Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Hey North Korea! Chill Out Bro.

If the world community were a high school, North Korea would be the weird kid that wears black all the time, disrupts class in bizarre and humorless ways, and will one day bring a Tek-9 to school and take out as many of his classmates as possible before he goes down in a hail of gunfire. In its latest act of rebellion and gamesmanship, North Korea sent out a ship called the Kang Nam 1 that is allegedly taking missile components to the country of Myanmar. Word around the halls of World High School is that North Korea is being "totally uncool." In response to this suspicious activity the U.S. sent a destroyer to shadow the Kang Nam and possibly stop it from delivering its cargo. The North has vowed that any interception of the Kang Nam will be seen as an act of war.

North Korea literally couldn't be more annoying if it tried. I would wager that there is a higher than 90% chance that the Kang Nam has nothing illegal on it. The New York Times has an article today that says that the ship is moving incredibly slow and speculates that maybe it is trying to goad the U.S. or another country into boarding it and sparking an international incident. The article poses the question "Are the North Koreans really that wily?" Of course they are. Actually, I don't think it is really that wily of a move in the first place. North Korea knows that the global community is hypersensitive towards it right now, and I think that it is simply looking to tick someone off enough so that they overreact and make this whole thing a much bigger problem.

At the risk of oversimplifying this issue I would say that the U.S. and other countries need to deal with North Korea the way that our mothers taught us to deal with that annoying kid at school. You can't let his ridiculous antics get under your skin. You can't do it because the actions are meant to be provacative, and reacting to them is exactly what he wants you to do. That being said, we can't simply ignore North Korea. We have to keep an eye on it and engage it in order to deescalate the tensions built up in that region, but we can't let them goad us into a needless fight.

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