Kim Rattles North Korea’s Only Saber

It is really difficult to keep the war racket going when there are no worthy enemies in sight anywhere. Bin Laden is out of the picture and various branches of his organization are proving completely inept – except perhaps in Afghanistan, but there’s only rubble and opium there and the opium ban of the Taliban has been successfully rescinded by the Western invasion, so things seem to be well in hand. So how can one keep justifying spending hundreds of billions every year on the military?

Some are trying to build up China as a potential enemy, but China’s rulers seem more interested in trade than war. Russia’s political elite cares only about what is known as the ‘near abroad’, i.e., mainly the former Soviet Republics. Its support for various ‘axis of evil’ remnants seems decidedly halfhearted these days.

 

Spectators were surprised to see what appeared to be the North Korean leader Kim Jong-un flashing his middle finger at the cameras

Photo credit: AFP / Getty Images

 

Northern Africa has been thoroughly destabilized following the ‘Arab Spring’ (now turned winter), as presumably the expense of ‘Africom‘ has to be justified somehow (even though its headquarters are incongruously in Stuttgart. If there is a choice between, say, Lagos and Stuttgart, we can see the attraction of being based in the latter though).

However, luckily there is the new nutcase ruling impoverished North Korea to keep us on our toes. On the surface he seems even crazier than his immediate forebear was. We’re not quite sure why he has decided to rattle his slightly rusty saber, but he just did. As you will see further below, he’s actually not a particularly good enemy either. It seems the whole thing is for show, probably an attempt to get economic concessions out of South Korea.

Bloomberg reports:

 

“Kim Jong Un called nuclear weapons development one of North Korea’s top priorities as his country ratcheted up tensions by declaring a state of war with South Korea and reiterating threats to attack the U.S.

Nuclear arms can “never be abandoned” nor “traded with billions of dollars,” Kim said yesterday at meeting of the ruling Workers’ Party Central Committee, the state-run Korean Central News Agency reported. North Korea’s rubber stamp parliament meets today to ratify his remarks.

Tensions have escalated since North Korea detonated a nuclear device in February, denounced tightened United Nations sanctions and threatened pre-emptive nuclear strikes in response to U.S. – South Korea military drills. The U.S. yesterday said it takes North Korean threats seriously while denouncing the “long-history of bellicose rhetoric.”

The Obama administration yesterday sent F-22 Raptor fighter jets to South Korea to reinforce its commitment to defending its ally. While North Korea said March 30 it may shut the jointly run Gaeseong industrial zone in response to recent flights over the Korean peninsula by U.S. stealth bombers, South Korean workers crossed the border into the area today.

About 200,000 North Koreans, including workers and their families, depend on the Gaeseong industrial zone for income, according to Yang Moo Jin, a professor at the University of North Korean Studies in Seoul. The North generates about $100 million profit annually from the joint project and the South makes quadruple that amount, he said.

“It seems there are no more cards left for North to pressure South now, and Gaeseong seems to be the last resort,” Yang said. More than 350 South Koreans crossed the border today at 8:30 a.m. for work in Gaeseong, the Unification Ministry said in a text message.

The political bureau of North Korea’s sole political party yesterday unanimously endorsed building a light water reactor to help ease electricity shortages, and called for promoting international investment and foreign trade, KCNA said.

North Korea’s economy is about one-fortieth the size of South Korea’s and the country relies on China for diplomatic and economic support. Chronic food insecurity and malnutrition affect about two-thirds of the country’s 24 million people, according to a UN assessment last June”

(emphasis added)

 

If they want to promote ‘international investment and foreign trade’ then there is probably no reason to take the ‘bellicose rhetoric’ seriously. In fact, recently released pictures by the North Korean press agency suggest that even though Kim commands a rickety nuke or two, the country that can not even feed its own people is probably not exactly what one would call a major military threat. See for yourself:

 

kim-2Kim Jong-Un visits North Korea’s version of NORAD. The cable drum (made in China) is a nice touch.

 

kim-8Kim on one of North Korea’s dangerous row boat destroyers

 

kim-13The formidable North Korean navy in its full splendor

 

kim-17Kim bestows the gilded binoculars on one of the military’s worthies

 

kim-12Kim is these days personally on the look-out for the enemy. Personnel shortages?

 

kim-7Just to be safe, let’s all point in the direction the dear leader is pointing.

 

kim-31Riding out on one of North Korea’s 1 HP cars (concurrently these cars are raw material for hamburgers).

 

kim-11Kim in the Führerbunker. A tenner says that telephone isn’t connected.

 

kim-20North Korea’s automated stretcher. Although the guy to the left looks a bit like a cook, so maybe it’s a mysterious kitchen implement?

 

kim-24Kim and his admirals share a Dr. Evil laugh (‘they’re going to give us one million dollars!‘)

 

kim-16Kim and North Korean elite troops taking cover in a haystack atop a famous North Korean wantitump, awaiting enemy approach.

 

kim-1Kim and his military chiefs cooking up evil plans in their headquarters. The writing on the map on the wall says: ”Strategic force’s plan to hit the mainland of the U.S.” John Cleese may have put it there while they weren’t looking.

 

We’re wondering what the North Korean press agency people were thinking when they released these pictures. They look almost like outtakes from a Monty Python movie about North Korea’s army. It is actually hard to believe that these guys were able to build a nuke, even though it is by now almost 70 year old technology. We can only repeat, there are simply no good enemies around anymore.

 

All photos via KCNA / Reuters

 

 
 

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