How About Adding a North Korea Crisis to the Mix?

February 26th, 2011

By Dan Miller

Things on the peninsula are getting ever more dire, and we know the President won’t act with any urgency.

With much of the rest of the world — Egypt, Iran, Libya, and others — in escalating turmoil and with other potential hot spots getting hotter, events on the Korean peninsula may well be getting less coordinated attention from the Obama administration even than they normally do, and even than they got when the still simmering Korean mess erupted late last year.

More recently, the Obama administration found itself wallowing in bad intelligence and conflicting administration statements as to Egypt. That deficiency continues even as to Libya, the current hot spot de jour; the worldwide economic consequences of the situation there may be very great. As noted here:

No direct condemnation of the Qaddafi regime. No expression of support for the demonstrators. No hint of action on our part — no immediate economic embargo, no threats against any individuals involved in the atrocities, no call for a U.N. Security Council meeting, no sign of possible NATO enforcement of a no-fly zone, no demand that the border be opened for humanitarian aid. Instead, the State Department is trying to “convey a message” to the Libyan government.

This is your State Department at work. Surely there are some in the White House — I think there are some — who are cringing at such an absence of moral clarity on the part of the U.S. government and at such a failure of American leadership. Let’s hope they persuade the president to step forward very soon to overrule the State Department, and to put the United States, in both speech and deed, strongly and unequivocally on the side of decency and freedom.

The dithering must stop; whether it will is unknown and unknowable.

The situation in Pakistan is now heating up with probable consequences greater than potential embarrassment over recent unofficial confirmations that Raymond Allen Davis — for whom Pakistan had refused to honor diplomatic immunity demanded by the United States — “had been working as a CIA security contractor for the U.S. consulate in Lahore.” Further protests in Pakistan have resulted and the already shaky United States-Pakistan alliance seems to be fraying perhaps beyond repair.

Venezuela may become another hot spot before very long. When might the situation in Israel explode into an open and declared war? That situation is continuously exacerbated perhaps beyond redemption by the mixed signals the Obama administration continues to give; that is the only consistency it has shown. Is the “administration simply too incompetent to understand the significance of its actions”?

Now is the time actually to pay attention and to anticipate further unrest in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK or North Korea). The rulers of the DPRK are malign; they are not stupid and seem more adept at seeing out than we are at seeing in. Their slaves don’t know much about the world beyond the borders, but the rulers do. As the situation in the DPRK continues to descend into anarchy, its temporary avoidance will likely require dramatically increased military excitement. While the Obama administration’s fleeting attention to Asia is further diminished by developments elsewhere, it may become too late. Even the glorious mess in Wisconsin might have to get along without further help from the Obama administration.

While continuing to enhance its already firm relationship with Iran, the DPRK continues to experience increasing difficulties, most self-inflicted. Widespread starvation was and remains bad but now there is also rampant hoof and mouth disease, which will lead to even more starvation. It began in Pyongyang, and “a guard post between Pyongyang and Pyongsong is preventing vehicles from entering the capital. … Pyongyang was the first location where the disease broke out”:

As pig farms in Pyongyang run by the party and the Army’s Guard Command were among those affected, the regime was reluctant to admit the outbreak, RFA said. It tried to contain the disease only with pesticides and lime, leading to rapid spread to neighboring provinces such as Hwanghae and Gangwon.

“Koksan in Hwanghae Province is home to many military pig farms,” a North Korean source said. “If the area has been affected the military must have suffered a great deal of damage.” The North in the report said vaccination efforts with a homegrown vaccine made little difference.

However, there are claims that the outbreak is giving North Koreans an opportunity to eat meat. RFA said as soon as a pig was spotted drooling or staggering in Gangwon Province, residents immediately culled it for sale in the market. That caused a drop in pork prices in the province, leading to an influx of buyers from as far afield as South Pyongan Province, it added.

Free North Korea Radio said that on leader Kim Jong-il’s birthday last Thursday, meat from infected cattle and pigs was distributed to residents in Daehongdan, Ryanggang Province. A North Korean defector who was a veterinarian said when livestock contract FMD in North Korea, they are not buried but eaten.

Animal hoof and mouth disease is different from human foot and mouth disease and the diseases are not transmissible from animals to humans or vice versa. However, the responsible viruses may mutate and, in any event, humans can carry highly contagious animal hoof and mouth disease to other animals. For that reason and others, it is necessary to dispose of the animal carcasses in ways likely to minimize spread of the contagion; distributing the meat and other body parts for sale, consumption, and other purposes throughout the country will only accelerate the spread of the disease.

Previously, it had been reported that the boundaries of the area within the capital city of Pyongyang had been redrawn to reduce the area dramatically; that had been attributed to food shortages and to the strain of providing the extra benefits normally given to Pyongyang residents. “About 500,000 people were excluded as Pyongyang citizens who have been relatively well-fed despite chronic food shortages.” The sudden diminution of the miserable “well-being” of the already very poor can have great destabilizing consequences.

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8 Responses to “How About Adding a North Korea Crisis to the Mix?”

  1. larry ennis |

    Much as I hate to admit it, North Korea had slipped to the back of my mind. With the absolutely abysmal performance of this President and his State Department, its difficult to fathom the true condition of world events.
    Former Presidential adviser Rohm Emanual often praised the use of a crisis to hide the self serving movements of this administration. However the actions of an arrogant, self centered leader cannot always be easily hidden from view regardless of the crisis. And so it is with increasingly evident actions of this President to circumvent the Constitution and the judicial branch of our government.
    With the help of the media, this administration is using foreign policy matters to mask domestic abuses by this regime . Abuses such as unequal enforcement of the Voting Rights Act and the refusal to enforce the so-called Marriage Act. The Presidents Department Of Justice has refused to prosecute in the former and the President has decreed the latter to be unconstitutional without a full hearing by the courts.
    It makes me wonder about what kind of chicanery is to come if foreign turmoil is great enough to divert our attention even more.

  2. Dan Miller |

    This pretty much says it all.

  3. Dan Miller |

    There is an update here concerning DPRK most recent threats of war. Here’s another update closer to home if one happens to live in North Korea: the beatings executions will continue until morale improves.

    Since December, approximately three million leaflets as well as instant rice, radios, toothpaste, toothbrushes, pens and erasers have been ballooned into the DPRK and they are drawing attention there. Chosun Ilbo reported the executions of two people in the DPRK.

    Some 500 people in North Korea attended a public execution of a man and a woman caught reading South Korean propaganda, an activist claimed Sunday citing sources in the North. Choi Sung-yong, the head of Family Assembly Abducted to North Korea said security services rounded up some 500 people including 50 family members of South Korean prisoners of war and abduction victims and made them watch the execution.

    The victims were a 45-year-old woman accused of reading a South Korean propaganda leaflet and failing to notify authorities and a high-ranking regional military officer charged with pocketing the dollar bills that were sent along with the leaflets.

    Choi said the families of the two were sent to a camp for political prisoners in South Pyongan Province.

    “We have information from a source that North Korean leader Kim Jong-il was going to visit Sariwon in North Hwanghae Province soon, and it looks like authorities there held a public execution to warn the people there off any signs of dissent,” Choi said. “It seems North Korea is stepping up monitoring and crackdowns on people who read or listen to anti-communist propaganda to ensure the hereditary transfer of power” from Kim to his son Jong-un.

    North Korean defectors said anyone who picks up an anti-communist leaflet must notify the authorities on pain of severe punishment. They said North Koreans are taught from a young age that eating South Korean-made cookies causes gut rot while picking up pens or lighters made in the South will make the hands decay.

    It is interesting that a “high-ranking regional military officer” was one of the two executed, suggesting either that he miscalculated grossly or that strenuous efforts are perhaps being made to keep the military loyal to the Kim regime. Pocketing a few dollar bills probably would not, in whatever passes for normal circumstances in the DPRK, be considered a sufficiently serious offense to execute one of the military’s high-ranking own and to send his family packing off to a concentration camp. There have been at least a few other military executions, including “the platoon leader of the border garrison on charges of narcotics smuggling and human trafficking. . . . [and] a noncom officer of the border garrison was executed in January for having aided and abetted the defection of a family.” Their offenses would appear to have been more detrimental to the powers that be than the pocketing of a few dollar bills.

  4. Tom Carter |

    Seems like a lot of stuff going on in North Korea is related to the coming change in power, when the old creep dies and leaves it all to the chubby young general. Of course, South Korea looks like it’s more active in poking them in the ribs, and that probably isn’t helping them maintain order. Order, of course, being preferable to several of the possible alternatives.

    And does the Obama Administration have a coordinated, approved contingency plan consistent with current event on how it will deal with crisis on the Korean Penninsula? Sure they do….

  5. Dan Miller |

    There is much even in the Arab Lands to be sad about. Colonel Qaddafi’s Human Rights prize has probably been awarded for the last time.

    The prize is awarded every year to one of the international personalities, bodies or organizations that have distinctively contributed to rendering an outstanding human service and has achieved great actions in defending Human rights, protecting the causes of freedom and supporting peace everywhere in the world. The Prize categorically believes that freedom is an indivisible natural right for Man; it is not a gift or grace from anybody, and that safeguarding it is a general human responsibility. The prize is inspired by Muammar Qaddafi’s work on behalf of human rights.

    Previous honorees have included “The American Moslem freedom-fighter Louise Farakan,” “Freedom-Fighter President Fidel Castro” and Hugo Chavez of Venezuela.

    It is indeed a shame and a great loss for human rights progress throughout the entire world that there may be no more luminaries so honored. That presumably means that Dear Leader Kim Jong-il of the DPRK and Hu Jintao, the “Paramount Leader” of China, may not be recognized as they so clearly deserve to be. A joint ceremony honoring them might well have brought peace and goodwill to all of Asia.

  6. Tom Carter |

    Why did I never hear about the Qaddafi Prize before? And why hasn’t Osama bin Laden received the Prize? He should file an objection….

    Wikipedia has a list of previous winners.

  7. Dan Miller |

    Tom, according to a writer at VHeadless VHeadlines, the reason you may never have heard much about great humanitarian Qaddafi before is easy to understand.

    It is unfortunate that so many people, particularly in the West, have such limited information (or interest or freedom of knowledge) regarding the true nature of the beast; that psychopathic international elite, especially led by the criminal USA and criminal Israel and their cohorts in crime, including Canada, Honduras and most of Central America, Peru, Britain, France and so on.

    There are only four people (in Canada, where I was born) who do not believe I am a conspiracy theorist: a friend of mine, my wife, one of my brothers and another friend, who is very low profile because he is always being accused of being a conspiracy theorist and is scared of being assassinated or jailed by the Canadian government.

    Even my closest friends and the balance of my family members think I have gone over the edge (long ago). They cannot fathom the true and very real ruthlessness, psychopathy and criminality of those people who are trying to control the world’s natural resources, including the minds and talents and bodies of the weakest, at whatever expense. It isn’t difficult for me fathom because I lived the Gulf War in 1991 (and much more) … and I was directly involved for a period of 6 years in the air transport of Mossad, western mercenaries, US military, CIA, and lots more.

    He then relates some of the true facts about life in the real world.

  8. Tom Carter |

    This guy needs serious help. Sometimes I wonder if these people existed before the internet, boring their relatives and their one or two friends with their madness or whether the internet created them.

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