Sunday, March 31, 2013

"...There's Un In Every Crowd..."

Along with all its other allures, pop music has a wonderful way of being available to writers who, from time to time, like to use well known songs to illustrate contemporary circumstances.

I'm a big fan, and user, of that application.

In that spirit, Joni Mitchell fans, please stand by.

Seoul, South Korea (CNN) -- North Korea's threatening rhetoric has reached a fever pitch, but the Pentagon and the South Korean government have said it's nothing new.

"We have no indications at this point that it's anything more than warmongering rhetoric," a senior Washington Defense official said late Friday.
The official was not authorized to speak to the media and asked not to be named.
The National Security Council, which advises the U.S. president on matters of war, struck a similar cord. Washington finds North Korea's statements "unconstructive," and it does take the threats seriously.
"But, we would also note that North Korea has a long history of bellicose rhetoric and threats, and today's announcement follows that familiar pattern," said Caitlin Hayden, a spokeswoman for the security council.
The United States will continue to update its capabilities against any military threat from the North, which includes plans to deploy missile defense systems.
Pyongyang's propaganda machine flung new insults at the United States on Saturday.
It compared the U.S. mainland with a "boiled pumpkin," unable to endure an attack from a foreign foe, the state-run Korean Central News Agency reported.
North Korea, on the other hand, could sustain an offensive from the outside, the report said. It claimed the government had built shelters around the country "against any enemy nuclear and chemical weapons attack."
The rhetoric and military show of force by the North have heated up in the face of annual joint military exercise between South Korean and U.S. forces called Foal Eagle.
The routine maneuvers are carried out in accordance with the armistice that put an end to armed hostilities in 1953. There was no peace treaty to officially end the war.
The North Korean government declared the armistice invalid on March 11, 10 days after Foal Eagle began. It is something Pyongyang has done before during heightened tensions.
In an added slap, North Korea has declared that it had entered a "state of war" with neighboring South Korea, according to a report Saturday from the state-run Korean Central News Agency.
"The condition, which was neither war nor peace, has ended," North Korea's government said in a special statement carried by KCNA.
Saturday's reports also asserted any conflict "will not be limited to a local war, but develop into an all-out war, a nuclear war."
The statements made the prospect of war contingent upon "a military provocation ... against the DPRK" in sensitive areas on the border between North and South.
I freely admit that I have neither the education nor experience to consider myself credentialed when it comes to assessing a global, sociologial, geopolitical situation.
That said, I think, given what we all pretty much know about the situation, that it's not unreasonable for even a layman like me to be able to offer the following observations:
North Korea is now, has always been and, it's safe to assume, will always be an Asian continental equivalent of the neighborhood bully.
For those of you less versed in world politics than in, say, "A Christmas Story", simply substitute the name " Scut Farkus" whenever and wherever you read the name "Kim Jong Un" and you'll get the primary drift here.
Bullies, by their nature, are predisposed to bluster, bravado, bluff and/or bullshit, not necessarily in that order.
And what gives North Korea a unique advantage in the bully business is that, under ordinary circumstances, a bully would, at one point or another, sooner or later, have to make good on their bluster, bravado, et al or be exposed, to those all around him, as a fraud, fake, phony paper tiger.
Or punch the livin' bejesus out of him, ala Ralphie finally going pre-holiday postal on Scut.
But I got five bucks in my pocket against the five in yours that nobody in North Korea is going to ever step up and cry fraud, let alone start wailin' on Un while one of his generals runs to get momma to break up the bashing.
And the family Un really doesn't much care about what anybody else thinks.
So, the wheel on the bully bus can go round and round / round and round / round and round / for years to come/ years to come/ years to come.
At the same time, though, I think it's, at best, naive and, at worst, foolhearty, to assume that Koocoo Kim won't decide to take a plutonium pot shot at someone or someones before all of this arrives at the end credits.
Because Kim Jong Un seems to have one personality trait that Scut Farkus lacked.
Bat shit craziness.
And, as our most very good friend Forrest, Forrest Gump might offer these days....
"...crazy is as crazy does."
So, notwithstanding full of patriotic pride, bona fide U.S. of A. confidence and/or arrogance, manifesting in the form of tsk, tsk, scoff, scoffing at this leechie nut bag with the bad Leroy Jethro Gibbs haircut, I appreciate that, to all appearances, those in our government who are tasked with taking this kind of silliness seriously are, in fact, taking this silliness seriously.
And keeping their fingers close to whatever button might become necessary should the Un and only let his finger get a little too close to the button he calls his own.
Again, I can't possibly know the who, what, when, where or how that would result from the pushing of either button nor what the ultimate damage and/or loss of life would be.
But, arrogance and tsk, tsking aside, I feel pretty sure that, given the respective stats that North Korea and the United States of America bring to the playing field, there are, at least, a few discussions being held behind closed doors in their locker room on the subject of insuring that rattling is all that Junior is allowed to do with the saber Daddy bequeathed him.
Because should push come to button push, it's a pretty fair bet that Kim Jong Farkus would be shown that he was better off barking, given that biting resulted in his acqusition of far more than he could chew.
And while it's equally naive not to think that someday, somewhere, someone is going to push that button and there will be a mushroom cloud themed fracas, it's also likely that, should it be, oh, say, Un and his posse who draw first, they're going to find themselves, for good or Un, waist deep in the middle of a fun rewrite of a classic Joni Mitchell song.
We took North Korea / turned it into a parking lot.
Ideally, cool and calm trumps crazy even in Korea.
And one can't help but hope that somewhere there in Pyongyang, Un's more lucid peeps are trying to get him to take a break and chillax a little.
Maybe with a viewing of that perennial holiday classic, "A Christmas Story."