Okay, so everyone and his brother has got their panties in a knot because the man-child, Kim Jong-Un and the Ol’ Pussy Grabber are engaging in their masterful display of international diplomacy and negotiation during this last week. It would be funny, but there are nukes involved, and, let’s face, it is all bluffy and blustery fun until one of them sets off a nuke.
I’ve written about North Korea here on Ye Olde Blogge before, many people have posted their thoughts on respected and not-so-respected websites, news outlets, blogs, Facebook, and Twitter. So, like what’s the deal, are we going to have a nuclear war or not, already? What can I add to the discussion that hasn’t already been said before?
Examining the goals and motivations of each party as represented by their esteemed leaders, I think helps us unravel this particular randomly assembled Gordian’s knot.
An Unhealthy Obsession with NUKES
Does anyone remember a report alleging the Ol’ Pussy Grabber asked a “foreign policy expert,” Why can’t we use nuclear weapons? three times? Supposedly, he said it during the campaign, but the truth of the matter is not clear. He denied saying it, so that’s about as good a confession as you’ll ever have. However, the Ol’ Pussy Grabber did appear on a “town hall” with MSNBC‘s Chris Matthew and let these pearls of wisdom drip from his hole:
- “Look, nuclear should be off the table, but would there be a time that it could be used? Possibly.”
- “Then why are we are making them? Why do we make them?” (Meaning, nuclear weapons and asking why do we have them if we won’t use them.)
- “No! I don’t think so. But…” (Meaning he didn’t think he would use them in Europe, but maybe.)
Well, he seems rational and stable, but, also, seems to have a fascination with using nuclear weapons. He knows nothing about them, but knows that they are powerful. Our good Ol’ Pussy Grabber is nothing if he isn’t obsessed with hiding his own weaknesses from the world. What else is a caricature of a human being going to do but prop up his image?
We all know how the master negotiator thinks that being all unpredictable like Vector on Despicable Me is a masterful negotiating tactic, so will he or won’t he nuke NK? He does his own hair, according to his butler, so we can’t ask his hair dresser.
Kim Jong-Un and NK
And that is precisely why this situation is so precarious. It is a mistake to believe that the North Korean leadership is (a) solely in the hands of the Kim dynastic ruler du jour (in my lifetime there have been three); (b) irrational, crazy, or megalomaniacal; or (c) desperate or stupid.
Kim Jong-Un is a young man relatively new to his position and relatively unknown to his generals and other politicians in the party. He relies on their support to maintain his position. He has ruthlessly eliminated rivals and perceived threats to be sure, but if the military and party politicians didn’t think he could do the job, he wouldn’t be there.
All politics is local. A lot of their nuclear ambitions is for playing to the the military and party. They know that the could not defeat the United States or even South Korea in a war. As I stated in my first article on North Korea, they don’t have the population, they don’t have the supplies, they don’t have the technology. They are painfully aware of this. As long as they believe that the US is resolved to guarantee the sovereignty of South Korea and Japan, they are not going to attack them.
North Korea has a very poor economy and a precarious agricultural sector, but the leadership does not feel the pressure from the average person. They savagely suppress their population. Do not believe for a moment that they feel the need to distract their population from their troubles or take the needs of the populace, economy, or agriculture into consideration. They had been interested in extracting concessions and aide from the West in the past, but they seem to be beyond that now. Perhaps, they will return to it, but it won’t be soon. Concessions led to the agreement with Clinton to limit their nuclear program which they promptly broke. They aren’t going back to that.
Actual military aggression poses an existential threat to the North Korean regime. It does not pose such a threat to the United States, China, Japan, or even South Korea. Military aggression is tantamount to suicide for them. They are not about to enter into it, unless…
As I’ve written before, suicide is a significant thread in Korean culture. If they feel there are no other good options for them, they will try to cause as much damage as possible before the end. It is a twisted form of pride and nationalism. They will not go quietly into the night.
So, if they take the Ol’ Pussy Grabber at his word and believe that we are about to attack, they will go first. In part, this is so they can use their weapons. They have a ton of artillery sitting on the DMZ pointing at Seoul. If we attack them, taking out that artillery is our first goal. They won’t let that happen.
Nuking NK as Solution to Political Problems
All politics is local. So, the Ol’ Pussy Grabber isn’t going to attack them because he woke up with gas that morning. He might because he is a thin-skinned narcissist who can’t stand to believe that there is someone in this world who doesn’t take him seriously (no one takes him seriously; everyone thinks of him as a buffoon), and he feeling the need to prove himself, he nukes North Korea. Luckily, he’s installed enough generals around him to help temper such impulses. God knows, he has no ability to control his emotions or impulses.
Mueller is getting close to the Ol’ Pussy Grabber’s wallet. He’s never felt the pressure and close examination that occupying the White House and being under investigation by a special counsel brings. This is all new to him, and, quite frankly, it’s causing his already fragile self to unravel just a bit more than it normally is. Nuking someone could be just the solution he needs…
That said, the 2018 elections are coming up, and no matter what Five Thirty-Eight says, if he feels he needs a distraction and a boost in the polls — or he can no longer defend himself from poor poll numbers with soothing lies about fake news and aggrandizing briefing books of praise — then, he would be sorely tempted to use his nukes. After all, why else do we make them if not to use them?
The One Saving Grace
The onliest thing that gives me any hint of hope in the on-going fiasco of the Ol’ Pussy Grabber’s national nightmare is that he does not understand the chain of command. He seems to think that if he tweets it, it is done. Witness the lost aircraft carrier group last spring. He tweeted that he was moving the USS Carl Vinson to the waters of Korea, so people started looking for it there. But, it wasn’t. It was participating in maneuvers with the Australian navy. He tweeted that he banned transgender military personnel. His military commanders said that the current policy won’t change until and unless they get proper orders.
We should not fear North Korea. They know the stakes and have been playing this game a long long time. We should fear the Ol’ Pussy Grabber who has proven himself to be irrational, erratic, and caricature of a human being. He is not to be trusted or relied upon.