October 11, 2006

ISN'T FIFTY YEARS OF COMPLICITY ENOUGH?:

Inside the Hermit Kingdom (MARTIN REGG COHN, 10/11/06, TORONTO STAR)

Emerging from your cloistered hotel — almost always in the company of government minders — the first thing that strikes you about North Korea is the silence.

The world may be in a frenzy about the Axis of Evil, but morning rush hour in Pyongyang is a strangely subdued affair. With virtually no cars on the road, and only a handful of dilapidated trams lumbering down the creaky tracks, the enduring sound in this capital of 3 million people is that of shuffling feet.

Columns of commuters walk to work, avoiding all eye contact, staring intently at their shoes. Cocooned in a time capsule that has managed to produce a nuclear bomb.

By night, the lights are extinguished in most apartment blocks because of power shortages, transforming Pyongyang into a ghost town.

The eerie quiet is punctuated by the crowing of roosters kept on as emergency rations by hungry tenants.

Traffic lights grace every intersection, but without electricity they are useless.

Public buildings go unheated in winter, forcing students and hospital patients to bundle up in long underwear and overcoats.

Trying to penetrate Pyongyang's silence is as difficult as unravelling its nuclear machinations. After three trips into the Hermit Kingdom as a correspondent for the Toronto Star, I confess to being little the wiser about people's inner thoughts.


President Bush has been handed a perfect opportunity here, as the politically expedient course, an October Surprise, coincides with the morally necessary course, regime change.

Posted by Orrin Judd at October 11, 2006 8:34 AM
Comments

I like the guy OJ, but he doesn't have the guts.

Posted by: Bruno at October 11, 2006 9:30 AM

{moonbat chip=ON} We must bring our boys and girls home from South Korea now. We should be toasting the North's success. We must also end our destructive policies toward the wonderful North Korean people. We are killing them! We must stop. We have enough of their blood on our hands. It's about people folks. We must respect them and let them live in peace. {moonbat chip=OFF}

Posted by: Dave W at October 11, 2006 10:22 AM

Not until we pump every last drop of oil....

Posted by: oj at October 11, 2006 10:31 AM

Like OJ's Ike-shoulda-nuked-Moscow daydream, it's glib but short on follow-through. So we bomb a bunch of NorK bunkers, hopefully decapitating the regime, thousands of artillery pieces fire at least a few shells each into Seoul, numerous NorK agents in the South commit a bunch of sabotage, and then what? Everyone north of the border suddenly lays down arms and become democrats?

I'm all for getting rid of the Dear Leader, but it hard to imagine that regime change will be quick, simple or easy. And attacking them now would be a huge gift to the Democrats.

Posted by: PapayaSF at October 12, 2006 2:08 AM

I'm all for getting rid of the Dear Leader, but it hard to imagine that regime change will be quick, simple or easy. And attacking them now would be a huge gift to the Democrats.

Papaya, old pal, I can't think of a sentence that justifies all of Orrin's efforts and explains why the West is in big trouble better than that one.

Posted by: Peter B at October 12, 2006 6:44 AM

More cheery thoughts.

Posted by: Peter B at October 12, 2006 6:50 AM

Thanks Peter. Please convey my gratitude to Andrew for the cheery thoughts.

Posted by: Dave W at October 12, 2006 7:30 AM

They're already democrats--they're human beings just like you. It's contempt for the "other" that makes elite Westerners think our follow through matters one whit.

Posted by: oj at October 12, 2006 7:54 AM

Uh oh. Looks like the Boss is up to his old tricks again, declaring victory before the war has even started.

Posted by: Peter B at October 12, 2006 8:27 AM

The war has been going on for decades, we've just not minded as long as all the casualties were Korean.

Posted by: oj at October 12, 2006 8:34 AM

Recognizing a difficult problem is not the same thing as "contempt for the 'other.'" Yes, it's too bad we've waited so long, follow-through matters because the task is going to be messy and complex. Glib moralizing is no substitute for a workable plan.

Posted by: PapayaSF at October 12, 2006 11:31 AM

No cars, only a few delapidated trains. How are they making out with wheelbarrowss?

Posted by: Lou Gots at October 12, 2006 12:07 PM

workable plans caused the problems--they're typical of intellectuals.

Posted by: oj at October 12, 2006 12:23 PM

No, unworkable plans are typical of intellectuals. But a moral stance isn't a warplan.

Posted by: PapayaSF at October 12, 2006 9:13 PM

Bingo, that's what makes you a rationalist. All plans are unworkable. Just get the moral stance right and the rest takes care of itself.

Posted by: oj at October 12, 2006 9:25 PM
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