It’s at times like these that politicians are truly at their most amusing. Internationally, they love to squabble among themselves, hold heated debates within the safety of the United Nations, and appear to us lowly masses as important and all-powerful beings.
Suddenly, along comes a scruffy, half-beat, little nation like North Korea. It sticks its index finger skywards – roughly in the direction of Washington DC – and politicians everywhere huff and puff like old foxes attempting to blow Kim Jong-il’s house down.
The whole world knows they’re wasting their time.
Since North Korea tested another nuclear device this week, the corridors of the UN have been buzzing with little men (and a few little women) all scurrying about like frightened rabbits seeking the shelter of their burrows and not being able to find the right hole.
They’d like us to believe they’re in control. They’d have us think Kim Jong-il’s shaking in his boots at the prospect of imminent punishment, for daring to play with the oversized chemistry set his western masters had barred him ever from touching again.
The truth, as always with politicians, is somewhat different.
North Korea is pretty much impregnable. Any land invasion would result in huge western casualties, inflicted by the communist state’s million strong military ready and willing to commit mass suicide for ‘Dear Leader’. Aerial assault is unacceptable, even to the United States, due to the massive civilian casualties that would result.
So the politicians huff and puff, pretend they’re all-powerful, and hope Kim Jong-il will conveniently die before the world realizes just how efficiently he’s making them look utterly stupid.
Susan Rice, America’s Ambassador to the United Nation, told CBS that North Korea will “pay a price for their action.”
[These were ]……clearly provocative and destabilizing actions which threaten international peace and security. North Korea needs to understand that its actions have consequences. The pressure will increase on North Korea, economically and otherwise, and North Korea will realize that its actions have only left it further isolated and further debilitated.”
In response, to demonstrate how scared he was, Kim Jong-il fired two short-range missiles.
Up yours, Ambassador Rice.
The long-term problem doesn’t rest with North Korea, but with the West in general, and the US in particular. While Congress and the American media constantly blame Pyongyang for the failure of diplomatic talks, America’s high-handed, arrogant, attitude towards North Korea is undoubtedly a major part of the problem.
Kim Jong-il is a little guy with a big ego and he doesn’t like being pushed around and made to feel second-rate. It may be fine for the US to treat European politicians that way, after all, they rely on the US for their defense umbrella, but Pyongyang expects a level playing field in talks with the rest of the world, but doesn’t get it.
Until it does, international politicians will continue to have days where they rush around the UN pretending to look very fierce, while desperately seeking out a suitable rabbit hole.
 “North Korea ‘will pay’ over tests” BBC, May 26th, 2009
Filed under: Posturing Pyongyang