SMOLDERING GLASS

Posted in Quick Hits on March 13th, 2013 by Ed

Occasionally I have thoughts that qualify me as a terrible person, yet usually I am wise enough not to put them in writing. Today is not one of those times.

Just to remind veteran readers and inform new ones, there is no one more stridently opposed to American militarism than I am. With the possible exception of that old hippie lady at your farmer's market who sells bell peppers as a cover for her massive marijuana grow operation and who only wears things emblazoned with the peace sign. I have about two years' worth of posts pre-, during, and post-Iraq War about what a monumentally bad idea the whole endeavor was, and I like defense spending as much as the average Cardinal likes getting phone calls from attorneys representing a former altar boy from the 1970s.

That said, can we just blow up North Korea already? Please? I know. I know I'm a terrible person. If it makes it any better, I have no overarching political, strategic, or ideological motivation. They're really annoying and I just want them to go away.

For the past 15 years (since the nation recovered just enough from its 1994 famine to entertain pretensions of a nuclear program) the United States, Japan, China, South Korea, and other nations have devoted billions of dollars, man-hours, and intellectual resources to the saber-rattling of a country so backward that Mongolians make fun of their infrastructure. It would be something to take quite seriously from a country that is not a living punchline – Russia, for example. It is not something that is worth taking seriously from a country whose vaunted military boasts the very latest in domestically-produced knockoffs of 1950s Soviet military technology. It's as if a child dressed up as an adult, walked into a board meeting, and started barking out orders. You'd do little more than giggle at this; how annoyed would you be if everyone else in the room decided to take the toddler seriously?

Nuclear weapons or not, that analogy holds. They don't even have enough fuel to get their Korean War-era MiG-19s off the ground. Why would anyone take them seriously? Can somebody please just say, "OK, let's go!" the next time they threaten war? It will be over in about 12 hours. Really. Not a Rumsfeld 12 hours. The U.S., South Korea, Japan, or any number of other nations could turn that entire backward, malnourished, fuel-starved piss hole of a country into a flat field of smoldering glass in less than a day.

If they are a legitimate threat, end it. If they're not, let's stop wasting time and money in the DMZ pretending that some sort of military balance exists between one of the world's largest, fastest-growing industrialized economies and country that doesn't have electricity.

I don't hate you, North Korea. I'm just bored with you. You're not even an entertaining version. You're like a mosquito – not significant enough to present any actual danger, but just consequential enough to be consistently annoying. Neighboring countries have to be pretty sick of playing this game by now, wherein every time the Great Leader needs to solidify his power base the world's militaries have to respond to the tune of a few billion dollars. Petulant children are only cute for a minute or two.

And that is me being a terrible person.