Tuesday, February 12, 2013

north korea

North Korea [sic] has been acting like a petulant child* again:
[North Korea's third nuclear] test drew a crescendo of international condemnation Tuesday, with President Obama calling it a “highly provocative act” that demands “swift and credible action by the international community” against North Korea. 
But it appeared less powerful than the first bomb the United States dropped on Japan, in Hiroshima in 1945, which had an explosive yield of 15 kilotons... 
The nuclear test, [sic] came the same day President Obama is to use his State of the Union address to call for drastically reducing nuclear arms around the world, potentially bringing the number of deployed American weapons to roughly 1,000 from the current 1,700...** 
While the country has only enough plutonium for a half-dozen or so bombs, it can produce enriched uranium well into the future. 
To summarize what's contained in these quotes:
  • North Korea does not have as much destructive power as the U.S. did when, in 1945, it became the first and only country to use the bomb on civilians, killing hundreds of thousands in Hiroshima and Nagasaki. 
  • The U.S. has 1700 nuclear weapons. 
  • North Korea has "only enough plutonium for a half-dozen or so bombs." 
  • Obama is very concerned about North Korea's "provocative" test. Yes, provocative.

I don't care to compare the moral character of the parties in question, the assnipples who run North Korea and the ones who run the U.S. I don't take the fact that North Korea's destructive power is significantly less than the U.S.'s as a testament to their "restraint" or some such nonsense. I'd be shocked if Mr. Kim didn't "want" to "take over the world," if he wouldn't jump at the chance to make Korea the next great world empire and himself the next great emperor, to become what the U.S. already is by using the means the U.S. has already employed -- the piling up of millions of corpses. We're talking about two groups of people that have shown repeatedly through their actions that they are committed to levels of violence that would get non-state actors diagnosed, rightly, as sociopaths. So it is not an ethical claim but a very basic observation requiring less cognitive ability than is necessary to understand a baseball box score that the U.S. is currently a greater threat, by orders of ridiculous magnitude, to human life than is North Korea.  This is hidden in plain sight right in the article and yet very few boxscore understanding NYT readers will notice. Instead, they'll talk about the North Korean threat, and they'll talk about it some more, and some more and maybe someone will mention that "we" should think about scaling back our well-intentioned capacity to murder everyone on the planet 1000 times over because, hey guys, isn't 700 times enough?, and then no one will even do that much, and yes, (in addition to killing them with sanctions) what are we gunna do about the North Korean threat?

*e.g., the tone of the entire piece, naturally, but more obviously, "Pyongyang has often lashed out when it felt ignored." OK, maybe North Korea is a petulant tiger.
**The U.S.'s massive arsenal is depicted as shrinking. Now that's how you do propaganda. 

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