Friday, March 30, 2012

North Korea Fires Missiles. Nothing Actually Changes

Reuters reports that North Korea has launched some short range missiles.
Japan has issued orders to shoot down the missiles.
They're short range missiles -- not the long-range ones they'd been talking about, and had been universally warned and roundly criticized about.

I heard about it first on Twitter, at this guy's page.

But this does not change anything. North Korea continues stomping its feet, in order to make sure the Nuclear Summit is about them, and not anyone else. Whether North Korea's new leader Kim Jong-eun was behind this new plan, or whether one of Kim Jong-il's advisers is simply urging a continued, consistent policy, is unclear. However, North Korea remains true to its longtime policy of wild swings in word and deed, as an effort to grab international attention, play allies/rivals against each other, and extract as much aid as possible.

The fact the missiles were short-range, not the long-range ones we'd heard about, was a calculated move, I think. It's another example of North Korea's continuing balancing game of acting out, but staying just enough on THIS side of the pale that they can trick people into thinking it's worth negotiating with them (in exchange for aid!)... and then acting out again to make sure everybody remembers they're crazy and unpredictable, so it's important to pay attention to them and try to engage them! Their irrational behavior is actually very rational, and calculated, and various world polities have been taking the bait like suckers since the cold war.

Two good ways to think of North Korea are Hillary Clinton's hilarious assessment that it's like "An Unruly Teenager" (North Korea's prickly response to her comment is even funnier: I heard Kim Jong-il challenged her to a fight by the swingset at 3:30)

...or that North Korea is basically the geopolitical equivalent of an internet troll, doing whatever it can to get a reaction. We figured this out when North Korea's envoy to the United Nations started shouting "FIRST!" at the opening of the UN's General Assembly meetings.

As everybody who deals with internet trolls and melodramatic teenagers knows, the best way to deal with them is to ignore the histrionics, and maintain the original policy, lest a response be read as reinforcement of the drama-queen strategy.

One of the best pieces of North Korea analysis remains this piece from One Free Korea: "How To Disarm Kim Jong-il (now Kim Jong-eun, of course) Without Bombing Him"

Another one: (original map:)

It's actually not a bad fit.

My blog's licensed under Creative Commons, which means you're allowed to use these troll images... but please give me credit and a link. And if you make one of your own that's really funny, leave a link in the comments below!


Roboseyo said...

Well, I think there are probably more than two "good" ways to think about North Korea.  And one could argue that the options listed here are not that helpful... at least at the moment.  

Roboseyo said...

You're certainly right that there are more than two good ways to think of North Korea... but given that all other strategies have ended with the same results, I'm starting to be convinced my framework might be the most accurate... if you step back and view it from 5000 yards out.

Roboseyo said...

You should do more posts on these political topics.  I disagree with you, but I think you have much keener observations than most K-bloggers.

Roboseyo said...

thank you, Adam. Other than one-off shorties like this one, political posts take a lot of research and thought... that's why they're usually few and far.

Roboseyo said...

I read your post well. I think North Korea won't be changed easily under Kim jong un. Because Kim jong un is the clone of Kim jong il. South Korean have no choice but to live with fear of North Korea's provocations.