are in Nigerian society I do not know but they may well come into play as well.
08 Jan 2016 1:10:09pm
Yep it was 2.5 billion at the end of the second world war Now 7 billion with most of the increase from the developing countries
08 Jan 2016 11:59:04am
I'll have what you're having.
"the invaders breed at rates far higher"- we're not talking about starlings here, mate, and in the absence of any statistic of birth rates in Europe by religion, I'm calling baloney on that.
"our already weakened culture"- yeah, with our endangered opera, ballet, rock and roll, jazz, ,oil paintings, neckties, architecture, Santa Claus, French fries, wine, laptops, trains, bikinis/budgies, pre-school, engagement rings and handbags.
Every corner of the world craves western culture and consumes it is vast quantities. Even the crazies who rail against do so on-line and wearing blue jeans.
The only threat to western culture is the commodification and commercialisation happening from within. Methinks you're utterly in the dark
08 Jan 2016 12:22:15pm
Although we obviously disagree in large parts, I agree wholeheartedly in the fact that the threat is "happening from within".
Whether or not we see the threat as being forced multiculturalism, commercialisation or a combination of both, each requires Western society to open its arms to the perceived threat and let it in the gates as it were.
This goes back to me saying "our already weakened culture", in that we will happily risk and throw away our culture, tradition, community and society. When this happens its just a matter of time before one or a number of the risks we take come back to bite us.
08 Jan 2016 12:22:44pm
Dove, do some research yourself. Stats, surveys etc show that the Islamic birth rates in western worlds are significantly higher than the original western culture it is starting to replace. e.g - 1.8 for western V 5 for Islamic. Its a massive problem for Europe.
08 Jan 2016 1:01:39pm
Owen, if you want to make a case you need to pony up the data yourself. You claim any old nonsense and demand other disprove it
08 Jan 2016 1:05:46pm
Doesn't mean they will stay that way Owen. Usually immigrant birth rates eventually follow the local average. Are Irish and Italian families all much bigger than the average in Australia?
08 Jan 2016 1:17:23pm
Why don't you google world population trends You might actually become informed
08 Jan 2016 2:04:03pm
That's not exactly correct as I have seen many woman now wearing clothing not of a western design, covering themselves from head to toe some with their faces covered rejecting western society. Men might be able to wear jeans but many women aren't and a bikini no on your life.
08 Jan 2016 3:09:53pm
The reason Aussies aren't wearing bikinis or budgies anymore is because they're either too fat or they're covering up so they don't get skin cancer. The rantings of the mullahs have fallen on deaf ears, I'm afraid.
Women with facial coverings aren't rejecting western society. They just don't want t to talk to you. Unless you're a stalker you might think about letting them just get on with their day
08 Jan 2016 4:19:12pm
There are in fact statistics for breeding rates by religion in Europe. With muslims coming in at around 5-6 children per family, verses 1.8 for non-muslim European families.
And yes.... hundreds/thousands of women all over Europe found themselves being "culturally enriched" by thousands of muslim immigrants on new years eve. Hence all the complaints to police of sexual assaults and rapes (plus all those that remained un-reported by victims and the media).
When the media and the authorities remain silent (or in the case of the police in Cologne - actually openly lie that New Years was quiet and peaceful) about what happened and only start speaking of the events once the events became widespread knowledge via social media outlets you can be assured there is an real issue to resolve in relation to allowing approximately 750,000 young muslim men from North Africa, the Middle East and elsewhere into Germany alone.
Western civilisation is not threatened by commodification and commercialisation as you strangely suggest, as those aspects are already an accepted and integral part of western civilisation.
While I appreciate that you refuse to accept reality there remains a fundamental problem within Islamic doctrines and culture that became once again clearly evident over the new year period all over Europe (on top of the vast number of reports of rapes/sexual assaults/forced prostitution within refugee centres and against the local European population as well - minors being victims as well), not to mention other issues.
Already Finland has taken steps to try to rectify and resolve the issue by entering negotiations with Iraq to return Iraqi migrants/refugees to Iraq (just as Sweden previously did), as a starting point.
What is of the greatest concern perhaps is that Europe previously found solutions to a then perceived ethno/religious problem which absolutely shocked the entire world (and will continue to do so for thousands of years), solutions that began with forced deportations and were followed up with by genocide.
One can only hope that Europeans are not treated by migrants in a manner which will cause them to revert to seeking policy solutions of a mere 75 years ago (After all even tolerant Europeans will only tolerate so much).
That perhaps is the real threat to western civilisation as you and I know it.
08 Jan 2016 12:31:05pm
You were the one who set up the terrorism with your original comment of the military capacity of the people who were getting to Europe.
As for the rest - you speak of your fears - I have LIVED in places where there are such clashes - and I repeat, daily occurrences of terrorism.
I know of cultural clashes - of religious clashes and many other things.
I know that this ... mess - is over 70 years in the making and what its cause was and why - and how everyone is still reacting to a religious decision made at that time.
I know that my culture is strong enough to withstand rubbing shoulders with other cultures.
Diminishing my argument - which was a direct response to YOUR OWN ARGUMENT - and thus only touches the points YOU raised - is not a good way to discuss things.
You are just overreacting to the unknown and the potential threat.
I do not have your fears because I know the threat - and have lived through it. It is not as fearful as you think - nor will the fears you suggest actually occur.
Sadly - even if your ideas are justified, there is still nothing we can do about it.
Isolation does not work for more than a short period of time.
You tried to isolate yourself from Aids - did you not?
08 Jan 2016 3:48:09pm
At the risk of sounding like a Reclaim Australia nong, I have to agree with your premise here.
The greatest threat to our western society and values is our own tolerance towards those who wish to bring their intolerant attitudes with them when we give them asylum.
Asylum from the chaos and violence caused in their countries of origin by that very intolerance.
Multiculturalism will never be the utopian ideal first envisaged while we allow people to spread their poisonous, primitive ideology under the disguise of cultural tolerance and religious freedom.
I happily welcome anyone who wants to come to Australia to be an Arab/African/Asian/European Australian, but if you want to be allowed to behave as if your prejudices outweigh others rights to life and liberty, best you stay where you are.
08 Jan 2016 4:33:26pm
Simplistic, over reach and abject piffle. Cultures change and evolve over time even in Australia. If you can't see that then you will never change your views on anything despite evidence.
08 Jan 2016 11:38:24am
Der Mark D
What "Christian" terrorism has occurred in the past 50 years?
Not terrorism by people who may have been nominally Christian, but carried out in the name of Christianity?
Please do not point at the IRA: that was a political movement with a political objective.
08 Jan 2016 12:42:57pm
I think I will actually answer this. What is the difference between the IRA and the Taliban? one supposedly represents Christianity, the other supposedly represents Islam.
In both cases, it is politics wrapped in the cloak of religion.
But you will also find lots of cases of Christian terrorism outside of the IRA.
I note that in most cases, the victims of the terrorism are of the same faith as the terrorists. I.E. Christians attacking Christians, Muslims against Muslims.
Do these Christians represent the teachings of Jesus? No.
Do the Muslims represent the teachings of Mohammed? No.
Please note, most terrorism is not veiled in religious ideology. To a lesser extent, even environmentalists groups have engaged in low level terrorism. It is the "In a good cause" which allows them to do the things they do.
Religion is just one more "good cause" which is used to get people to do these things. Terrorism is the extent that people will go to achieve them, and how many innocent bystanders will get injured in the process.
08 Jan 2016 12:43:24pm
Sure, I get you. If it's Christian's committing terrorism their faith has no connection. If it's Muslims co-opting their faith into rationalizing unspeakable acts of terrorism their faith gets placed front and center. Makes perfect sense - to people like you.
08 Jan 2016 1:18:17pm
Dear MarkD and timbo59
As I said originally, the IRA was not a "Christian" terrorist organisation, it was an Irish terrorist organisation.
Its murderers did not claim to be killing for Christ, and it did not seek to impose a religious form of government. It wanted to break Northern Ireland from the United Kingdom and incorporate it into Eire.
That you believe this is the same as a devout Muslim claiming to kill in the name of Allah and desiring to establish a world wide caliphate says more about your desperation to avoid reality than your pursuit of truth.
If a Christian were to carry out an attack claiming to be doing so in the name of Christ and for religious reasons, I would be quite happy to refer to him/her as a Christian terrorist. Some anti-abortionists may fit this description, but usually they claim to kill to protect the unborn, which would not qualify them.
As I said in my original post: have any Christian organisations made attacks in the past 50 years? If you cannot point to any, stop saying there have been.
08 Jan 2016 1:57:46pm
Spot on Tabanus - the Northern Ireland / IRA scenario is trotted out so often to somehow make it seem as though in modern times Christians have being waging war with each other on religious grounds, and killing in the name of their deity. Those more familiar with that history will know that on the "republican" or "united Ireland" side there have been a number of prominent Protestants, and there have been and are Catholics opposed to a united Ireland (outside the UK).
When that straw-man fails, the same folk often trot out the other old chestnut...the Crusades! Apart from the historical inaccuracy of portraying this as just christian aggression, it actually serves to remind us that the language and memory of the Crusades is often reflected in ISIS and others' ramblings, reminding us that, for them, the wars of the Crusades has never gone. Now that their medieval beliefs and behaviours are matched with modern weaponry, it is all the more worrying.
08 Jan 2016 2:30:26pm
A recent study in the US concluded that the major cause of terrorist attacks has been from white, right wing extremists.
They attack more often and kill more people than any Islamist terrorist since 9/11.
I'd also like to note that those at Fox News and other right wing sources wee falling over themselves trying to convince all that would listen that Dylann Roof wasn't a terrorist.
What a shame he belongs to a group that uses a mountain of religious iconography and whose teachings of hate are based on their religious biblical interpretation of those god awful sons of Ham. He even had a manifesto stating that his aim was to start another race war.
Of course Roof wasn't the only one, and won't be the last. If the statistics stay true then another Roof is just around the corner. Despite all the protestations from the 'right' that some groups can't be talked about (while at the very same time talking openly about the groups they claim they cant talk about) what IS swept under the carpet is the fact that Christians also kill in the name of religion and have done so for Millenia.
As history tells us this is simply the merry go round of kiling by groups claiming a higher purpose.
It should also be noted that Dubbya Bush went into Iraq because God told him to and that he hoped to aid in the coming if the Apocolypse.
Of course the usual suspects try to claim that Christians can't be terrorists. Ho hum.
08 Jan 2016 3:24:13pm
Dear spacey 101
As I have pointed out before, the "survey" to which I assume you refer basically took every political, racist, religious, moral or other vaguely antigovernment murder in the USA and collected them all as "white supremacist, anti-government" terrorists.
Anti-abortionists were lumped with racists, anarchists with those claiming to have murdered for political reasons. If you collect all these over 14 years, you get about 48 deaths by non-Islamic terrorists.
Islamic terrorists, in comparison, have "only" killed 27. Just over half.
The promoters of the survey do not mention that Muslims only represent less than 1% of the population.
Nor do they highlight that the odd starting date for the survey has been taken to exclude September 11, 2001.
Forgive me if I take the results of this scientific study with a big teaspoonful of salt.
PS Who claims Christians cannot be terrorists? I certainly haven't. I have, however, pointed out that there has been no organisation dedicated to spreading Christianity by terrorism.
PPS I believe Pres Bush Jnr said he prayed for guidance over the decision to remove Saddam Hussein. While not a believer, I understand that many religious believers of all faiths do the same. To characterise this as "God told him so" is less than objective. And as far as I know, the story of the President wanting to bring on the Apocalypse is based on a news broadcaster's extrapolation of his agreement to address an organisation, some of whose members believe such an event is due in the near future. Can you point me to any evidence that the President ever said this?
08 Jan 2016 3:24:16pm
The only thing funnier than a rebel group in the middle east saying that they'll be taking over the world are the people who believe them.
ISIS and clue is in their title, want to take to take over Iraq and Syria. The Taliban want their country back (to further plunder, exploit and terrorise). Al Qaeda...we;; who know what they wanted. But all three existed and exist to achieve a secular purpose. None of them have a spiritual, liturgical, theological or religious aim between them.
All terrorist groups try to cloak themselves in whatever cause will help justify them and/or gain local support. In the middle east, you can expect that to be Islam. In Ireland, the Catholic-Protestant divide was exploited
08 Jan 2016 4:29:00pm
You suggest "The only thing funnier than a rebel group in the middle east saying that they'll be taking over the world are the people who believe them. ISIS and clue is in their title, want to take to take over Iraq and Syria"
Except that isn't the case.
ISIS have become active in Pakistan, and Afghanistan, Libya, Sudan, Ethiopia, Somalia, Kenya and a myriad of other countries as the seek to expand.
I realise you constantly seek to down play and diminish ISIS by suggesting they aren't a threat to anyone, but that isn't actually the reality.
After all the continue to control large tracks of Iraq and Syria and many cities and their expansionistic activities that have bought them into direct conflict with other muslim terrorist organisations and nations around the world demonstrates that they are in fact a real threat to numerous peoples/nations.
Perhaps that 'ISIS' flag that you told us you have in your home is clouding your judgement?
08 Jan 2016 1:21:40pm
Exactly. They wanted a united Ireland and the destruction of Northern Island. The fact that there were less catholics in northern island made it appear to be a religious struggle whereas it was not
08 Jan 2016 4:29:03pm
"They wanted a united Ireland and the destruction of Northern Island."
That claim totally ignores the fact that the IRA was more a local resistance movement to colonial oppression that had been going on for over 400 years. Evidence of this is the fact that "terrorist" actions have ceased in recent times in response to efforts to end the oppression and grant genuine equality before the law.
08 Jan 2016 11:40:08am
Hi Mark. Why don't you buy yourself a plane ticket to Europe and visit the no-go zones that can be found in parts of London and other UK cities; then jump across to Paris and try and get into the no-go zones found in that city; then jump across to Sweden and visit places like Almo. That should do for starters.
Your derision of pH is unwarranted and shows perhaps some naivety on your part.
08 Jan 2016 12:40:46pm
Well I'm from London and I don't know any 'no-go' zones. I know some dodgy areas that you would be stupid to walk around after midnight - because you might get mugged by some tanked up idiot. And I know some really vibrant and alive areas of central London that have been invigorated by immigration.
I think you are channeling Trump.
08 Jan 2016 1:22:15pm
I know some areas of London which are far from vibrant and alive: they are full of sullen men who glare at anyone with a "white" face and often accompany this with advice to leave "their neighbourhood". The few women are silent.
Perhaps you don't get around much, preferring to stay in the safer inner city areas where the cosmopolitan elite discuss the wonders of multiculturalism. In the suburbs, it is not multicultural - it is the replacement of one culture with others which do not have the same tolerance as the original one.
08 Jan 2016 2:07:28pm
Oh I get around plenty Tabanus - I suspect much more than you do. I guess the difference is in the approach, the way you interact .. or not.
There are dodgy, difficult, unsafe, culturally different, guarded, insular and sometimes violent parts of almost all cities in the world. Sometimes it is straight out poverty, unemployment, corruption or political upheaval. Sometimes racism is at play - and yes it does go both ways.
But the core is always one group that feels un-empowered and one that feels superior in some way.
I've been though tough areas in Panama, Mexico, the Caribbean, PNG, South East Asia, the Middle East and Eastern Europe that would make your hair curl - but if you take care and above all engage with people it is surprising how unthreatening a place can become.
Doesn't always work mind you.
08 Jan 2016 2:51:07pm
To be fair, Tabanus, there are plenty of areas where non-white people will get the same treatment.
It's not a good thing, whatever the ethnicity of the perpetrators, but as a phenomenon it is not limited to a single ethnicity.
08 Jan 2016 1:08:41pm
Oh here we go.
There aren't really any no go zones in Europe.
Except maybe the Ukraine.
My niece just returned from a 9 month holiday in Europe. Now she didn't get to visit all of it (it's pretty big), but at no stage of her trip was she ever advised to not enter an area because it was a 'no go zone'.
Stop reading the daily terrorgraph and get some perspective. Farage, Bolt and other right wing sources aren't the best places for you to get your 'information'. If you really are interested to know my suggestion would be to go to our own government DFAT site and other offical travel advisory sites if you want to see where and when is not safe to go and to find out all about your non existent 'no go zones'.
I've also been told on this very site by posters that there are 'no go zones' and 'ghettos' in Australia, particularly in Sydney. Thing is until recently I lived in those no go zones and *shock horror* I'm white and I'm certainly not Muslim. I go there regularly to see family members and friends and despite what you've been told the police still work the beat, non Muslim businesses thrive, they aren't forcing people to submit to do called 'sharia law' (bet you dint even know what that actually is, or in most cases, isn't), I don't have to walk past watchtowers armed with religious jihadis and I've never had to pass any sort of test to see if I'm allowed in or out.
08 Jan 2016 1:58:01pm
spacey: you have to be kidding [yourself]. There are parts of Marseillaise where the police won't go into unless they go in numbers. There are parts of Paris the police will only go into unless they really have to. Do some research.
08 Jan 2016 3:39:58pm
Do some research, you say? Don't mind if I do.
Neither the Marseillaise nor French governments, nor their police forces have declared Marseillaise or any part of it a no-go zone.
Certain on-line media claims otherwise. Perhaps you subscribe to one of these media outlets of record: Gates of Vienna, Bare Naked Islam, Daniel Pipes, Violence Against Whites, Counter Jihad, American Resistance, Conservative Papers and Pamela Geller
08 Jan 2016 1:07:39pm
Yep like the extra 1 billion of africans by 2050. They can not even feed themselves now. I guess Mrs Merkel will invite them all to the EU
08 Jan 2016 2:44:47pm
Ethiopia; 2007, 74 million. 2015, 100 million.
08 Jan 2016 4:18:09pm
Great example. The birth rate in Ethiopia has been falling since the 1980s, driven down by political stability, economic prosperity, education and an improvements in reproductive rights.
However, advances in healthcare, less violence, sanitation and nutrition has also driven down the death rate, which is currently the same as the Netherlands. Life expectancy fo0r men was 40 in the 1980s now it's 63.
It's not just a case of more children, its also case of more old people
Mike (the other one):
08 Jan 2016 11:15:06am
This is true of course. This could be a case of not knowing a Trojan horse when you see one. There also seems to be a lot of negative news relating to this that for some inexplicable reason is not being reported.
But we should still be concerned about North Korea in fear of what chain of events could set in motion, even from an accident.
08 Jan 2016 11:16:56am
What utter nonsense.
You seen to think that every non-european male between 18 and 50 is a soldier for islamic extremism.
You clearly have never travelled outside the confines of the white world, if at all. You also clearly think that cultures are sealed homogeneous units, independent and pure, never tainted by the outside world - try reading some history books and learn some facts.
08 Jan 2016 12:55:31pm
Not many need to be for danger.
How could a criminal organization pop up in Germany of an estimated 1000 people that are described as Arabic (yet not refugee Arabic according to our ABC)?
Could it include any of the million that have arrived that are unemployed, dont speak the local language and taking resources that the homeless in the country where never provided?
This would never cause any social disharmony would it?
Mike (the other one):
08 Jan 2016 2:20:29pm
It's not a case of cultures being 'sealed homogeneous units, independent and pure, never tainted by the outside world' jonmarks.
It's a case of recognising and protecting what you have (if you think it's worthwhile protecting) with the expectation that others (without the same standards as this unit) catch up, and to reiterate, do the work required to catch up.
08 Jan 2016 11:20:22am
What nonsense, there are not millions upon millions of fighting aged Arabs reaching Europe. While North Korea has nukes that can reach Australia. And if they aren't interested in us they sure are with Japan and South Korea.
If you insist on fighting shadows why not fight aliens from outer space?
Mike (the other one):
08 Jan 2016 11:50:19am
'More than a million migrants and refugees crossed into Europe in 2015' - BBC News.
A good deal of the imagery I've seen shows the majority to be men. How many lined up behind them looking for a way to get in? And it's not just Arabs, it's Africans as well.
Those numbers would help add to a fighting force to sort out their problems once and for all.
08 Jan 2016 3:23:08pm
You are seeing only what you want to see. While you look away from North Korea they are building bombs. And yes folks they do have missiles that can reach Europe the USA and Australia at least according to our media.
08 Jan 2016 4:02:57pm
Ah Yank, don't believe all you read mate. While it is true that NK has missiles capable of reaching a small portion of the USA those same missiles are highly inaccurate and have a very limited pay load. On the other hand there is no evidence at all to indicate that they can reach Australia or Europe.
08 Jan 2016 11:55:46am
"North Korea has nukes that can reach Australia"
Yeah, if they put them on a boat and floated them here, perhaps.
It is 7320km from the southernmost point of DPRK to the northernmost point of Australia.
DPRK's most advanced missile, the Taepodong-2 has a maximum THEORETICAL range of 2000km, but the only one that has been tested blew up 35 sec after it was launched, meaning they would be hard pressed to hit Japan let alone Australia. Oh, and one other point, they have so far been unable to successfully mount a warhead on them.
08 Jan 2016 12:10:15pm
What you're essentially saying is that they're well on the way to developing such nukes and it is only a matter of time and testing before they succeed.
08 Jan 2016 1:58:59pm
He's saying they may have the nukes, but they don't have the ICBMs.
I'm on my way to being a million years old. Is it only a matter of time before I succeed?
08 Jan 2016 2:25:07pm
It takes massive wealth, access to quality high tech materials, experienced, talented and gifted scientists and toolmakers, and dozens and dozens of rocket tests to be able build half-safe and half-reliable weapons delivery system rockets, or even just one rocket.
North Korea couldn't even build one Formula One car that would last a whole race at anywhere near competitive speeds.
Don't lose any sleep over Dr Strange-Kims plans of rocket Nuke terror weapons.
08 Jan 2016 3:00:37pm
Ha ha haaaa, Dr Strange-Kim, I love it.
We might have called him Ernst Blofeld, but he's probably eaten all the cats.
08 Jan 2016 3:16:29pm
All the Earth needs now to complete the set, is Dr.StrangeRudd as head of the United Nations. I'm sure he would already have a comfort stroking cat all lined up to take with him to NYC.
08 Jan 2016 3:25:44pm
"North Korea couldn't even build one Formula One car that would last a whole race"
There is a difference between a project and a race.
A race requires speed. A project just requires persistence. North Korea will eventually have ICBMs, the only question is the time it takes to obtain them.
Your opinion is correct, but short sighted. The problem occurs when North Korea *does* finally produce the weapons and your opinion reaches it's use-by date. What happens then?
08 Jan 2016 4:30:49pm
I'm afraid you don't understand engineering, R&D, and the testing of highly technical machinery. I do, it's my profession and passion.
The PRNK won't ever "obtain" ICBMs, no nation on Earth would be dumb enough to be linked with a missile toting Dim-Kim.
I doubt they have what it takes to make weapons grade missiles.
An F1 cars technology and design is far more complex, and harder to master than a big weapons delivery systems rocket.
If the USA has nuke missiles stationed in South Korea, they could take out ten cities in PRNK in about 120 seconds. That's "what happens next ".
08 Jan 2016 12:37:47pm
gaz, google '2003 Po Sung incident' where a 3740 tonne North Korean freighter was caught in Aust waters after dropping off 50kg of drugs at Wye River, Victoria. Missiles are quicker, but do not rule out ships as a way to get a bomb here.
Once upon a time Nth Korea looked like a small angry dog on a leash held by China. Now China condemns their actions, but who is supplying them with their military hardware?
08 Jan 2016 12:57:25pm
Yes John you are right there, which is why I made the boat comment.
08 Jan 2016 2:31:44pm
I doubt whether anyone is supplying them with much in the way of military hardware.
Their forces are decrepit. Their air force hardly flies.....soldiers are gaunt, underfed...tanks barely move.
I tend to agree with the article. It is a state built of bluster and bull@#$&. It's genuine, military capability is vastly less than its rhetoric suggests.
No doubt they could wheel out thousands of artillery pieces and multiple rocket launchers from underground bunkers and pound Seoul for a day or two...
...but their ability to sustain a war would be extremely limited.
PS: Not saying I'd like to be living in Seoul when war broke out, though!!!!!
08 Jan 2016 3:20:21pm
China of course. What China says in public isn't what it is really thinking.
08 Jan 2016 11:21:10am
Popycock! Those refugees, men, women and children are fleeing the insane and out of control political leaders who are ruining their countries and are running away from the bullets, bombs, drones, jets and tanks of their so called western saviours.
They are not going to Europe to cause more wars. They have seen and had enough. They just want a peaceful and safe environment in which to live and raise their families.
Generalisations and hysterical pronouncements are just plain useless.
08 Jan 2016 11:43:10am
Given that the West has only a handful of aircraft operating in Syria, it would appear that your statement that the hundreds of thousands of young men migrating to Europe are fleeing "bullets, bombs, drones, jets and tanks of their western saviours" is, in your words, poppycock.
Those migrants want the material benefits of western civilisation that they will not adopt in their own countries. They do not see that it is the secular democratic state that has led to such benefits, they see it as some paradise which has been denied to them by western plotting.
08 Jan 2016 11:49:12am
Ask the women who attended New Year's Eve celebrations in Cologne Germany about a safe and peaceful environment. Strangely senior police said after the event that no major incidents happened and now we find out days later that women were molested, two at least raped and numerous other assaults and theft. How many other cities did this happen and the stories kept quiet?
08 Jan 2016 1:06:41pm
Michael...and then people similar to you call Assange a terrorist. Is it not the case that when governments including our own were shown as corrupt and against its people many followed the government in calling him a terrorist. This is what you get when there are no checks and balances with government similar to our new security legislation.
08 Jan 2016 1:15:39pm
Pure hyporbole Michael.
Despite what you believe people in Europe get assaulted, robbed, raped and killed all the time in Europe.... By other Europeans! It's been that way for centuries!
Now what's happened in Cologne is very, very bad.
But let's get some perspective.
Right wing posters (including this site) and right wing 'news sources' *cough* initially, and for days after, stated that it was 'thousands' of middle astern looking men who did this. As the facts came out this was then reduced to a couple of hundred by the usual shills. That's despite actual real, respected news sources and police reports saying that at most it was a few dozen men. Now that figure has been, officially, reduced again. It also turns out that most of the middle eastern men were actually in fact from North Africa and had been in Europe for years.
Now is the situation deplorable? Yes, absolutely.
Are you a shill? Yes.
If you want to be taken seriously at least try and reduce your hyperbole, and if at all possible, please use real, verifiable facts.
08 Jan 2016 1:58:58pm
Dear Spacey 101
Originally nothing was reported for days: the media did not want to tell a story that did not fit the "multicultural bliss" line it prefers to run. The police actually reported that the celebrations were quiet!
Only when some courageous politicians dared to say that the Emperor had no clothes was there a grudging admission that there had been scores of attacks, and that large groups of men had been involved, all from a certain *cough* cultural background.
The mayor, a big supporter of open borders, told the women to adapt their behaviour to the new society she wants to develop. Presumably to stay at home unless accompanied by a male relative.
But now the cat is out of the bag, the authorities are in damage control. The actual aggressors are being ignored and the victims' complaints down-played. Soon it will be portrayed as a racist campaign against some fun-loving multi-culturalists who just wanted to experience a real German Silvester.
A bit like the way Cronulla was portrayed here.
PS Why is it considered that the possibility that many of the misogynistic attackers were long term residents of Germany is a mitigating factor? Doesn't this show that despite years of tolerance, the offenders will not change their behaviour? Should we be inviting more such stubborn individuals to create more harm?
08 Jan 2016 2:33:22pm
Spacey, I find it very interesting that in another post you strongly condemn Chris Gayle for asking A reporter out and yet down play the actions of those who attacked women in Europe. I would suggest if you want to be taken seriously that you condemn boh equally.
08 Jan 2016 2:48:59pm
A "few dozen men" (reduced again) overwhelmed police resources, forced the police to clear the square... and molested/robbed/raped over 100 women??
What "respected" news services are you referring to??
The last report I read quoted the Cologne police chief claiming "aggressive groups of men of middle eastern appearance" numbered in the thousands....which is why the police lost control.
Was he exaggerating by 2 or 3 orders of magnitude??
08 Jan 2016 11:27:45am
Good on you for having the stones to mention that elephant in the room, and good on today's moderators for not letting political correctness get the better of them.
In the words of the late Rex Mossop, "Shut the gate, the horse has bolted".
With up to a million headed for Germany alone, the potential for disaster this mass migration presents to Europe is staggering.
France has long been regretting the flood of North African migrants they allowed in who formed enclaves in French cities. I remember a docco on SBS about one such enclave in Marseilles that the police had declared a no-go zone because, as one policeman pointed out, the only way for them to enter safely is to go in in large numbers, which immediately causes a riot.
We have very little to complain about with the trickle we get here, no wonder the world looks askance at us for whining about a few hundred boat people.
08 Jan 2016 1:02:36pm
Do you know anything at all about the history and connections between France and French North Africa - Algeria, Tunisia and Morocco. It is complex, often brutal and mired in politics and colonialism.
Algeria in particular was colonised by european settlers, called pieds-noirs, who eventually formed a small but significant part of the population. The indigenous people eventually rebelled and a particularly brutal war resulted - the Algerian War - and at its end they achieved independence, but there were many locals who having shown allegiance to France were quite correctly allowed settlement in France.
As usual it is not a simple story of great western power bestows peace, harmony and wealth on third world country, is thrown out by ungrateful people who then invade nice colonial nation by stealth - the reality is as always shades or blame, guilt, power and money, politics, greed, opportunism, envy, altruism, remorse, good deeds and bad.
08 Jan 2016 1:55:15pm
Everything you say here is true.
Nothing you say here refutes the fact that these enclaves exist.
08 Jan 2016 2:02:35pm
The original people were Christians, part of the Roman Empire. They tried to throw out the invaders, but the Arabs were too numerous.
08 Jan 2016 3:58:45pm
If you mean the Arab conquest of North Africa then yes there would have been Christians although by no means all of the inhabitants were. The Berbers, who were the dominant culture were a mix of Christian, Jewish and polytheist.
In any case what is your point? Are you saying that there was a previous culture in which case any examination of the recent 'indigenous' people is flawed because they aren't the real locals? In which case there isn't anywhere on earth with a truly 'indigenous' culture - apart from perhaps East Africa and even then only by proximity to the start of modern mankind and not by any continual cultural link.
Or are you saying that the 'invaders' were in some way unworthy because they were too many (see white colonisation of the Americas, Australia, NZ etc) or too aggressive (see previous)?
Or are you saying that the Arabs have done this sort of thing before? Well lets take Algeria shall we - first were the Neanderthals, then Aterian tool makers, then Iberomaurusian, then Neolithic farmers and then the Berbers who included the Carthaginians. Then we have annexation by the Romans, then the Vandals, then the Arab conquest after which came the Spanish, Ottomans and French before becoming Arab again. So who is the deserved winner of the title 'local' culture?
08 Jan 2016 1:32:59pm
They look in envy not "askance" And by the way the only reason we have a trickle is that we turned off the tap. The trend before that was increasing exponentially. The more that succeeded the numbers increased with the spread of the success story
08 Jan 2016 2:41:01pm
Of course yet look at it in envy.
Their lands were raped and pillaged in other to build what France is today.
It's not rally too hard to figure out why the tensions exist, is it??
08 Jan 2016 11:39:57am
.....thereby resulting in muslim men assaulting western women who don't wear all the pathetic muslim coverings because they believe that women are "asking to be robbed, molested and whatever else the man wants to do to her" unless they comply with the muslim teachings....never mind that the muslim men should stop having perverted minds and control their sexual urges no matter what the women are wearing (or not wearing).....let's see if the German women who were assaulted on New Years eve get accused of being adulterers. Watch out, Australia, we're next......
08 Jan 2016 1:21:03pm
I hate to tell all you guys, but probably 1% of the world's population is affected by what the media chooses to report. 99% of people in the meanwhile are not, which the media chooses not to report. Take the single drug-death in a crowd of 70,000 teenagers having a great time at a music concert. I rest my case, and you should all rest easy too. Don't worry, be happy- this the media doesn't want you to be.
08 Jan 2016 2:12:12pm
It is deeply saddening to hear you say this.
I don't understand how you came to the conclusion that these refugees are set on destroying the culture of the Western world. They are human beings like you and I. They want to live a life that you and I call 'normal'. They want their kids to grow up not having to starve. They seek happiness that you and I take for granted everyday as a result of our good fortune that is being thrust upon into the privileged society of the Western world at birth. Unfortunately these refugees were not able to achieve this in their native countries due to their failed state leadership. Many if not all of these people have experienced horror infinitely more intense than you and I can imagine. And yet because of their place of birth and their desire for a better life, they are stigmatised, berated and rejected from those more fortunate than themselves? All they wish is to seek for a greener pasture where they can live a normal life.
Yes amongst these refugees there will be nutcases who wish to hurt others. Why do these people think that way? Isn't it more likely than not that events they have experienced throughout their lifetime have nudged them toward that direction, rather than thinking that these human beings are born innately evil? It's a long shot, but perhaps part of the cause is due to the actions of the Western societies in the first place? If that is true, would you still reject these refugees or would you help them out however you can, even if it means sacrifice on your behalf? Whether true or not I would say yes because that is the essence of being a human being. As an intelligent species we have an collective obligation to help each other when in need.
08 Jan 2016 10:26:47am
The irony of a self-proclaimed egalitarian communist state being led by a hereditary dictator is inescapable. The author is correct in saying that any use of these atomic weapons by Nth Korea would result in its immediate total destruction. I often wonder if the North Korean leadership knows just how much of a pissant it is regarded as by the world's leading powers. It isn't fear of its self-proclaimed military might (an untested force that most likely would crumble against any trained opposition) but the genuine recognition that on a scale of threats Nth Korea sits pretty low. To me Nth Korea is a spoilt brat in search of attention and the more we give it the more its delusions of grandeur are fed.
08 Jan 2016 10:43:11am
Malcolm. Maybe if they didn't get so much attention from the US military they would have no need for a nuclear weapon.
08 Jan 2016 11:40:12am
Well given that from the time of its birth the North Korean state has been loudly proclaiming that it hates the US then, for once, I can't really blame the US for keeping an eye on them. The irony is that without the massive resources used by the US to defeat Japanese aggression in WW2 the states of North and South Korea would still be subjects of the Japanese Empire. But just as much of the Kim "historic" legacy is largely manufactured the North Korean regime has never let the truth stand in the way of perpetuating its control. They will go the way of that other pariah state East Germany, that is inevitable, but the process needs to be accelerated and only China can do that as Russia did with East Germany. China needs to show that it also can be a responsible power besides being an economic one.
08 Jan 2016 11:58:21am
If hating the US is grounds for war then that would explain the US world-wide military presence.
08 Jan 2016 12:53:56pm
"...an untested force that most likely would crumble against any trained opposition..."
Untested? Certainly. But I wouldn't be quite so quick to dismiss the danger North Korea's armed forces represent.
They have millions of soldiers which, due to the regime's 'military first' policy, actually get fed. They have millions more in reserve. While virtually all of their equipment is obsolete, there is a great deal of it: more than 4000 tanks, more than 2000 other armoured vehicles, more than 8000 artillery guns and almost 5000 multiple rocket launchers. US air power could easily destroy most of these obsolete platforms, but it would take a while, and the damage they could do in the meantime (most of it is oriented at South Korea) is considerable. A lot of artillery is aimed at, and in range of, Seoul (population 24 million) and bunkered down so as to make it a difficult target. An initial all-out bombardment could kill thousands of people in hours - more if the shells are tipped with the chemical weapons NK is known to possess.
The NK naval forces and air forces are largely negligible, with minimum capability. There are maybe 30 MIG-29s, the only contemporary aircraft they have, but even those are obsolete compared to what the Americans and South Koreans have at their disposal.
08 Jan 2016 1:59:32pm
North Korea's army is a joke. The problem is that they aren't the kind of enemy our military forces are designed to operate against.
Western military forces are chiefly designed to use our mobility to pick our battles and then use superior firepower to eliminate the enemy in small chunks.
Our military doctrine is about ensuring that we fight from a position of overwhelming superiority, when victory is inevitable and the risk of casualties is minimal. If these conditions can't be found, our troops are trained to retreat.
This will cause a lot of problems if the enemy seriously outnumbers us and takes the offensive. I have no doubt we'd win once the gloves come off, but it would be a costly and brutal affair.
08 Jan 2016 3:27:16pm
It is indeed a joke. They use bombers that were first manufactured in the Second World War. They have jet fighters without radar or missiles. Half of their tanks are old T-55s, first built in the 1950s. Their submarines are old Whiskeys and Romeos, noisy clunkers you can hear half an ocean away.
Unfortunately it's a very, VERY large 'joke' with significant destructive capacity.
08 Jan 2016 3:04:03pm
NK's outdated military would indeed get stomped into the dirt within days, most likely, but during those few days they would manage to do a tremendous amount of damage to Seoul. Tens of thousands, possibly hundreds of thousands, of South Koreans would die. A military resolution to Korea's division just isn't practical. The only real solution will have to come from pressure from China for NK to shape up and become a real world citizen.
tree of life:
08 Jan 2016 10:28:35am
The rest of the world should be flying sorties of big cargo planes over NK and dropping millions of copies of Darwin's The Evolution of Species. All that self imposed isolation must be having a very bad effect on the mental fitness of the NK people if they are blindly following mad leaders like this succession of Kim Jongs. They need to be made aware of it.
08 Jan 2016 11:11:23am
North Koreans are executed for watching South Korean soaps. Their only hope of survival seems to be to keep their heads down, keep their thoughts to themselves and wait for the madness to pass. Hopefully that day will be soon but the regular culling of the officer class will extend the delay.
08 Jan 2016 11:24:15am
I think that book would be more useful dropped over the Southern US. Something like 50% of their population doesn't believe in evolution.
08 Jan 2016 11:45:58am
And if they believe the evolution theories (Note: theories, not facts), then they will develop more bigger bombs to destroy the weaker nations, thereby making them the fittest nation to survive.....such is the result of the "survival of the fittest" doctrine. The atheist "non-god" religion of evolution is both unscientific and irrational.
08 Jan 2016 12:26:04pm
"Note: theories, not facts"
A common misconception among the populace is the equate the word theory with hypothesis. A theory (as far as this layman is aware) is an intellectual model of known phenomena that lead to a known outcome. The theory of evolution is as much fact as the theory of gravity. People can choose to disbelieve, but when it comes to attempts to defy the theory of gravity they tend to become ironic victims of natural selection.
08 Jan 2016 1:07:24pm
Touchez Chris L. Too often do people say 'Well that's your theory but I have a different theory'. No you don't - you have a hypothesis, and no evidence.
A hypothesis has to have overwhelming evidence in support before it becomes a theory.
08 Jan 2016 1:17:01pm
errr.....it's called the Law of Gravity....proven, empirical facts are "Laws" and theories are "theories" - the latter being unproven, speculation and in some cases (like evolution and the big bang) just myths. There is no escaping it: the theory of evolution is unprovable, unscientific and is a "front" for the athiest "non-god" religion masquerading as "science". Athiests are just religiously "non-religious". I know that evolutionists are upset that not everyone is fooled by their propaganda, but calling something "scientific" doesn't make it factual nor even genuinely scientific analysis/speculation/hypothesis. In the case of evolution, it is simply a religious world-view that starts out on a premise that there is "no intelligent design" and so all evidence must be automatically skewed to fit the atheist mindset and any evidence that clearly contradicts the evolution or big bang theories or indicates intelligent design is selectively ignored. Notice how many public schools are needing to amalgamate because they don't have enough students enrolling - the reason why is because the atheistic/humanistic hedonists have sabotaged our public service and parents don't want their children being brainwashed with all their garbage.
08 Jan 2016 1:49:19pm
No surprise here for anyone I would suggest but I'm sorry Neil you fail the test.
A theory in science is an explanation for something based on repeated and repeatable observation and testing. Any theory can indeed be disproved - so if a fossil human does turn up in a rock layer before the age of mammals then this would disprove the theory of evolution. But that hasn't happened and almost all scientists regard evolution as accepted hypothesis - or as close to fact as just about any 'explanation' can be.
A law however is an observation of something - not an explanation. When something is called a law it means that no observed exceptions have been found. But a law does not seek to explain how these observed actions happen - so Newton's Law of Gravity only predicts the behaviour of a dropped object, it does not explain how or why, for that you need the General Theory of Relativity.
08 Jan 2016 2:08:59pm
Evolution is undisputed scientific fact and has been observed and documented under laboratory conditions. It is considered one of the most reliably established of all facts and theories in science.
It happens. You can watch it happen in verifiable and repeatable experiments. You would literally have to be actively avoiding facts for the last couple of decades to think otherwise.
08 Jan 2016 2:10:33pm
I love how you start your comment with "errr" and then follow up by being completely wrong on all points.
There is a Law of Gravity, it refers to the measurements we can make to calculate how gravity will affect object.
There is also a Theory of Gravity, which... well it pretty much does what I described above, unifies the known factors into a cohesive model.
The Theory of Evolution has been reinforced (proven) with every related discovery since its inception and is also the basis of modern medicine. All of humanity's medical knowledge is predicated on the Theory of Evolution being correct.
Your description of atheists and their motivations confirms that you have no clue on the subject. Either you are making it all up, or you are trusting someone else who just made it all up (also known as an act of faith).
Have a nice day :-)
08 Jan 2016 3:09:42pm
....for you to say that "The Theory of Evolution has been reinforced (proven) [snip]....." is just your opinion. That's my point. There are plenty of genuine scientists, doctors, inventors, economists, physicists, etc who disagree with you. You then go on to name-call me which once again is just your opinion. Sorry that I am not scurrying away in humiliation because you disagree with me and sorry that I am not offended by your name-calling. You are proving my point how it is just your opinion. You won't acknowledge any of the empirical evidence that reinforces (proves) that there is intelligent design predicted in medicine and in the origins of life which is just as scientific and which many genuine scientists claim - this once again proves my point that you are being selective with the facts. You say that "humanity's medical knowledge is predicted on the Theory of Evolution being correct" (which of course isn't true because plenty of medical science existed before the theory of evolution was even devised and since then, plenty of Creationist medicine has been created), but to entertain your line of thinking, it could have just been a fluke that the medicine happens to line up with what the Theory of Evolution predicted in your understanding - see my point?....the best you can ever get is that you think evolution could have occurred and so far, to you it lines up with what you think the medicine predicts. Your comments are just your opinion. For example, you could see a group of people with cars meeting in one spot next to a highway and assume that they must have driven there in their cars along the highway, but they could have actually been airlifted there (cars and all) by helicopters. Because you cannot go back in time and because the evidence you have is only a snap-shot of time, then you might believe that your theory is right even though it is completely wrong - you cannot prove it either way. The same goes with the theory of evolution. I haven't found any one to actually prove that any of their predictions actually line up with the theory of evolution no matter how much they say the predictions line up - so for me to just take your word for it would be very religious of me. And for you to take the word of atheist scientists to be infallible is very religious of you. Sorry to burst your bubble.
08 Jan 2016 4:11:08pm
"There are plenty of genuine scientists, doctors, inventors, economists, physicists, etc who disagree with you"
Got any names for me to look up? Of scientists, that is, I don't expect economists to be particularly more knowledgeable about evolution than anyone else.
"You then go on to name-call me"
Really? What name did I call you? Your accusation is about as accurate as the rest of your claims.
You're certainly welcome to leave yourself in the hands of pre-modern medicine, but I'm sure the rest of us would rather stick with the modern version which, as I said, is predicated on the accuracy of the Theory of Evolution. I guess I should have specified that I was talking about modern medicine... but then you should probably specify what designer you're talking about given the spaghetti monster would do as well as any.
About the only accurate statement you have made in any of your lengthy comments is that it is possible for we may someday encounter evidence to disprove evolution. This is true of all theories, and perhaps someday we'll find out that gravity is actually caused by the magic of leprechauns that live at the centre of planetary bodies, but until then the existing theory fits all the known facts and, more importantly, has never been refuted by any fact, experiment or discovery. Same is true of evolution.
Design, on the other hand, has yet to produce any supporting evidence... unless there's some you'd like to point out and lay bare for the rest of us to review. Simply put, I rely on evidence over opinion and accusing me of otherwise won't change that. Much like you can accuse atheism of being a religion (not sure why you'd want that to be the case) but the very name tells you it is an absence of religion.
No bubbles burst here, but thank you for your concern.
08 Jan 2016 3:53:22pm
Laws are not proven empirical facts. Laws are derived from facts meaning the careful observation of phenomena and the relation of these facts to general principles. In the physical sciences the term law is used to mean that these principles and relations have a very strong foundation. Hypotheses, theories and laws are all the same kind of animal except that their considered strength increases from the first to the latter. It also depends on the nature of the principles .. how much predictive or retrodictive power do they have? Newton's Laws of Motion are good examples of suggested relationships having great predictive and retrodictive power. They apply to all objects with mass in the observable universe. Not too shabby.
Evolutionary theory is hotly debated in the journals of scientists and philosophers of science. The debate however doesn't center around creationism or intelligent design, it is about mechanism. That mechanism does include Darwin's natural selection and our modern understanding of genetics and it also incorporates fascinating and subtle arguments in relation to what is the unit of selection and whether successful adaptive change can under certain conditions be accelerated.
The trouble with intelligent design is it shifts the explanation to a supposedly unknowable force. Even if it were true, it couldn't have anything to do with science as it's untestable. By ascribing to intelligent design, questioning and thinking is stopped. Certainly scientists can get bogged down as well. Instead of fearlessly looking for holes in theories they take the comfortable route which with evolutionary theory may include knocking down straw man arguments like intelligent design. We're just scratching the surface.
08 Jan 2016 4:05:14pm
I used to doubt that people like you existed. I mean, how could they? How could they cram so much nonsense into their worldview without breaking something?
But here you are. And in your silliness you illustrate some subtleties of evolution and natural selection. Survival of the fittest doesn't mean instant annihilation to the less successful - if it did, you wouldn't have been here to write your post. Instead it alludes to the impact of extended time on characteristics of populations. It's proven. It makes sense.
It may interest you to know (OK, that was sarcasm) that Darwin was a believer when he embarked on the Beagle. It was the evidence he gathered that ultimately took him in another direction. Atheists aren't religious (!) - some probably push their views forward like a lot of numpty religious types, but you can't infer too much from that.
Oh dear, I've done it again and wasted time writing stuff that you won't comprehend. Blast.
08 Jan 2016 12:46:43pm
Evolution is both scientific, rational, and supported by evidence. Unlike religion.
BTW, Darwin never spoke of "survival of the fittest" and it is an incorrect simplification of the evolutionary process.
08 Jan 2016 2:42:03pm
....I didn't say that Darwin spoke of "survival of the fittest", I just used the phrase referring to evolution theories. And whether I am a Creationist or not doesn't make evolutionists more scientific or their theories more scientifically credible.....but rather, it is an emotive "cop-out" to avoid facing the reality that evolution have never been proven and neither can it be. No honest scientist has ever used the phrase "Law of Evolution" because they know that it is only a theory and can only remain a theory. It is the religious atheists who think that evolution is a "Law" and has been "proven". For example, if all the millions and millions of fossils are exactly where they should be in the right "layer of rocks" (as someone in here has already said) to "prove" evolution occurred, it is equally scientific too say that they were purposely "designed" to be in those locations and those layers by a Designer. Selective reasoning and ignoring evidence happens when atheists realize that there are plenty of fossils and geological columns that actually don't fit the text-book evolutionary description.....REALITY CHECK: evidence that contradicts the evolution theory does exist and an honest scientist knows this. So unless a theory is proven 100%, then an honest scientist does not consider it viable and the theory needs to be reviewed. In other words, knowingly allowing error to exist in a theory is not searching for truth/facts/science.....it becomes religious - this is the world of evolution because as new evidence arises, then the evolutionary theory needs to change and the so-called "facts" that exist now are dumped for new "facts" to match up with the new evidence. We have seen this happens many times over the past 100 years. So to all the evolutionists in here pushing your religion, can you make a rock solid claim that your understanding of evolution theory right now will NEVER change no matter what evidence is uncovered in the future?...if you can't, then you know in yourself (without me having to tell you), that you might be wrong and so you cannot legitimately say that evolution (as you know it now) is a fact.....oh, and to say that "evolution will one day be proven in the future when we get enough evidence" or that "we know that the principle of evolution is true but not how it specifically happened" are just cop-outs for not being able to prove it because you don't know what you don't know and you cannot tell the future, so that is just another religious statement - I could equally say that "evolution will be proven false in the future when we get enough evidence". See my point?....it is just a belief/religious world-view.
08 Jan 2016 2:43:34pm
I hadn't heard that Mal. It seems 'survival of the fittest' was coined by someone else after he read Origin of the Species as you say but Darwin approved of the phrase and adopted it in a subsequent book (on domestication of animals). Like you I am a believer in evolution but evidence does not equal proof.
08 Jan 2016 1:03:30pm
Creationists would be more convincing if they showed any understanding of what they rail against. Survival of the fittest does NOT mean violence wins... its refers to the fitness of a new variety to the prevailing conditions.
Example: as global warming increases temperatures, variations that can stand higher temps will live to pass on their genes, increasing their numbers.. but when the climate changes again another group will have the advantage... that's how little mammals replaced large reptiles, and while some old species are in very little niches.. and the fossil record is full of extinct things from when the land was frozen, or oceans were larger or the CO2 level in the atmosphere was much much higher.
I don't ask you to believe it... just understand it
The NK will never be a strong nation, even if it really has a big bomb, or even 6 of them.
Its neighbours watch for any sign of movement at all times.
China wont let NK push the button and will obliterate them first if they try.
In NK the socially fittest at the moment are actually the ones that comply and wait, and they will not subscribe to a round of suicidal MAD
USSR is the example... fearsome KGB within and a arsenal of nuclear weapons aimed priming every citizen to hate the Americans, with military brinkmanship and endless internal propaganda didn't end in a nuclear winter..
08 Jan 2016 2:58:23pm
I wonder if NK will ever just demand ransom money?
08 Jan 2016 1:12:30pm
NeilA: You mean most scientists, and probably most educated people that do not believe in one god or the other are irrational. Or is it only your particular god. I suppose before this conversation can go any further you need to reveal which god you are talking about.
08 Jan 2016 4:06:42pm
....I am saying that when you genuinely match up the theory of evolution with any empirical science (ie. the facts, legitimate evidence and "Laws of Science" without a preconceived, pre-meditated "non-god" world-view), the theory of evolution simply cannot be proven to be true and there are plenty of legitimate, rational and scientific reasons to doubt that it ever happened. I am not into name-calling and so I am not saying that "most educated people" are irrational for two reasons: 1. it is just your opinion that you think that "most educated people do not believe in one god" (you cannot possibly know what "most educated people" think) and so that is a subjective (religious?) statement for you to make to artificially back up your religious theory and 2. I actually think that most educated people believe that Creationism is very rational so I am hardly going to criticize all those educated people out there that agree with me. It is only the religious atheists that push the "evolution is true" line and even then, they have to dream up "facts" to make it look credible. See my point?.....as far as which God am I talking about, I am happy to tell you, but on the outset, it is faith-based because it is DESIGNED to be faith-based God (ie. God has designed the evidence to be unproven by human science but reasonable enough for anyone who genuinely desires to know Him)....For example, have you ever asked a "loaded question" or steered a discussion in such a way to get a desired outcome?....this is how God is revealing himself - just beyond human science so that He isn't proven to be a fact (because that would force us by reason to acknowledge His existence), but enough evidence for the honest person to acknowledge His existence by faith so that they can legitimately and rationally believe in Him. He only seeks out those who seek out Him and the rest He leaves to live in their self-chosen (self-deluded) religions/non-religions or whatever else they want to call it (atheists included). Your world-view is what directs your beliefs and opinions and by looking honestly at all facts in a common-sense way, the human rational of the existence of God seems more plausible than any other "theories" out there - there is also the subsequent eternal life that comes with it. It depends on if your world-view allows God to reveal Himself to you or whether your world-view has a pre-determined rejection/skewed view of God and you will artificially fit everything into your world-view no matter how wrong it is.
08 Jan 2016 1:22:00pm
Well Neil, there have already been replies to your post and I am not going to try and change your mind on evolution - because that is clearly not going to be possible.
But I have to pull you up on the notion that the theory of evolution is unscientific - that is about as close to a nonsense statement as is possible. Just consider this, not a single fossil, not even one, has ever been found that was not precisely where is should be in the deposit strata to exactly match where it should be if evolution were indeed fact. Think about that for a minute, every one of the millions and millions of fossils ever uncovered is exactly in the time period it should be. This never deviates, there is never a boned fish or a mammal or a flying insect or even a tiny shrimp that is in the wrong layer of rock.
It is the god theory that is unscientific relying as it does on no evidence, no rationality, no observation, no facts - just 'faith'.
08 Jan 2016 1:25:25pm
"...theories, not facts..."
"...religion of evolution..."
Creationists never learn! Evolution would still be a theory if it hadn't been rigorously tested, observed taking place in actual time, and supported by a massive fossil, DNA and geograhic distribution record going back hundreds of millions of years. However, because evolution has all these things, it's no longer a theory. It's an established fundamental scientific principle supported by a verified body of empirical evidence, which distinguishes it entirely from religious creationism - which has no supporting evidence whatsoever.
tree of life:
08 Jan 2016 2:11:07pm
Just saying that when a population isolates itself like that there's no longer any genetic variation entering the mix and the risk of inbreeding is higher leading to health issues including mental health.
But then, we were all descended from one pair Adam and Eve weren't we? and Eve was originally one of Adams's ribs wasn't she? Oh dear. I think I like the descended from monkeys theory better.
08 Jan 2016 1:20:22pm
I think you'd find that the majority of people do not in fact choose to live under a dictatorship.
If a majority people wanted to live that manner they'd be a democracy and vote in leaderships to punish them endlessly in the same manner they are punished endlessly today.
People who are on the edge of constant starvation, who get executed for watching the wrong tv show, sent to hard labour camps for not looking the right way, and have family disappeared for no reason at all don't generally tend to have too much choice in the matter.
tree of life:
08 Jan 2016 10:28:59am
The rest of the world should be flying sorties of big cargo planes over NK and dropping millions of copies of Darwin's The Evolution of Species. All that self imposed isolation must be having a very bad effect on the mental fitness of the NK people if they are blindly following mad leaders like this succession of Kim Jongs. They need to be made aware of it.
08 Jan 2016 10:51:17am
It's a big enough book to feed a family. We can then step up the sanctions on actual food without feeling so bad.
08 Jan 2016 12:07:51pm
A thought just occurred to me along these lines: wouldn't it be much more effective to actually do food drops from the air directly to all the people in NK, rather than these sanctions? How do you all think the masses would take the fact that other countries are keeping them from starvation, when their own leaders cannot?
(I'm not suggesting invading other sovereign nations' airspace is the best course of action, but it just struck me as a semi-serious, albeit laughable solution to the problem! :)
08 Jan 2016 1:01:33pm
Nice sentiment but; you'd be dealing with anti-aircraft weapons and an instant declaration of war if somebody tried it.
08 Jan 2016 1:22:09pm
It would. And hopefully some of it would get through.
My guess is that the higher powers would make sure they get the bulk of it and would most likely punish severely those who had the temerity to dare feed ther starving children with it :(
08 Jan 2016 2:18:33pm
"wouldn't it be much more effective to actually do food drops from the air directly to all the people in NK, rather than these sanctions?"
The food would be seized by military forces. The troops will eat most of it. The rest will be relabelled with North Korean symbols and given to the people.
The people will be told that the food was entirely produced by North Korean farms and donated through the generosity of Fearless Leader. Anyone who thinks otherwise will be taken away and quietly murdered.
The result? We end up feeding our enemies soldiers, giving their leader a publicity boost and prolonging the very oppression we're trying to end.
08 Jan 2016 10:30:57am
If I had a few thousand nuclear warheads pointed in my direction I'd probably go out and get one too. If only to give my enemies something to consider.
08 Jan 2016 10:56:42am
Exactly relative. When all your neighbours hate you that reaction kinda makes sense. Iran and Israel come to mind as well.
Geopolitics is a whole other type of logic.
Billy Bob Hall:
08 Jan 2016 11:05:53am
All communists are paranoid. They should be. Their 'system' is always in need of replacement, despite any 'popular' belief.
08 Jan 2016 11:55:15am
Billy Bob Hall:
Replacement with what?
Which form of Capitalism do you have in mind?
Hopefully not the sort in Eastern Europe. We
have the Russian Hacker Mafia because of this.
08 Jan 2016 1:41:46pm
The most paranoid state in the world is the capitalist poster child the USA.
Why else have they been at war for more than 90% of the time they've existed??
08 Jan 2016 4:16:00pm
Dear spacey 101
Have you been reading "Washingtonsblog"?
Good for a laugh, or perhaps more appropriately a mournful shake of the head, but to quote it as an authority?
The only way it achieves its amazing percentage is to state that the USA was at war almost constantly from 1776 to WW1: by treating minor clashes with Indian tribes as "wars". Some of these may have been quite vicious, and probably morally indefensible, but "wars"? A few companies of soldiers? One or two armed clashes over several years?
And it gets worse. "The Occupation of South Korea" is listed as a war year! Not when the Soviet sponsored North invaded, but simply the presence of US troops to forestall the attack!
From 1991 on the USA is described as at war with Iraq, and the "CIA" wars fill in some gaps after WW2.
And to describe the 36 years of the "Banana Wars" as real wars is a joke. Occupation, maybe, police actions, probably. But wars?
I really recommend reading the list: it shows the desperation those who hate the world's most powerful democracy will go to in order to justify their bigotry.
08 Jan 2016 11:23:11am
I doubt if there are any actively targeted at North Korea, let alone thousands. The only countries that had nuclear warheads actively targeting other countries were the USSR and the US and they were targeting each other. Not a piss ant little dictatorship with no strategic or economic targets of value.
08 Jan 2016 12:23:39pm
1. If all my neighbours hate me, and they have guns, well, I'm probably gonna seriously consider buying a gun.
2. Does Kim know that? Do you know that? Are you sure? How are you sure? Easy call to make when you're not the one under threat.
Not excusing or condoning any of it. Just demonstrating how it happens. Which to me is the first step in coming up with a solution.
08 Jan 2016 10:34:49am
Nuclear proliferation occurs because smaller countries fear being overrun by larger, more powerful countries. Countries don't get nuclear weapons so they can be obliterated. They can choose to get obliterated without nuclear weapons if they really want to
08 Jan 2016 11:20:14am
even funnier is that Nuclear states are "banned from Testing" however this is a hoax.
They test all day every day....... on computer simulations... Based on dara from their real world explosions of which the did many. Other nations are now not allowed to do tests so they can maintain their advantage.
actually if you follow the news carefully a few years back the USA got cought out in there budget papers paying for 500 Tonnes of Explosive ie .5 KT. This was detonated in a mountain cave to "confirm" their computer nuclear blast simulations with a real world explosion. They were designing new nuclear warheads that could destroy russian and chinese deep bunkers. It is estimated that the chinese have spend over 50 Billion in the last 25 years building a network of underground tunnels spanning over 2000 km which they can move their nukes via trains to different launch silo's.
08 Jan 2016 11:48:11am
"Nuclear profliferation occurs because smaller countries fear being overrun by larger, more powerful countries." Very true, and a small amount of research shows President Harry Trueman is responsible for creating this mindset of proliferation as a deterrent. Three short weeks after successfully testing the first atomic bomb at White sands New Mexico Trueman ordered them to be used on Japan. It ended WW2. What we are not taught in school is that the main aim of Trueman was to stop Russia entering the pacific war as they had been asked to do by Trueman and Churchill before the bomb had been developed. Russia had been offered territory in Asia if the Russian army helped defeat the Japs. At the same time negotiations between Churchill, Stalin and Trueman were ongoing over the carve up of Europe after the Nazi's had been defeated. With the new bomb all bets were off and the Russians were no longer needed in Asia and the promise of territory in Asia for the Russians went out the window. Russia did declare war on Japan after the bombs were dropped but it was too late for previous offers of territory to be honoured. The Russians meanwhile felt bullied by these developments during negotiations on the carve up of Europe. Russian diplomats were ordered to play "hard ball" in response and successfully claimed more eastern europe states under their direct influence than was previously on the table before the US used the bomb on Japan. Trueman announced the US would seek military bases in europe and that the US would not be sharing atomic weapon technology. The Russians responded to the US bullying by fast tracking the development of their own atomic bomb. The cold war began and nuclear proliferation was born. The US ended ww2 with the bomb, but also started the cold war and nuclear profliferation in doing so.
08 Jan 2016 12:17:43pm
Further to my previous post.
In the sense that nuclear proliferation is an extension and was born of WW2, WW2 never really ended because everyone now fears a rogue state or a terrorist or an accident will unleash the horror the US unleashed on Japanese civilians but with far more powerful and destructive force than anyone dares to imagine. Peace and Happy New Year to all.
08 Jan 2016 12:37:21pm
'everyone now fears a rogue state or a terrorist or an accident will unleash the horror the US unleashed'
Yes the US unleashed it, but if they hadn't someone else would have sooner or later. Would you have preferred the Nazi's, or the Soviets, or another ?.
Your posts read (maybe unintentionally) that you believe that if the USA hadn't built the bomb, it never would have been invented.
08 Jan 2016 1:26:02pm
I'm saying the Nazi's were beaten without the bomb. The Japs were in no place to resist the allies, especially with Russian support. Stalin was upstaged by the bomb after being kept out of the loop which gave birth to mistrust between Russia and the US. The US then thought it could use the bomb to bully Russia into a more favourable carve up of Europe for the Western democracies. It failed and resulted in a deepening mistrust between the US and Russia.
The bomb should not have been used to bully Russia our WW2 ally. Japan should have been defeated without it. The US should have kept ALL our allies in the loop about the bomb and perhaps even offered to share the technolgy. This would have avoided the mistrust that fuelled the cold war and the nuclear proliferation that went with it. There would have been no need for Russia to isolate itself and continually demonstrate it had bigger nukes than the US. The division created by the US by keeping Russia out of the loop while at the same time the US demonstrating its willingness to use the bomb on civilians has created the proliferation and mistrust we all endure to this very day. Nuclear weapons would have been kept under much better control and the spread of them limited far more if Russia had been treated as the ally that they were.
08 Jan 2016 2:22:03pm
Dear Benny Wormtongue
I suggest you put yourself in the place of the leaders of the Allies in WW2.
After years of fighting, millions dead, would you choose not to use the most devastating weapon you had to avoid losing many more of your citizens' lives? How would you explain to the families of those killed in a bloody hand to hand battle for mainland Japan that you had moral scruples about using a nuclear bomb or two to end the war?
PS the Nazis were already beaten by then. Japan was never Nazi, any more than were the Russians. Japan was a military nationalist totalitarian state, just like Russia. As such, it would have fought like the Russians, regardless of casualties, until the home islands were a scorched earth. The death toll would have exceeded the two nuclear attacks by a factor of at least ten.
PPS Russia was not a real ally, not in the sense that the USA and Britain were allies. It had begun the war in the Axis side, and only became an "ally" when attacked by Germany. It took advantage of British war weariness and US naivety to seize half Europe and large parts of Asia for itself, creating its own empire. Fortunately it collapsed under its own inefficiency. If, as you suggest, the USA had given it nuclear weapons, no doubt more of the world's population would have been enslaved by its armies.
08 Jan 2016 3:01:40pm
Nobody knew the US had a nuke, so no explaining would have been necessary had they not used it. Churchill said nothing to the people of London when he knew the Germans were going to bomb London for fear the Germans would realize the allies had broken their code. No problem facing relatives of the dead there.
My point was no bomb was needed to defeat Germany and I suggest the same is true for Japan. Russia has had nukes for a long time and their armies have not enslaved the worlds population. Remember the US already had nukes first, so the Russians would have been well behaved. The Japs were already reeling under bombardment from conventional bombs so no nukes were necessary except to intimidate Russia. Hardly an excuse to wipe out the civilians of 2 cities.
08 Jan 2016 3:04:27pm
Interesting rewrite of history Benny. The 'bomb" was built by German experts in race to beat the Russians.
But who bomb the Americans in 1941 causing the Americans to declare war on Japan ??
Have you seen how many civilians the Japanese slaughtered during world war two?
You are blinded by your hatred
08 Jan 2016 3:28:24pm
"The bomb was built by Germans in a rush to beat the Russians."
These Germans were recruited by the US after the fall of the Nazi's.
Interesting rewrite of History? It was the Nazi's the US were in a rush to beat after Einstein advised he feared the Germans were developing a nuke, not the Russians.
Sparing the lives of innocent civilians amounts to hatred does it?
PS. My wife is a permanent resident US citizen, so your accusation of hatred falls flat there too.
I suggest you are the one blinded Realist, by propaganda.
08 Jan 2016 3:42:26pm
Realist1, may I add a little nuance to your statement that America's war on Japan started at the bombing of Pearl Harbour. In fact it started well before that with the US cutting off Japanese supply lines. The Japanese bombing of Pearl Harbour was an attempt by the Japanese to break the American maritime siege. America was doing this because it saw Japan as competition for control of East and South East Asia.
The bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki killed civilians. These were not military targets and the people were returning to the cities because they believed the war was nearly over and so the cities would no longer be a target. It was a tragedy with no military outcome except for possible shortening the war a bit (how much "a bit" is will be debated to the end of time).
08 Jan 2016 1:48:54pm
Further to my previous relpy.
The US gave up the chance of "Real Peace" after WW2 by not including the Russians in the new technology. Nuclear technology would have been regulated much more effectively under an agency that included Russian co-operation. The distrust that fuelled the cold war would not have occured. In saying that I believe it was the "atoms for peace" program from the US many years later that allowed countries like Pakistan to get their hands on nukes.
08 Jan 2016 3:30:26pm
Dear Benny Wormtongue
The distrust that began the Cold War did not start with the USA's reluctance to give nuclear secrets to the USSR. (Which stole them anyway).
It was the USSR's seizure of half Europe and attempts to grab more that caused a little concern. Particularly as WW2 only began after the USSR agreed with Germany to carve up Poland and Eastern Europe.
BTW: are you aware that Stalin has been denounced?
08 Jan 2016 4:06:14pm
The seizure of half europe came during negotiations for the carve up of europe after the fall of the nazi's. The negotiations were not great, however they were ongoing until they took a turn for the worse AFTER the US nuked the Japs. This is where the distrust entered the downward spiral because Stalin thought the US using a nuke on the Japs was an attempt to indimidate Russia during negotiations regarding the carve up of europe. The US announcing they would not be sharing the nukes as well as seeking military bases in europe only added fuel to the fast developing cold war fire.
Yes, I am aware Stalin has been denounced as a tyrant and I don't deny that. He did however help defeat the Nazi's and 27 million Russians lives were sacrificed in the process. I think a clear demonstration of a nuke at a testing facility in the spirit of disclosure would have gone a long way to quell any expansionist ambition he might have had however, and foster co-operation and avoid the downward spiral of the cold war and the subsequent proliferation of nukes that went with it. The US instead chose to demostrate the bomb on Japan at which point the carve up of europe went to s--t.
08 Jan 2016 4:30:53pm
You are dead wrong, the carve was happening during the war. Churchill met with Stalin well before the war ended. The American were appalled by the deal done to usurp sovereign rights. Go and do more homework your hatred blinds you.
08 Jan 2016 10:36:20am
This is a typical kindergarten politics. A bully in the yard knows that hi has a powerful protector and can afford to ignore even laugh at punishments talked about by all other 'authorities. He knows that they are nothing but empty threats.
Therefore, why we are we continuously subjected to this charade of outrages when we know that no one is going to do anything about the bully because they cant do anything about his powerful protector? The bully knows that too that is why he continues to laugh at all our fabricated expressions of outrages.
How many more times are we going to be subjected to the same political charade? When will we finally say; Enough of this kindergarten politics?
08 Jan 2016 11:31:00am
The Chinese have been making giant strides in coming to terms with the world and what is expected of a civilised regime. They found that this greatly benefited their economy and once the economy takes charge then you can kiss political extremes good bye. China needs to take the next step in developing its aspirations to be a respected world power and simply ditch North Korea.
The regime of Kim Ill Feeling would implode as North Koreans began voting with their feet. Just as that other pariah state East Germany imploded when Russia decided that it was time to go. Until China grasps responsibility in the matter we will be stuck with this nasty little infestation on the Korean peninsula.
08 Jan 2016 12:26:43pm
No offence mate but Bull!!
Need a new Heart... got the money! 12 weeks its yours!
One less falong gung member to worry about !!
Think about that statement for a minute.... really think about it!
Because its true and its not going to change and its so far from what I believe what is expected of a civilized regime.
Here in the west we do terrible things, allow poverty when we have wealth but we draw the line.
The communists will keep looking the part, but in reality they will crush at the moment they feel threatened.
08 Jan 2016 1:17:31pm
I find it hard to believe China has no influence in North Korea.
2013 UN sanctions on North Korea just means China has become a bigger benefactor. Does anyone believe China does not know what they are sending to North Korea and what that country is doing with those goods? Blinkers off might be a good start.
08 Jan 2016 11:35:01am
North Korea has a "powerful protector." And who exactly would that be? China? From what I can see the Chinese government faces the same dilemma as the rest of Asia -- an unstable and violent police state that will either start a devastating nuclear war or collapse at some stage sending millions of its people fleeing as refugees into neighboring countries. China has no interest in either outcome. So the idea that they are encouraging North Korea in order to enhance their own importance in the region doesn't sound right to me.
The North Korean people are the victims here, held hostage by a police state that is so total in its control and so murderous in its threats against them and their families that they dare not rebel. There is no easy solution but the one tactic that has been tried is economic sanctions against the elite. Quite possibly there might be some benefit in extending this to travel sanctions against them. But there appear to be no easy answers.
And there is no "political charade" going on here. The key factors are well known and the problem is basically intractable at the present time.
08 Jan 2016 12:36:12pm
"And who exactly would that be? China?"
Yes. China. The only nation in human history who waged war on the entire United Nations.
I have no doubt that if North Korea mobilised their armies tomorrow, China would be right behind them.
Mitor the Bold:
08 Jan 2016 11:36:27am
I often wonder why it is that entire populations acquiesce to being brutalised by a handful of despots. Why do North Koreans not rebel? Why did Cambodians allow Pol Pot to murder them? Why did there need to be an Arab Spring to topple brutal dictatorships? Why did Russians allow Stalin to treat them like frightened slaves?
If people behave like cattle is it really our responsibility to help them? It appears that even when we do try there is a political vacuum - these populations seem to have no alternative other than willing capitulation to military authority. When given the vote they vote for more of the same.
Populations have to recognise their own problems and develop their own solutions - I cannot see what we can do to help, by which I mean I know all the arguments for helping but have witnessed time and again how futile our interventions have been.
The French Republic wasn't imposed by outside parties, nor the USA or South Africa or any other relatively stable nation. Let the North Koreans step up or get used to the hell in which, by their acquiescence, they have chosen to live.
08 Jan 2016 12:22:51pm
"The people always get the government they deserve".
Ah yes, the age old conundrum. The sociological & even anthropological factors that explain why this kind of thing happens time & time again have filled the volumes of countless books over the past few centuries.
Suffice it to say, you only have to look to the proliferation of modern mass media, vs how some of these regimes & the ones in power react to it, to realise the mechanisms required/used to keep the population in check. 1984 is a very good fictional setting that takes this to a logical extreme. But, sadly, 30 years on it's actually not even half as bad as some of these hell-holes that have been created in our world by evil men & their apathetic masses.
08 Jan 2016 1:24:34pm
Mitor, why do people bow down to brutal dictators?
Put yourself in their shoes for a minute.
It is easy to see there are few choices:
1. grudgling accept with a polite face until chance of change appears
2. escape the country - death if you are caught
3. launch an attack against authority - death when you are caught
I don't know which I would choose, no good choices.
08 Jan 2016 10:38:48am
While I don't disagree with any of this commentary, is there any more substantive evidence available regarding the H-bomb test that a political reporter's tweet?
08 Jan 2016 10:49:54am
Can only wonder how many of its nuclear powered subs the US has parked within firing range, and how many B-52's are doing regular flyovers north of the 38th parallel.
08 Jan 2016 11:56:34am
Conventional weaponry is plenty to crush North Korea I expect any nuclear missile would be easy prey to US origin anti missile technology South Korea and China are safe from nuclear attack Leaving Japan as a possible target
The fallout on North Korea would be swift and devastating
08 Jan 2016 1:40:37pm
"Conventional weaponry is plenty to crush North Korea"
Perhaps. But such a conventional war would be brutal.
The West have returned to the age of selective service, precision attacks and small mobile forces fighting over small areas of ground. Our forces simply aren't designed to occupy large areas of hostile territory or face off against conscript armies who massively outnumber us.
Faced with a war with North Korea, I suspect that the West will simply nuke them and hold the line while their nation collapses. A conventional war would involve a level of military casualties the West won't be willing to accept.
Mike (the other one):
08 Jan 2016 10:52:57am
I think I'd rather see the leader of a nation shed a few tears over the occasional actions of some wacko who abused a little bit of power and freedom than see a wacko national leader with the sort of power that is capable of removing all power and freedom from the people by using so many destructive means at their disposal.
The duality of man. Like sheep to the slaughterhouse. Power corrupts, absolute power corrupts absolutely.
Better to live with the relatively minor problems that go with some semblance of balance.
08 Jan 2016 10:53:44am
The only outside power Kim really needs to fear is China. If they ever decide his dynasty has reached its use by date then its all over. Until then he can continue to live in his self deluded world feeding himself on the poverty of his people
08 Jan 2016 10:55:54am
I think we need a bit more than the very rudimentary primer this article amounts to.
It seems the mighty in global politics need to take some advice from people skilled in socialising problem children or problem families rather than sticking with what now has not worked for nearly 70 years.
There are slow learners on all sides in this matter apparently.
08 Jan 2016 10:59:06am
North Korea - One 'suspected' thermonuclear bomb.
The USA - Thousands of confirmed thermonuclear weapons, including ones capable of reaching all around the world.
North Korea - In a perpetual war with South Korea for a couple of decades.
The USA - The largest war-monger in modern history, with a history of starting bloody wars and fuelling conflicts over dubious motives.
North Korea - Confined to it's own country, surrounded by US-backed forces.
The USA - How many military bases do they have in other countries, exactly?
So yeah, let's all be concerned about North Korea threatening world peace.
(BTW, Israel owns hundreds of nuclear devices and, guess what, they haven't signed the Nuclear Weapons Non-Proliferation Treaty either.)
08 Jan 2016 12:37:59pm
The US is by far the greatest problem for the future of our planet. Like North Korea is manipulates its people by painting a continual picture of external threats If any country should be stripped of its nuclear weapons it is the US.
If the US elects a leader with a bad hair cut then we are all in trouble.
08 Jan 2016 11:05:57am
I have my doubts about the dynastic leadership of North Korea. It seems more likely Kim Jong-Un is a puppet, as was his father before him. It's possible that Kim Il-Sung was more than this, but that the military and the general population would simply accept dynastic rule, rather than the former employing a cult of personality to exploit the latter, seems somehow unlikely. Even the Chinese at least pretend to a more legitimately political succession of leadership and governance, howsoever hollow that may be under one-party rule.
But the main point, that North Korea is employing its nuclear weapons program to cow its populace, pretending to be a nation forever under threat by outside powers (the US in particular), while meanwhile playing at keeping its enemies at the bargaining table - even if only keeping them offering to bargain, and thereby demonstrating a kind of weakness, remains valid. It maintains the internal apparent legitimacy of the government.
I doubt the capacity of North Korea to develop a nuclear weapon. I doubt their intention to use any such weapon, or more conventional arms, in an act of war. They will continue their present course to maintain their grip on their nation, but that nation will be forever a failed state, ultimately, until such time as their pretence becomes clear. Of course, it already is, among those actually in power, but unless a challenge from within occurs, there will be no change of government. After two successors to Kim Il-Sung, it seems the current power elite have a reliable formula for maintaining their rule and a population sufficiently weakened and deluded as to present no threat. If widespread poverty and hunger aren't sufficient to incite the population to topple the government, only a coup from within the military will do it, or rouse the populace.
08 Jan 2016 11:12:50am
Kim Jong-un, the Asian Donald Trump, might be a total, barking mad loon, but he's also a cunning, opportunistic loon.
I would be willing to bet my life that this impoverished, technologically backward country has no more chance of putting together a working thermonuclear device than Kim has of winning the Nobel Peace Prize.
The small quake felt in the area of their testing zone was a true gift, allowing this cartoon character to pretend that he has joined the "big boys" without spending the tens of billions they don't have developing an actual weapon.
It worked for the Allies with Operation Mincemeat before the invasion of Greece and Operation Quicksilver before D-Day to name just two.
One small quake raises his credibility at home and makes the scary big outside world think twice. He's probably still laughing.
08 Jan 2016 12:58:54pm
Kim Jong-un isn't a barking loon or particularly cunning. He isn't a political player at all. He's just a figurehead and a puppet for those holding the real power. Nothing like his father, let alone his grandfather. But he is opportunist.
08 Jan 2016 1:50:02pm
What you say about Kim being a figurehead is possibly correct, but being able to survive in his position would, I imagine take more than a little cunning.
But you are right, he is probably quite sane, he just does a very good impression of being a psychopath.
08 Jan 2016 11:13:58am
Whats really intresting is the western media's complete denial that he could actually have built a hydrogen bomb !!
Well think about this fact; There is no theoretical upper limit to the size of a hydrogen bomb.
Yep thats right folks a hydrogen bomb once built small can be upscaled to a size so large we all go up in smoke.
The russians considered building a "doomsday device" it was about the size of a smaller sized " in todays standard" oil tanker and if the russians were on the verge of defeat they could use it to negotiate a draw.
Luckily for the world the russians identified the huge risk of having such a device was to the future of mankind... I wonder what Kim would think ?
08 Jan 2016 12:09:54pm
"Well think about this fact; There is no theoretical upper limit to the size of a hydrogen bomb.
Yep thats right folks a hydrogen bomb once built small can be upscaled to a size so large we all go up in smoke. "
I really do wish people would check their facts instead of just pulling silly claims out of the bums.
2 minutes worth of research will tell you the truth of the matter:
Biggest thermonuclear device ever detonated was the Russian 'Tsar Bomba' on 31/10/1961 @ 50 megaton.
The largest PHYSICALLY POSSIBLE thermonuclear device conceived was only 100megaton, and that was so huge there is STILL no way to deliver it.
Hyperbole might sound impressive to some but is really just a waste of breath.
08 Jan 2016 12:38:22pm
So you say I should check my facts, then state PHYSICAL after admitting my claim said theoretical. hmmm
You dont need to deliver a dooms day device my friend !!
2 minutes of research, told you what ... that I'm right ?
Studied nuclear science at uni... what did you do . Seriously tell me whats your background i'd like to know.
If I link on this site they wont post my comment, but try again, read what I said then post me your apology.
08 Jan 2016 1:45:57pm
If there is any record ANYWHERE of someone being killed or even injured by a THEORETICAL weapon of any kind, then please provide the evidence.
The Uni education of which you proudly boast should perhaps have included the distinction between what is theoretical and what can actually be physically achieved as you seem to be having a problem with that.
A space elevator is also a THEORETICAL possibility, but at the moment, physically impossible.
As to my apology, yes, I'm sorry you lack the ability to make this very simple distinction and have to fall back on semantics and unproven claims of expertise.
08 Jan 2016 2:27:09pm
DAvid, I'm sorry.
Sorry that the university education of which you boast was unable to teach you the difference between the theoretical and the physically possible.
I can't find any reference anywhere of anyone being harmed by a theoretical weapon.
08 Jan 2016 11:16:28am
Who cares what people do as long as they don't use what they do against you? Butt out USA.
08 Jan 2016 11:46:57am
At least we know where you stand: bugger everyone else as long as I am OK.
Some of us feel empathy for starving North Koreans, persecuted Ugandan homosexuals and Christian Arabs facing genocide.
I hope you don't mind if we try to help them.
And I can see why you detest the USA: always poking its nose into other people's affairs. Just like those busybodies who call the police when a man is bashing his wife in the privacy of his own home. They should mind their own business.
08 Jan 2016 12:22:32pm
Well the USA are hardly a good fit in that comparison you make - their record of "liberating" the downtrodden people of other nations is abysmal.
They're more like the neighbour who comes in and removes the wife beater and replaces him with a worse wife beater whose politics are more acceptable to them, or who is more likely to do what they tell him. And while they're there, they take control of your appliances for their own benefit.
frank of malvern:
08 Jan 2016 2:12:46pm
Other than the hard work and the determination of the South Koreans themselves the only other thing that has kept South Korea free and prosperous with its people not living depressing,down trodden,impoverished lives like their North Korean counterparts is the presence of the United States. The North would have run over the South years ago if they had the chance
Christine by your comment you have clearly never been to South Korea, could be worth a visit and you might just get a better perspective
08 Jan 2016 11:17:18am
I expect Pres Obama to apologise effusively for all US actions since independence and ask Kim Jong-un what he can do to make up for this. Would abandoning South Korea be enough?
Such tactics (abject surrender) worked a treat in Cairo.
The timing of the "H-bomb" test might suggest that the North Koreans think whoever takes over from Obama will be a little less amenable. You don't see Putin sending aid to a country that openly calls for your cities to be destroyed in flames.
08 Jan 2016 12:57:03pm
"The timing of the "H-bomb" test might suggest that the North Koreans think whoever takes over from Obama will be a little less amenable."
Or it might suggest that internal political issues matter more. The US Primaries are due to commence next month and a more bellicose North Korea than usual would favour hawkish presidential candidates. I doubt that NK would prefer that outcome.
08 Jan 2016 11:19:11am
Although DPRK is a remnant of the cold war years it still serves a geopolitical purpose, nestled as it is along the fault-line separating the interests of two superpowers and their client states. It is in neither Chinese nor US interests for North Korea to disappear - just yet - and one can expect the bellicosity and faux-aggression of the Kim regime to continue.
Not to simplify things too much, DPRK pleases China because it is a buffer against having US troops right on its borders; it is in American interests to for perversely the same reason, providing a semi-permanent military presence in mainland Northeast Asia without being too close to China; South Korea, rather than seek real integration with its northern sibling, is spared the economic cost of such a move; only North Korea itself really suffers from this arrangement, and the Kim regime keeps a tight lid on dissent so that the distress of the North's ordinary people are ignored by all.
Kim is unlikely to jeopardise this arrangement.
08 Jan 2016 12:35:23pm
You will probably find that in the case of reunification of North and South Korea, the US would probably leave the peninsula all together as the only reason they are there is to protect the South Koreans from any aggressive behaviour from the North.
Since 1996 when the North Koreans announced it will no longer abide by the armistice that ended the Korean War, and sends thousands of troops into the demilitarised zone. They have been aggressively pushing South Korea. Sinking warships, creating cross border clashes, unilaterally developing nuclear weapons. This is not mentioning the 4 tunnels discovered between 1974 and 1990 under the DMZ originating from North Korea.
08 Jan 2016 1:48:02pm
> the US [..] the only reason they are there is to protect the South Koreans
> from any aggressive behaviour from the North.
You can't be that naive to actually believe in that.
Do you really actually think that the US went to *anywhere* *ever* to protect a third party for purely altruistic reasons?
By the way, I happen to have $5,000,000 (FIVE MILLION US DOLLARS) that I've just inherited from my Nigerian minister relative and I'd need your help to get it into the country tax-free, for which you will get one million, so if you'd pass along all your personal and bank details...
08 Jan 2016 11:19:59am
I frequently wonder why we pursue this fiction that imposing sanctions on a 'wayward' country will cause the country to mend its ways. I'm not aware of many situations where this has been the case. In the case of North Korea, they've been living with sanctions for decades yet they have only become more extreme. Russia has also laughed in the face of sanctions. Iraq survived under sanctions for a decade before Saddam Hussein was ousted and it most likely would have survived for decades longer had George W. Bush not invaded.
Its almost as if sanctions are the default response of the international community when something has to be done but nobody is sure what that something can be.
Why don't we try something different with North Korea. Lets start being nice to them. Engage them in dialogue. Don't preach human rights, just offer them help. Drop the international sanctions and start trading with them. I reckon such an approach would have a far more positive effect than the decades of stand-off that we've pursued until now.
One thing for certain, the North Korean government wouldn't know which way to turn. The rhetoric about the outside world would fall flat. Kim Jong-un would need to find a different tact by which to hold onto his leadership. Building nuclear weapons would seem wrong when your supposed enemies are busy giving you aid and making your nation better.
08 Jan 2016 12:01:00pm
Lilly the last person who proposed "If your enemies are hungry, feed them. If they are thirsty, give them something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals of shame on their heads." got himself crucified/executed.
Your suggestion is truly radical and based on sound premises. It is very hard to love someone you hate and be generous to them. The first imperative is to refuse to hate, never seek revenge and try and live in peace with your 'enemies'.
I have often thought that if truck loads of food/necessities lined up at the North Korean border and just waited to be delivered - and somehow this was made public to the North Korean people then an internal time-bomb would begin to tick. It is very true if you are generous in spirit to those who would seek to destroy you they are humbled.
However the mindset of certain nations is opposed to these radical thoughts and you are correct - almost everything done in the last scores of years has resulted in unmitigated disasters - and that could still happen in North Korea - Hitler for example would prefer Germany to be completely destroyed before he would surrender unconditionally. Like Assad the leaders of North Korea would have to be guaranteed immunity and lifelong protection elsewhere before they would begin to yield even one centimeter.
08 Jan 2016 12:03:24pm
Apparently our ban on visiting sports teams brought South Africa to its knees.
And you did not mention the tremendous success sanctions had in what used to be Rhodesia. That horror regime which exported food and had a booming economy was soon replaced by the benevolent ruler who still manages a racist government that is the wonder of the world.
It seems that sanctions only work on regimes who actually give a toss about their citizens: ie Western societies.
The rest just laugh at them while they enjoy a luxury lifestyle. Who cares about the peasants?
Of course, imposing sanctions does make it look as though you are doing something. And then you can complain that the poor are suffering while refusing to do anything else. A win-win situation for "progressives" who refuse to accept that sometimes force is necessary to stop evil.
08 Jan 2016 12:14:09pm
Well said. The best way to get rid of an enemy is to make them your friend.
Your comment is a refreshing change from all the hyperbole.
08 Jan 2016 12:48:26pm
Just one other point.
What would we trade with North Korea? The kingdom has nothing we want.
We already deliver food and other necessities for free, and we are always ready to discuss things. The North Koreans always promise to stop developing weapons, we send aid in return, they keep developing weapons so we have more talks about giving aid in return for more promises that will never be kept.
At some point we must realise all this talking and making deals is absolutely worthless. In fact it is counterproductive: the more North Korea develops weapons, the more it can extort.
08 Jan 2016 2:45:00pm
In the case of North Korea, we have a personality cult centred around Kim Jong-un. Kim Jong-un is very keen on staying in power and, judging by the article, much of the sabre rattling he engages in is aimed at doing just that. Assistance must therefore be aimed at enabling him to retain his position in the absence of his arch enemy - the west - and present himself as the hero who saved his people. If we try to topple him, he will simply become aggressive and our efforts will fail.
Therefore, assistance should come in the form of negotiations where we purposely let North Korea gain the upper hand. This will enable Kim Jong-un to return home and say to his people that he negotiated with the west and stuck one on them. The outcome of these lopsided negotiations should be that we supply equipment which aids the ordinary people. That is, farming machinery, solar panels for electricity production, sustainable methods of heating, building materials etc...
By providing North Korea with the means to increase their production, they will eventually get to the point where they will have something to trade. When this happens, I have no doubt that Kim Jong-un will be only to keen to start trading to show the world that his country has arrived. Once he is at that point, he will then have something to lose. It is here that we start slowly (and slowly is the keyword) changing the outcomes of negotiations to achieve the aims that we desire.
The most important aspect is that we would be letting Kim Jong-un pull his own strings. We simply would provide him with the incentive to pull the right ones.
08 Jan 2016 3:36:26pm
The North Korean economy is already broken: why would we send solar panels and "sustainable methods of heating"?
Unless we want to restrict their research to sunny days.
And could you explain what is different to your suggestion and the current system, which has plainly failed, of appeasement.
08 Jan 2016 11:22:10am
Rather drop Animal Farm (George Orwell) to the population of North Korea. This is so typical of such regimes.
08 Jan 2016 11:23:11am
As George Orwell said in 1984"war is peace". If the North Korean populace are made to feel they are in a standoff with the US, Japan and South Korea then it unites them behind their dishonest leadership and its efforts to strengthen its military.
Years ago watching a correspondents report of a visit to a North Korean household, the power in the flat went out. The flat owner cursed the Americans under his breath.
08 Jan 2016 11:28:01am
Kim Jong-Un is just following the lead of his father and grandfather who were just as nutty as he is.
These sorts of threats have been going on for fifty years or more and nothing much has ever come of them but that does not mean that one day this bozo will flip and press the war button.
At that stage it would be interesting to see if his Generals, his armies and his subjects will do what he says or if they will take him down.
Self preservation is a great incentive.
08 Jan 2016 1:08:08pm
I don't think Kim Jong-un actually has any real power and is just a figurehead and a puppet for those holding the readl power. He's nothing like his father let alone his grandfather.
08 Jan 2016 11:35:21am
I do understand that the leaders of North Korea and their security apparatus have been astonishingly successful over the last decades in hiding the rest of the world from the majority of their people. I also understand that their cruel regime has managed to inculcate a culture of fear and betrayal - much like the Stasi did in East Germany - to keep the population in dread and obedience.
But surely there will come a time soon when enough of the population knows enough about the real outside world such that they will simply not put up with the lies any more. Surely the sheer weight of information available online will eventually seep through and there will be a rebellion - or two or three.
And that is when I for one will be wary - this family and their cronies have been in power since 1948 and they will not just flee for the nearest neutral country when the end looks like coming. They are as deluded as the people are, also living in a lie and in the end they might well decide to out with a 'glorious' bang.
08 Jan 2016 11:49:43am
More Sabre rattling from the freak show that is The North Korean dynasty . As usual it will hang around for a bit , plenty of anti Western rhetoric , all the while in the background the diplomats will be striking another deal to provide food aid etc to keep them under control. The people get fed , the dictator and his mob look strong and hey they are providing food too so they still have control and all goes along nicely, unless of course you are someone who has dsipleased the regime , then there is nothing nice ever
08 Jan 2016 11:59:45am
What male does not want fireworks with big bangs and sparkles for his birthday? He makes a bigger bang than most to show off his masculine prowess making it clear to the 'adult bully boys' running western governments that is just as much of a bully as they are with the 'stuff' to back him up. Bullies don't like being bullied, and its about time both sides pulled their heads in. Sanctions just make the poor suffer. The rulers use the sanctions to demonise those countries imposing the, and blaming them for their citizens woes. Negotiations need to start from an even playing field, not with threats of destabilization and starvation.
08 Jan 2016 12:14:36pm
No matter how evil some of the middle east dictators are or were there is little doubt that women were far better off than under the regimes that replaced the dictators.
In Iraq and Iran pre the Islamic state women were educated and enjoyed the sort of freedom the present and coming generations will not even dare to dream of.
Call me racist or whatever you like but do some research on life in the middle east before the Islamic states replaced any of the previous regimes.
As for Islam not supporting terrorism tell that to the thousands already butchered by perpetrators who profess to be acting in Allah's name - and tell me how you can tell a fanatic from a devout believer ?
08 Jan 2016 12:38:19pm
It would be interesting to see how North Korea would react if the USA, Japan and South Korea all stopped playing "Let's pretend to invade North Korea" right along their coastline.
08 Jan 2016 12:39:13pm
:For evil to triumph, all it requires if for good people to do nothing:
With a regime such as this for humanitarian not political reasons, it should be taken down. To do nothing is tacit approval and with the capabilities of western nations, sanctions such as they are, are effectively nothing.
08 Jan 2016 1:00:59pm
Like any other nation on this planet, NK has EVERY right to develop the SAME weapons as it's enemies.
And NK has many enemies, as highlighted BY the sanctions placed on them.
This sanctimonious rubbish that "we" are somehow "better" than others and more capable of "managing" nuclear weaponry is simply arrogant, chest beating, cognitive dissonance.
Israel has invaded EVERY one of it's neighbours, has NOT signed the NNPT and DOES have nuclear weapons. Yet there have been NO sanctions placed on them but massive sanctions placed on Iran for it's (self-purported) "peaceful" nuclear program.
The hypocrisy has been deafening.
08 Jan 2016 1:14:51pm
Our species, is the most duplicitous and selfish on the planet.
Everyone of us is programmed to try and succeed (or should be), however at either end are either totally monstrous psychopaths, or acquiescent naive sheep.
There will never be a balance. The only balance can be the more intelligent of the species juggling the sides and hopefully being as fair as they are able.
What we have to face with North Korea, is a clear and present danger to the world community.
It may come down to invading.
There may be no choice but to go in; disarm them and try to council and debrief the population.
08 Jan 2016 1:29:31pm
Succinct and colourfully-written analysis.
08 Jan 2016 1:44:39pm
"... any offensive use of [a nuke] would result in the immediate retaliatory destruction of the entire North Korean state."
Therein lies the moral dilemma. Although a small cadre of NK nutters might press the button they are guaranteed to be the ones in the bunkers when the retaliatory strikes occur. It is the subjugated people, the ones who already suffer due to the regime, who would pay the ultimate price.
So retaliatory strikes may be in order but they should be designed to destroy "the NK State" but not the NK people.
08 Jan 2016 4:03:44pm
Should Pyongyang launch a nuclear attack, supposing they actually have the capability, I doubt they would suffer a retaliatory strike in kind. Too close to China, Japan, Russia, and, of course, South Korea, whom the US is meant to be protecting.
Still, launching a conventional war would face the question of whether or not North Korea had more such weapons, as the initial attack would indicate a willingness to employ them against any invading forces.
That might see a nuclear response, and even NK's neighbours might leave their response to it being a regretable necessity.
The goal remains an end to the bifurcation of the Korea penninsula, but it's China that needs to do the work to see that happen. They find having a mad dog on a long leash convenient, it seems, but may change their mind when it finally decides to bite.
08 Jan 2016 2:03:17pm
Weak writing for an academic of the author's credentials. And mostly expository, excluding the passive bet-hedging constructions like "While there have been some moves, from time to time, towards easing such sanctions, delays in the progress of talks has regularly resulted in North Korea engaging in a military provocation," which is, I have to say, a Jackson Pollock with words. I'm disappointed the author couldn't summon more of his expertise and conviction.
C'mon ABC, do better.
frank of malvern:
08 Jan 2016 2:31:04pm
General Douglas MacArthur wanted to use nuclear weapons against the North believing it the only way to defeat them. Then President Harry Truman thought not such a great idea at the time hot on the heals of the Japanese atomic attack and the General got the sack
While potentially hundreds of thousands would have died at the time in hindsight it would have been just a fraction of the millions who have died since under the brutal communist North Korean regime while others live just a miserable existence of extreme poverty,starvation and repression in total contrast to those in the South.
And imagine what a democratic united Korea would be like today, an absolute economic powerhouse with one of the highest standards of living in Asia if not the world
Son of Zaky:
08 Jan 2016 2:33:03pm
My congratulations to Damien Kingsbury for achieving the near-impossible.
At time of writing this, the words Shorten, Abbott, Turnbull, Briggs, Dutton, Labor, Liberals and Greens have all yet to make an appearance (obviously I've buggered that by mentioning them here, but leaving that aside...) in the comments.
Well done sir.
More articles about North Korea please.
08 Jan 2016 2:50:16pm
I do find the behaviours and responses of most world leaders to the idiotic N-Korea rather school-yard like. So S-Korea is going to erect 2 giant loud speakers right at the border to annoy the living daylights out of N-Korea. Balloons carrying propaganda leaflets were sent across border to tell the N-Koreans what they already know about their idiotic leaders. Then a few cannons loped across from each side. Then it sparked a round of talks which resulted in nothing concrete.
N-Korea is like a caged animal. It is surrounded on all sides. People threw rocks , cans, bottles at it, hurled abuses at it, and it can only respond in a more predictable way. It becomes more aggressive, and it firmly believes, ever increasingly so, that everyone and everything is against it.
The on-off talks, sometimes resulted in more aid to N-Korea, will serve nothing. One sure thing is more and stricter sanctions against its population. Now if you are a propagandist, that is exactly what you want. You want the population to get pissed off, to suffer, then you can tell them that everyone outside that cage is against them. That their sufferings are contributed by the outside world.
Exploding a bomb is like "pulling a rabbit out of a hat" trick by the N-Korean leaders. They are telling the population that as much as the outside world hated us so very much, we are the real deal to confront them. We have a new rabbit trick to defend you. That re-enforces the paranoid of those who believe in the propaganda.
Does that remind you of the constant terrorist warnings and security upgrades we are facing now? It is about fears, and by sowing the seed of fears into the population, the leaders have us by the testicles, and twist them occasionally just to remind us that they are still in charge.
08 Jan 2016 3:02:30pm
As long as the world allows the US, together with some of its less enlightened allies, to use isolation as a way of interacting with countries the US does not like, there will be dictators like Kim Jong-Un surviving and exposing the world to risk. This punitive approach did not work with Cuba or Venezuela. The US approach has also created a terrible mess and the unnecessary loss of millions of lives in Iraq, Syria, Vietnam, Libya and the Ukraine. It is much more effective to encourage contact between countries because this will break down the suspicion that is used by dictators to stay in power. But it seems the US and allies prefer the punitive and ineffective approach. This only leaves resentment and makes the world a much less safer place.
08 Jan 2016 3:13:11pm
Perhaps we should be more worried about NK providing such weaponry to others to do their dirty work for them.
08 Jan 2016 3:23:36pm
North Korea might do some occasional sabre rattling but to my knowledge it hasn't invaded any other countries as we and the US and the UK have. It hasn't involved itself in any foreign wars or launched any attacks on other peoples as we, the US, the UK and a number of other countries have since the end of the Korean War in 1951. It hasn't tested nuclear weapons outside its own borders as other countries have. I think it's high the we, US and its allies stopped running around pointing accusing fingers at other countries when our own house is out of order.
08 Jan 2016 4:24:34pm
North Korea has kidnapped Japanese, attacked South Koreans often, fired missiles into international waters, threatened all its neighbours etc etc. It has probably (almost certainly) been engaged in smuggling, drug distribution and industrial espionage. Its ships carry arms and drugs around the world.
It murders and starves its own people and has the whole region constantly on edge, prompting increases in defence spending and the risk of war.
Yet you worry about the USA, UK and Australia.
08 Jan 2016 3:26:49pm
If it wasn't for China intervening in the Korean war, there would not be a north Korea today. UN forces were at the Chinese border at the Yalu river and the north was all but defeated. China thought that too close for comfort and attacked, leaving us with a divided Korea. So thank you China!
08 Jan 2016 3:28:19pm
It always surprises me that our environmental problems are not caused in any way by the accumulation of nuclear activities over the past sixty years.
08 Jan 2016 3:48:01pm
Even if the people of North Korea are brain washed, surely the ruling factions are aware of their real position in the world and use this miltary posturing for the sake of subjugating their own people and are not really likely to attack us.
We should fear a lot more from China. Despite much better claims from Vietnam, Indonesia, Philippines and Brunei having maintained a presence in the South China Sea for centuries, China only aggressively moved in wholesale when oil was discovered there claiming everything up to those country's shorelines.
They also claim ownership of Tibet. I would have though Tibet should belong to the Tibetans.
I also suspect China or Chinese speaking people in Asia are also the source of some of those ransomware trojans getting around because of the gramatical errors in their ransom demands. People of middle eastern or European languages don't make those kind of mistakes. I bet Chinese law enforcement is not doing much to find out either.
North Korea doesn't even have the internet so I doubt it's them.
What I think:
08 Jan 2016 4:23:23pm
Why is North Korea called a communist country. Surely it is a dynastic dictatorship or a military dictatorship, isn't it. Why would any self-respecting Communist country want to be associated with this place? Do Communist nations pass the leadership down a family line of one family? That doesn't sound like 'all for one and one for all'. It sounds like all for those at the top and none for anyone else. Why is China supporting this corrupt regime? What is in it for China, except embarrassment by association?
08 Jan 2016 4:34:21pm
Nuclear weapons were first developped and used by a so called democratic and well meaning nation. Not by a rouge nation. Also there are other nations who are not signatories to the disarmament convention but continue have and develop nuclear weapons
Comments for this story are closed.
Source : http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-01-08/kingsbury-kim-jong-un-is-riding-a-tiger-he-cant-dismount/7075830