Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Playing Chicken

I just had a conversation with my Chicken Mania pal Pak Jung-mun about the global security and economic situation vis-a-vis Monday's announcement by the Korean government placing the blame in no uncertain terms on North Korea for the sinking of the ROKS Cheonan back in March.

He asked if I was worried. Since I am his senior, he couldn't ask if I was scared, or if I was planning to run home, but I assured him that I was concerned, but not overly concerned, about the situation.

He, likewise, was not afraid, but alas was not hopeful that the situation between the two ctates would change for the better anytime soon. I asked him if he knew the expression, "The straw that broke the camel's back." He did, but felt that this was not it.

Jong-il, in Pak's estimation, is not rational, and while he won't live much longer, he feels Jong-un won't be an improvement. If, indeed, the Chinese (and the DPRK generals) allow him to take control. My friend Hwang made much the same point earlier in the week.

So, are Koreans worried about all-out war? It seems not. While the DPRK has numerical superiority, Pak (and most people) thinks the US would swoop in with crushing airpower from Osan and beyond. He also showed me today's Chosun Ilbo front page, which has a surveillance photo of the north side of the MDL (military demarkation line). In it, two gun-holes that are usually described as "closed" are now "open". Personally, I imagine they're there to try to hit the giant propaganda loudspeakers the south is putting up along the DMZ.

Besides, it's not really the North Korea style to stand up and fight out in the open. No, they generally do something underhanded and sneaky, like the Cheonan attack, then lie about it. One of these days, though, they're going to go too far, pick a bad day or something, and it will be the straw that breaks the camel's back.


SuperDrew said...

Tuttle, this post is way too restrained and reasonable for the blogosphere. I demand you delete it at once and put up something suitably alarmist.

Tuttle said...

You're so right, SD. I guess I am no longer the vitriolic, old curmudgeon of a blogger I was in my youth. Hopefully, this is not a permanent condition. But I do have two possible excuses:
1) I mostly wrote this post in the morning, and of course, Korea is the Land of the Morning Calm. Perhaps I let that get to me.
2) You may recall that over gopchang the other night, I confessed I was coming down with *another* cold. Well, it's in full flow now--every cough like retching up coarse-grit sandpaper, every swallow exquisite agony. I just didn't have the strength to exhibit the proper TEOTWAWKI lunacy.
On the positive side, I'm sure I'll have plenty of opportunities to revisit the topic, hopefully with a rekindled fire in my eye.